We hope you'll take some time out to read the Financial Times interview with GOODS founder Kasper Hostrup below.
When did you decide to create the in-house line, and why? What were the main reasons for its launch?
I’ve been in the fashion business for 20 years so I've learned a thing or two about not only successfully run retail and online businesses, but also how product is managed. Product is the main focus at GOODS and I wanted to put those 20 years of experience in the industry to the test. I wanted to see if we could make our own garments which could naturally blend in with the selection of amazing products and brands that we have GOODS.
When purchasing and selecting products and garments for the store, I take an individual look at each item to see if it fits the selection that we have at GOODS. My thinking is that making your own product gives you more control of what you put into that selection. If I feel we’re missing a specific product, colour, style etc. in the collections of the brands we work with, we then have the freedom to make it ourselves through our own brand.
What sort of products did you launch with?
In 2014 we did some exclusive co-branded shoes with premium english shoemaker Sanders. This was a great success and a lot of fun and that gave us the impetus to venture into more categories. We started out with shirts and jerseys, then moved on to knitwear, pants, accessories etc. All of these items were made under the umbrella of our own GOODS brand.
How has the brand changed since? Both in terms of product offering, production volume, etc?
We're improving. By that I mean that we constantly try to tweak the products for the better; better fabrics, better produceres - all over the board - we look to refine what we are doing. I feel that we’re at a very good place now, but there is always room for improvement and GOODS is a work in progress in everything we do - both with our own brand and with the store. In terms of volume, our own brand is now at 20% of the total store offering, which seems to be a good level. We do not want to become a mono brand store, so I think we’ll keep our own brand at the 20% mark. Enough to have a presence, but not so much so that it seems overpowering.
Do you offer something different to what the brands sell in-store, or is it that GOODS offers a cheaper version?
We’re offer something different, a different fit, fabric, weight, colour. All these things whilst staying true to the ethos of the store; meaning that we produce garments that blend in with the other garments and products on offer...
With our own brand the selling point is value for money - as we’re producing directly with factories, we have removed the middle man and instead of doubling our margins, we have put some of that extra margin into buying the best fabrics and yarns and some of it into producing everything in Italy - everything but our shirts - which is very good but costly. We still have better margins than with the other brands we sell, and at the same time we create loyalty to our own brand by giving our clientele value for money.
Do the brands ever get worried when a store launches their own in-house line, do you think? If not, why?
None of the brands we work with have ever expressed any concern regarding our in-house label. I think the brands that we work with are so strong at what they do that are not (rightfully) concerned about what we are doing with our own brand. I think everyone should be concerned and obsessed with what they are good at, and improve in those areas that (always) can be improved instead of worrying about what everyone else is doing.
What are the benefits for you as a retailer in having your own line? Financially? And on a knowledge level?
Mostly margins, control and brand awareness. Better margins without compromising the product. We make products where most them do not have a season and definitely aren't trend driven. This means that we can invest in stock that lasts for more than one season and “never” run of the products that we know will sell. Most brands can only have so much stock until they move on to a new season. The more product we sell with the GOODS name the bigger the awareness of GOODS as a brand and a store.
How has owning a multi-brand shop shaped what products Goods makes? What sort of learnings shaped the brand?
Owning or buying (which I did before GOODS) for a multi-brand store gives you the opportunity to see more collections than everyone else. Thus being updated on what's available and many years of experience is key to knowing what is good and has longevity and what will be a seasonable fad.
Do you launch Goods own-line product during quieter times for brands, for example? How do you control the distribution?
Our finest task if to present the product when it is needed. What that means in practice is that we launch our fall products when the fall weather arrives and not when the fashion calendar dictates that the fall season starts.