As ratings and rankings influence more and more of consumers’ purchasing decisions, the retail landscape is changing. Suddenly small emerging brands can hold the same cachet in shoppers’ minds as large, established players. This new dynamic is putting pressure on apparel companies both big and small to deliver on a host of product characteristics. The question is what do consumers really value and how can brands retool their supply chains to deliver on these expectations?
Small, emerging brands often have an edge when it comes to things like premium quality, innovation, and excellent customer service, all of which translates to cool cred that allows them to demand a higher price point. Ultimately though, these exclusive labels frequently speak to a niche market and these companies can find it hard to scale.
On the other hand, larger, mainstream brands cater to a broader customer base, and as a result, they can produce in a volume to keep prices down. But appealing to a wider range of shoppers means they can lag in innovation or design.
But these days, the lines are blurring between the two categories. The new breed of shopper wants everything—style, value, sustainability, innovation and speed—at once. These so-called Next Gen shoppers reward brands that can deliver all of the hallmarks of both exclusive and mainstream retailers—and thanks to Amazon Prime, they also want it fast. Further, signs show that this new consumer is not a passing fad, but is in fact the new normal.
In response, apparel companies are racing to overhaul their supply chains in an effort to bring down prices and cut days out of calendars. However, they can’t do it alone. Bringing forth change on the scale the industry needs requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, with greater communication and collaboration among everyone along the supply chain.
Only by working together can the industry come up with solutions that protect margins and deliver on customer demands.
In response to this need, Nilit® is leading by example. With Sensil®, the world’s largest supplier of premium Nylon 6.6 is showing what’s possible when yarn producers, mills and brands work together.
Sensil is Nylon at its best. It’s softer, stronger and more durable plus it provides odor, temperature and moisture management. In short, it’s designed for maximum comfort.
What truly makes Sensil® different though is the degree to which Nilit® is working with brands to help them find the factories and mills that can make their product using Nilit® yarns. The company had never worked directly with brands before but it saw the need for greater transparency and trust.
“Nilit® is well-positioned in the market globally to make a substantial impact on the way supply chains work in partnership to meet the demands in today’s marketplace. Nilit® is actively putting innovation, technology and marketing into developing key strategic partnerships with the entire supply chain to ensure that premium brands are getting exactly what the end consumer demands,” said Kirsten K. Harris, a former Amazon and Nike active apparel executive who Nilit® tapped to lead the Sensil® initiative as director marketing for North America.
Nilit® is already in the market helping brands overcome supply chain challenges. “An example of this is our Sensil® collaboration with the amazing yoga brand, Avocado. By combining Avocado’s unique designs and Sensil®’s innovative yarns and fabrics, we are strategically partnering together to elevate both brands and to present an exciting product for the end customer,” she said.
By matchmaking in this way, Nilit® helps brands that may have been priced out of premium fibers in the past find partners that are willing to help them find cost-effective means for bringing their collections to life. “With a Sensil® collaboration, it isn’t a sales pitch, it is a partnership. We work closely with brands to ensure they have the right partners across the supply chain, from the garment suppliers to the mills and beyond. We are looking at our collaborations as long-term partnerships and are building on them as such,” Harris said.
Further, the company has created a robust marketing program that allows brands to connect to the customer through educational, marketing, and event experiences. Sensil®’s goal is to create a relationship between all supply chain participants and a feedback pipeline from the retailer and consumer upstream. “We are connecting not only with brands and buyers but also end consumers, so they understand what their purchase options are and why they matter,” Harris said. “We are able to do this through Sensil sponsored events, webinars and insights from social media influencers.”
The result is premium products that check all of the boxes for end consumers while helping retailers drive sales and margins. For more information on Sensil®, visit Sensil.com.