When Wear Eponymous launched in February 2014 we were aware of various independent brands in our local area who were already out there, doing it and creating waves in the design community. Chouchou was one of those brands. We’ve enjoyed a fruitful and insightful 9 months working with brand creator Silvia, as we tackled the challenge of launching the brand on the Style Mile while Silva was running her Barcelona studio and focusing on worldwide sales rather than high street outlets. We were ideally positioned to work with Chouchou to bring the latest collection to our growing customer base via our popup store in the luxury shopping destination that is Princes Square; a first for this innovative hood brand.
We love working with people of all business backgrounds and Silvia certainly knew her stuff. Rather than us assisting her with branding and introducing her to the relevant industry experts who could help her evolve, Silvia introduced us to some key associates of hers who would compliment our store with their knowledge and expertise, predominately her visual merchandiser, James Rennie, who is nothing short of fantastic. We had various connections in common and were able to cross pollinate to achieve a mutually beneficial feature for Chouchou both in store and online and this is where the power of Wear Eponymous really came to the forefront.
From 2010 until a few years ago, Chouchou had been fully based in Glasgow and was a regular feature in independent fashion shows, events and local creative shoots. When Silvia expanded the business to include a Barcelona studio too, the fashion landscape in Glasgow very quickly changed without her constant presence (she had been a pivotal influence on the fashion scene with her various fashion community events). Over the subsequent two years, a number of the small brands who were developing in tandem with Chouchou closed or downscaled and many of the regular events that took place to promote these small businesses ceased to exit while Chouchou grew. When we first made contact, primarily to stock in our Princes Square popup, it was surprising to Silvia to discover some of the fellow brands she'd worked with who hadn't continued to produce, and it made for a very honest starting point. We all knew how fickle the fashion landscape was and that a collaborative agreement had to be based on what could be achieved with realistic expectations.
To create the maximum impact and attract customers from the get-go, Silvia knew that the hoods had to be displayed on a mannequin and not a hanger, otherwise the full effect of the design would be lost. We respected this and understood that it would serve neither party to lay the hoods flat and essentially lose their USP - they can be worn in so many adaptations that it simply wouldn’t do to have it any other way. This included displays such as these (with each generating interest from potential customers and, very interesting, often out-with the younger demographic that the brand was initially aimed at):
Chouchou has always been a popular brand with the blogging community and what we were able to do while Silvia was working away in her European base was to facilitate introductions between Silvia and newer bloggers that had developed their audience in our own social media circles. This included allowing photoshoot time in the store, agreeing to bloggers borrowing product for brand write-ups and curating sales while developing brand trust with interested customers who liked the look of the product yet needed to be enlightened in the multiple uses (it’s not just a hood!).
Here are some examples of blogger and customer interaction we facilitated for the brand including creating those introductions, sharing key posts and alerting those who were already aware of the brand that they were now on the high street in Glasgow and not exclusively online.
The most interesting part of our collaboration was creating enough of an interest in Chouchou hoods for new customers, to allow Silvia to pencil in meet and greets with her new fans and travel here multiple times during our popup from her European studio, in order to see first hand how it was working and personally reacquaint with old fans while introducing her products to new customers in her target audience. This included a collaboration with notable local blogger Miss West End Girl and a hood event in store to meet these customers and enjoy the fun side of the brand. Again, we were able to facilitate by launching the hood in store during her event and promoting it to potential customers of the brand during their store visits. This, coupled with Silvia’s own planning of the event, made for a great turn out and lots of social media interaction.
Our time working with Chouchou to introduce this multi-locational brand to a growing audience and promote that they were once again stocked in Glasgow on the high street (and not exclusively online) has been fantastic fun. We’ve also been able to wax lyrical to international shoppers about the adaptable qualities of the hood and it’s ability to finish any look. As a result, customers from within the UK, Ireland and Europe have purchased their Chouchou hoods from us and we’ve loved working with Silvia to boost the profile of her fabulous product via the W.E. community. Long may it continue!