• VINSIGHTS

    2018 – The fashion industry at a glance…

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    December 2018

    While there have been concerning times for fashion throughout the year, the outlook on the coming year is somewhat much more positive, with businesses set to embrace the changes and see them as new opportunities, challenges and developments rather than threats.

    The year has seen changes that are re-shaping the industry – such as increases in apparel/footwear sales in emerging markets, the shift from traditional ‘bricks & mortar’ retailers to online/ecommerce channels, coping mechanisms retailers and brands have had to adopt to survive in an increasingly competitive market and a greater awareness and push on the importance of becoming more sustainable.

    Not only have we seen an increase in store closures, but we have also seen a decrease in new store openings – leading to interest in how consumer behaviours are evolving over time. With declining numbers of stores on the high street, figures have soared for sales through ecommerce channels, with some retailers even opting to transition their business to being 100% online. In 2017, online-only sales increased by 15.9% - something that is set to rise in the coming years.

    We are looking forward to holding our next event in the new year with Google, focusing on how retailers/brands can increase awareness of their brand through utilising the digital marketing space.

    The news has been littered with recent stories of how big name retailers are struggling to cope with an ever increasing competitive market… with some not surviving. We are often seeing brands that have dominated the high street for many years being beaten by the newer, emerging fast fashion brands who seem to attract more customers than ever before. Retailers are having to change their approach and find new ways of sustaining customer loyalty in a market where consumers have so many choices – often at a lower price point and more convenience.

    In September, Vohs&Co held a table at a breakfast event with Archie Norman, Chairman at Marks and Spencer, which shed a more positive light over the industry, giving an insight into how he is strategically turning around the fortunes of M&S in a 3-5 year plan.

    With the concerns over sustainability and the future of the planet an ever growing topic of discussion - not only within the fashion industry, but across the board - we have seen an increase in the demand from retailers wanting to elect fashion professionals into positions fully focused on sustainability, ethical compliance and corporate responsibility – proof that retailers are addressing and acting upon the concerns many have about the environmental impact the apparel industry is having on the planet. During our most recent event, where many retailers/brands joined us in discussing new developments to technology which provide a much more sustainable textile manufacturing process, we highlighted just why it is so important to change the way we take garments from the initial design to the shop floor. The article on our Textile Sustainability Event can read in full here 

     

    All be it a challenging year, we do feel that the industry is evolving in a positive way, with retailers being urged to ‘think digital-first’, ‘satisfy consumer demands for radical transparency and sustainability’ and ‘achieve ever-faster speed to market’ – as explained in the McKinsey report ‘The State of Fashion 2019: A year if awakening’ https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/the-state-of-fashion-2019-a-year-of-awakening

    The team at Vohs&Co are continually developing, learning and working effectively with the changing market place – be it in form of Consultancy, Executive Search or Global Talent Resourcing across our key areas,including Design, Production and Technical, Wholesale, International and Executive, Buying, Merchandising and Sales and Retail Operations and VM.

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    V&C Drapers Interview on FLEXING and the importance of Consulting in our industry.

    Following the coronavirus pandemic, the fashion retail industry will likely turn to temporary employees more than ever, says Matthew Vohs, chief executive of fashion retail recruitment agency V&C. Covid-19 has seen many retailers and brands either closing stores or arranging pre-pack administrations. The by-product of businesses evaluating their store portfolios is an impact on headcount, as executives question whether the organisation requires all its current staff. The furlough route may however have had a detrimental effect on the industry in forcing businesses to streamline and subsequently realise that they can accommodate their workload without the furloughed staff. This could leave many experienced employees a victim of redundancy.  Many retailers have already announced job cuts. British luxury brand Mulberry is to axe up to a quarter of its global workforce as a result of coronavirus, White Stuff has entered redundancy consultations within its head office and UK retail teams. Debenhams has cut hundreds of head office roles after placing them on to the furlough scheme during the crisis. Staff culling like this will, of course, reduce a business’s overheads, but also leaves an abundance of redundant skilled workforce across the sector in buying and merchandising, retail operations, design and technical roles. These candidates will now need to adapt to their situation by being more dynamic and entrepreneurial in their job search, as new, developing and emerging companies look to tap into their expertise via a freelancing route. Going forward, contracting across multiple organisations could very well be the norm for fixed or short term positions. It will allow variety of work for employees but also allow businesses to access skilled workers without the need for long-term investment.  Businesses will also need to change their mind-set. They will need set clear objectives for contracted or freelance staff and establishing tangible KPI’s that measure their output. However, they also run the risk that the employee may find full-term work or a more lucrative contract. The world is changing and retail is among the sectors that are changing the most, with more and more of us needing a flexible work solution.  Freelancing and contracting means a retailer could employ a team of buyers for one season, a merchandise director on a three day week, perhaps a designer for one collection or an ecommerce social media expert for a fixed 12 months. These roles are not traditionally temporary, however, with this new approach, retailers get fresh concepts and diversity without the burden of long-term employment issues. Retailers can also change their teams with regularity, introducing new ideas and responding with incredible speed to what the consumer wants. Post coronavirus, there are going to be lots of highly in demand skills and great talent available but those people will also be considering how they want to work, wanting flexibility. If companies don’t take note, they will miss out on the best staff and lose out to competitors.   

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    Flexing made easy!

    We’re Thinking Differently – Are You? We have been thinking about new ways of working and have something new to tell you about.  Something that we think is going to change the way you work, offering you exciting career opportunities or improved work/life balance – or both! It’s Called Flexing. The world is changing and retail is one of the sectors that is probably changing the most.  The past few months has seen most people review how they work more flexibly. It is just the start, going forward, this flexibility will be paramount for employees as well as employers. Why not consider your Flexing model? We still want to offer you new roles but in a different way.  Instead of being employed by one retail or supply business on a full-time basis, we can also offer you fixed term contracts or fixed term part-time contracts.  We can even offer you Flex to Perm and V&C Associates will effectively be your employer. We will guide you through the process on setting up an umbrella company or helping you register your company It might not sound different yet but read on – it is different.  It’s exciting, it’s new and importantly, it’s flexible. Flexing allows you to work for more than one retailer or supplier for as long as you want, for as many days a week as you want giving that flexible work /life balance if that what you are looking for. As an example; You might Be a buyer but only want to work twice a week without long-term ties? Think about working as a merchandiser but for a short term contract ? Want to do a special, one-off design job? Work as a Merchandise Manager, but part-time? Want to have the opportunity of working on a multiple assignments with a different retailer or brand? Flexing Makes it Possible We will find you the role you want on a short, medium or long-term fixed contract basis (minimum 6 months).  It gives you tremendous flexibility.  Imagine – you could work somewhere as a product developer for two days a week and for the other three days, work as a selector for a different business. You might want to work two days as an Account Manager, have a day off in the middle of the week and work the rest of the week for another retailer, in the same or similar role. There are retailers and suppliers looking for this type of arrangement. It suits both of your needs.   Huge Benefits for Candidates There’s a reason it’s called Flexing. It’s more than temporary roles or part-time contracts.  It’s more than fixed long-term contracts.  It allows you to work for two different organisations at once.  You get the benefits of two different companies, get to grips with different cultures, gain more experience and use your own experience to add a new dimension to another retailer or supplier.  It makes work life more interesting, variable and exciting – there’s no room for boredom!  Alternatively, use Flexing to create better work/life balance and work when you want to. Effectively, V&C Associates (with our FCSA affiliated Umbrella partners)  would employ you and take care of NICS, PAYE and holidays. We believe this is a new beginning, a new way of working for everyone.   We cover: Digital Design & Technical Buying & Merchandising Sustainability Sourcing Human Resources Sales/Account Managers Retail Operations Flex with us - let V&C Associates get it absolutely right for you. Click here to discuss your Flexing employment solution.

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    Your Flexible workforce!

    We’re Thinking Differently – Are You? We have been thinking about new ways of working and have something new to tell you about.  Something that we think is going to change the way you recruit, offering you an exciting opportunity that will save you time, money and give you fresh expertise. It’s Called Flexing. The world is changing and retail is one of the sectors that is probably changing the most.  The past few months has seen most people review how they work more flexibly. It is just the start, going forward, this flexibility will be paramount for employers as well as employees. Why not consider our Flexing model? We want to offer you a variety of roles at all levels but in a different way.  Instead of employing a candidate on a full-time basis, we can offer you fixed term contracts or as a fixed term part time contracts.  We can even offer you Flex to Perm and V&C Associates will effectively employ your Flex contractor. It might not sound different yet but read on – it is different.  It’s exciting, it’s new and importantly, it’s flexible. Flexing allows you to employ a candidate for as long as you want for as many days a week as you want.  As an example; You might Want a buyer twice a week  Need a fixed short term merchandising team Want a designer for one season only Be considering a Merchandise Manager but not on a full-time salary Flexing Makes it Possible We will find you the role or the resource you need on a short, medium or long-term fixed contract basis (minimum 6 months).  It gives you and your candidate flexibility.  You might employ a product developer for two days a week and for the other three days they work somewhere else.  You may want an operations manager for a fixed term three days a week and they want to secure another position somewhere else for the other two days a week.  It suits both of your needs.   Huge Benefits for Retailers and Suppliers.  We have thought of everything. We will invoice you direct, taking the onus away by organising the payment structure, taking care of NICS and PAYE and even holidays.   For you that means there is no long-term commitment, no need to pay bonuses, pension schemes or even supply staff benefits. There’s more too. You save on salaries (PAYE, NI, Holidays, Pension)  but still have the expertise You get knowledge and experience from someone working for a similar organisation Your new Flex employee brings a fresh dimension to your business You don’t need to do anything – we do it all for you acting as your Flexing partner Our pricing model is flexible too.  We know you need your business costs kept at an affordable level, so every project is carefully costed out individually.  This is a new beginning, a new way of working for everyone.   We cover: Digital Design & Technical Buying & Merchandising Sustainability Sourcing Human Resources Sales/Account Managers Retail Operations Flex with us - let V&C Associates get it absolutely right for you. Click here to discuss your Flexing recruitment solution.

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