Rhona from Isle of Rhona lingerie introduced herself to us early this year and we instantly connected. Coming from a design and retail background herself, Rhona was already selling online via key marketplaces and her own website and felt that our Princes Square popup concept boutique could be a great opportunity to test the market for her new designs and ideas for brand development. Here’s the story of what we’ve achieved working together to create brand awareness opportunities in 2016.
At Wear Eponymous we have a rule that we never break; treat everyone with respect. No matter where you are in your brand journey and how confident or nervous you are about promoting your brand, we will never disrespect anyone. We occasionally experience the odd bit of diva or divo behaviour (who doesn’t in this industry!) and while it’s swiftly dealt with, it’s unnecessary for all involved to have to deal with anything less than 100% professionalism. Rhona couldn’t be further removed from this and we appreciate that she told us any nerves she had about introducing herself to us to discuss showcasing products melted away within minutes of meeting as soon as we were soon laughing about something or another that had amused us that day. If customers and visitors feel relaxed in your company then honest conversations can take place without fear of being put on the spot. After all, we’re all skilled in what we do and if we don’t have a solid understanding of something we can ask to know more. It’s not a job interview!
We were able to work together very quickly to organise a display of the current lingerie range in store, just in time for our #WEare2 second birthday event. The in-store party itself was buzzing; packed with customers, friends and fans of the boutique and Rhona was able to meet customers, personalise their purchases and get to know the space on one of the most fun-filled days we’ve ever had. Gusto Glasgow provided Prosecco and canapés, Karen Bennie events oversaw the running and some of our favourite blogger friends, such as The Wee Blondie, were there to capture the highlights.
Isle of Rhona very quickly found it’s flow and many international customers visiting Princes Square were drawn to the Scottish element of the designs in addition to brides and bridal parties buying the brand's beautiful garters either as the finishing touches to their wedding look or as a surprise for a bride as her ‘something new’. It wasn’t unusual for people to visit us specifically requesting to see the range as they’d quickly heard through the grapevine that there was a local brand creating beautiful lingerie items on the style mile. That’s a rarity in a street filled with fast fashion outlets!
By Easter we’d secured one of the entrance walkway display windows and brands were offered the chance to showcase here due to the increased promotion and thousands of product views per week. Isle of Rhona were one of the brands who took up this offer and the added exposure did indeed work for the brand as customers would come in to the boutique directly from viewing the products downstairs to discover the full range.
Before the brand could launch online with us, Rhona knew that her product photography had to be re-shot to meet the criteria needed to be included in press activities and generally fit the high resolution, clean imagery needed to meet the expectations of online shoppers. This is an ever-evolving challenge for independent brands as you will always have the element of the costs involved in a photoshoot and hiring models, pro photographers, studios etc. can soon add up.
Most designers start using as many friends and family as they can get their hands on and begin to update and develop their photography as they go. This is completely understandable and we were able to guide Rhona through what had to be taken into consideration for her next shoot in order to maximise chances of sales and publicity. She understood that many brands fall short with photography that doesn’t meet industry standards and models that are beautiful but not necessarily right for that particular shoot.
Underwear is particularly tricky and Rhona worked with a local photographer, Antonio Tammaro, to shoot product in a cleaner way than previously and they also did a very fun outdoor shoot, working with Superior Model Management and cleverly making the underwear the star of the show without a cliche in sight. As a bonus from having a fresh campaign shoot, we were able to offer Rhona one of our monthly competition spaces and she received a full month of social media promotion across Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram which had an outreach to tens of thousands.
When the final month of the popup boutique approached, Rhona wanted to hold a final instore event to capture the wedding market and anyone who may be looking for garters or additional lingerie items for the coming summer nuptials season. We were thrilled when major publication Tie The Knot magazine was happy to get involved and provide the latest issue for customers attending and Isle of Rhona was also included in their ‘what’s on’ section which Rhona had said had been something on her company wish list - another buzz moment!
Now, as we approach the Autumn/Winter season, we are working with the brand to bring new designs to our soon to be announced Christmas popup event. Isle of Rhona has been working on new designs which beautifully compliment the current lingerie offerings and we look forward to showcasing these from November onwards. We’re excited to launch the brand online to tie-in with this and continue to enjoy our relaxed and fun working relationship with Rhona. There always continues to be lots of laughs when we chat, a healthy dose of cake chat (par for the course with us!) and we love watching this brand gain a presence in the lingerie field. Thanks also to Rhona for including us in her recent Evening Times article as a key highlight in her business journey. We’re all on the same path, all supporting each other and paying it forward.