Masato London had been on our radar for the past few years and we were thrilled when we finally got to meet the team and begin working with them, primarily for our Princes Square popup concept boutique. We’re a hardworking, driven team here at Wear Eponymous and we’ve definitely met our match in Masato London!
Our collaborative journey in this particular case study has been a real growth of discovery in finding your local high street customer and joining together for the hard graft of promotion, something which we both understand has to be repeated constantly and not just on an ad hoc basis.
In all industries there are small brands who feel the need to create an alternative reality of being a big brand, brands who set out to create a tribe and sell to a niche market and those who are selective of what they want the customer to know. That’s their individual business choice to make and what we discovered about Masato is they don’t go in for that. Not at all. They are transparent, often searingly honest about the business they’re in and, as a result, they have a staggering fan base of over 160,000 social media followers who love that very approach.
Another very impressive discovery when working with the Masato team is that they are constantly promoting on social media, talking with customers and happy to answer direct messages and emails all day, every day, seven days a week. They don’t post occasionally or leave their feeds to tick for a few days (or even a few hours) and part of this is because they understand how important it is for their brand to be present. When we opened our Princes Square popup there was one brand who was guaranteed to post every single day about their presence on the high street in Glasgow and guess who it was? They left nothing to chance, didn’t presume their followers or potential new customers would figure it out themselves and used carefully chosen hashtags to maximise the chances of appearing on the radar of those who may be interested in what they do (such as #Glasgow for where our shop was located).
The payoff from this was that we were able to provide the first ever Scottish location for Masato fans to try on products before they purchased rather than order online and wait for a delivery, plus there were friends of the brand who were able to drop in and share their support on social media for both businesses through spreading the word between their own followers. A brand passionate for supporting charities close to their heart, we were able to support the Masato Homeless Beanie Campaign during the winter months and sell their beanie collection commission free in store, with each beanie sold being matched by the company with a free one for the Glasgow City Mission. This was a successful collaboration which generated a great deal of publicity for such a vital cause and allowed us to connect with a charity we could help on both practical and publicity levels in order to benefit those who needed it most.
From a small business viewpoint, this was also a great way for customers to connect with the brand directly after visiting us in store, to discuss bespoke items which we carried a small selection of for sizing and brand awareness purposes. Various customers were able to view and/or try high end designs in store and, if they weren’t able to buy off the peg, could either place an order via us for a special commission or go directly to the brand and modify a design to their liking in accordance with the Masato London guidelines.
We were happy to provide a vital link which was not priorly in existence in Scotland and the results were mutually strong. We sold limited edition designer items in store, straight off the peg, on multiple occasions and various customers visited us, got in touch with the brand directly and arranged for their own sizes to be made for direct dispatch. Not all brands share when this has occurred, so another reason we love working with Masato is that they tell us when they’ve made sales through being featured with us and appreciate that the community has wider reaching effects than simply one shop location. It’s integral to the success of any collaboration that both parties have a clear understanding of the work involved in making a success of an opportunity and Masato are great at telling it like it is when a smaller brand asks what their secret is to selling so well; they work bloody hard at it and don’t pass the buck!
As with any popup shop, with any beginning there must be an end, and after 9 months the time was right to move back online until the next project launch. Another bonus to working with Masato was being able to introduce them to our friends and colleagues at Limitless Scotland, a store in Edinburgh run in a similar fashion to W.E. popups. This meant that the Masato brand could continue in Scotland on the high street, albeit it in a different region, while still growing their Scottish profile and allowing fans and new followers of the brand to purchase a piece in the same vein.
Closing the doors of our longest event yet had the unexpected outcome of several new friendships in the creative field across the platform and messages of appreciation from customers who were sad to see it go. We were touched to hear from so many people who had enjoyed the uniqueness of what we did and the friendliness of the staff (without any pressure selling!) and Masato were there from day one through to the end.
All in all, Masato should be seen as an independent to admire, watch and learn from as they are steadily growing in an industry that’s cut-throat and often brutal in it’s lack of support for new creative brands. Many jump to conclusions that it must be easy for a company of their age but you don’t get to that calibre without understanding your brand, your customer and your competitors. Masato’s community blends beautifully with ours and the synergy of success has worked because we are both fundamentally honest, open and working hard to maintain ethics in the fashion world.