We’ve had one of our most interesting collaborative journeys with Mark Bradley, creator of G69 Menswear, predominantly because Mark shares our entrepreneurial spirit for taking a calculated risk and there has been a mutual trust from the get-go to cross promote and leap on an opportunity when it arises. When we reflect back on our business journey together so far, it demonstrates how effectively an opportunity can pay off in more than one way, simply by hard graft and refusing to sit back and wait for success to knock on your door (newsflash - it doesn’t happen!).
When Mark first made contact with us we were still in our first year of trading and had just confirmed our Glasgow Fort/British Land shopper project, due for launch in November 2014. G69 was establishing nicely and had also been approached for a major popup store in a large Edinburgh shopping centre, so when we invited his brand to take part and he agreed, we had to establish a realistic starting point as we were very much the self-funded little man when compared to the bigger, much more publicised event coming from an organisation with backing from various creative initiatives. We agreed there was no need to compare both outlets as they were coming from markedly different angles and brand awareness was our key objective, with the obviously addition of capturing sales from the Christmas buying market. What neither of us expected was for G69 to be the top selling brand of the event, selling consistently throughout and significantly out-performing any other location it was stocked in throughout the five week run.
The brand regularly had to re-stock, place additional orders with their local manufacturer and arrange specific drop-offs for customers so eager to wear their G69 piece that night or have it wrapped and ready for Christmas that they’d come back to the shop before midnight during the extended festive shopping hours. It was a top result for two new names of the market who had sparked an interest in shoppers looking for something new and gained their trust through strong branding and a safe sales chain.
These snapshots of STV Glasgow and The Sun articles from our time at Glasgow Fort give a clue to how well received the first popup was from young independent designers such as Mark:
During our Wear Eponymous Presents: The Wardrobe run we also had some healthy competition from a creative-initiative supported shop doing something in a similar vein, this time in Glasgow city centre, which opened on exactly the same evening as we did for a year’s run. Unsurprisingly, this attracted many of the key names who would ordinarily have visited the opening of a new popup but we had a great mix of lovely bloggers, brands, friends, family and (most importantly!) customers. We even had a visit from the local councillor who thoroughly enjoyed meeting local design and blogging talent!
In early 2015 Mark was fully focused on his first studio shoot with a renowned industry face and we were able to utilise the professional skills and contacts that had brought Wear Eponymous to life from it’s original inception. Already firm friends with Scottish actor and model Craig McGinlay, G69 set up a campaign shoot with the man himself, shot by renowned Scottish photographer Peter Jaay and managed by the W.E. team. It was a breeze as everyone was confident in their roles, relaxed throughout the shoot and got the job done well within schedule, allowing Mark to sit back and enjoy the results of his hard work.
The G69 shoot was excellently received, gaining Mark much deserved publicity from such outlets as The Daily Record and The Evening Times. Now product photography was needed and again, the team worked with Mark to shoot this with a great Superior Model Management face.
By the time we’d reach summer 2015, it was clear that G69 had to be involved in our Princes Square #8daysofshopping event. We took a gamble on some new brands for this event due to the prime location and centralised shop space and although not every one of these connected as well with this higher end demographic, G69 was again well received with summer shoppers, holiday makers and the occasional local celebrity visitor.
This eight day tester showcase coincided with an unrelated invite from the centre’s agents to run a popup concept boutique over the winter season. This was a big leap for us but we knew it was a good fit for the brand and would allow us the opportunity to test out this location for as many suitable brands as possible while boosting sales and profile for the everyone involved, so long as they entered into it with the knowledge that they had to regularly promote their being featured and had to understand that sales are not a guarantee. Again, featuring G69 was high on our agenda and we were able to bring the brand in just in time for Christmas. Mark joined forces with Nuberu jewellery to put together a great shopping event which was shot by the excellent Zeno Watson, attended by a range of Superior models and even included a visit by Mr Craig McGinlay himself. A great night that no-one will forget in a hurry!
With a selection of excellent window displays courtesy of James Rennie, when G69 were present it was fascinating to see the effect on customers and window shoppers alike. From a sales point of view, the brand went down well with it’s targeted male audience (and many Christmas presents from the range went to their new owners!) but what was unexpected yet welcome analytics from passing trade was when the designs spoke to an audience outwith that targeted and even some high end shoppers from the older female demographic enquired to see if the coats and jackets could be bespoke made to suit females. This let Mark know that his design spoke to more than he may have initially known and could spark a wider range as the brand evolves and develops.
We think everyone should know that G69 is a brand run by a designer who is a true gentleman in an industry which can be, at times, incredibly duplicitous. This is a company with a solid ethos and clean track record and we look forward to watching it flourish.