S T R AT E G I C R AT I O N A L E SAK S F I F T H AV E N U E
C ON TE N T S
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 Executive Summary i. Saks Fith Avenue ii. Consumer iii. Ethos & Values
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 Emily Goodrick i. The Brand: Ethos & Values ii. Unique Selling Point
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 Research Methodologies
 Market Positioning
 Market Positioning: Emily Goodrick i. Consumer: Emily Goodrick ii. Branding
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 SWOT Analysis
 Evaluation i. Conclusion
Research is defined by a methodological gathering of answers to questions regarding a subject, without bias and relying solely on examination of the subject (Flynn & Foster, 2009). The aim is to remain objective and to take into consideration the data, whilst in turn identifying new or more in-depth information regarding the subject.
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1. Executive Summary With an ever-growing thirst for new and upcoming designers, the fashion industry constantly strives to find the latest talent and showcase it before the next best “thing” comes along. Saks Fifth Avenue is no exception, with a large focus on its concept footwear department that includes classic collections, but also fresh and innovative new designers. This strategic design rationale will critically evaluate the design process within the Saks Fifth Avenue footwear design brief, from the initial research into the brand to the target consumer and marketing. As a new designer, the high end luxury footwear brand Emily Goodrick will be explored and aligned with the ethos of Saks Fifth Avenue, and an in-depth formulation of inspiration from both primary and secondary research will be undertaken in order to create a successful product that will be accessible to the consumer for Spring 2014. The current target consumer of Saks Fifth Avenue is aimed at a highend clientele base, with a substantial amount of wealth and interest in luxury fashion and quality. This footwear collection will be designed with a younger consumer in mind than the preconceived Saks customer, now aimed at women aged between 18-35 with a strong sense of risk taking regarding their style. With an ever-growing thirst for new and upcoming designers, the fashion industry constantly strives to find the latest talent and showcase it before the next best “thing” comes along. Saks Fifth Avenue is no exception, with a large focus on its concept footwear department that includes classic collections, but also fresh and innovative new designers. This strategic design rationale will critically evaluate the design process within the Saks Fifth Avenue footwear design brief, from the initial research into the brand to the target consumer and marketing. As a new designer, the high end luxury footwear brand Emily Goodrick will be explored and aligned with the ethos of Saks Fifth Avenue, and an in-depth formulation of inspiration from both primary and secondary research will be undertaken in order to create a successful product that will be accessible to the consumer for Spring 2014.
The product area that will be researched into within this proposal is fashion footwear, a product genre that encompasses style, innovation, engineering and durability. In a world where fashion changes from season to season, with the “new” constantly being sought after, research is essential to keep the movement of ideas flowing, whilst also keeping up to date with consumer behaviour and ideals. This ideology of “fast fashion” also juxtaposes the fine balance between need and want, where the consumer looks for products which will withstand the test of time and wear, enduring the changing of fashions and still managing to fit in with current trends, whilst also being durable enough to endure physical wear. In order to fully comprehend the needs and desires of the consumer within the target market, an in depth formulation of primary and secondary research must be undertaken to create a successful product that will be accessible to the consumer. i. Saks Fifth Avenue Saks Fifth Avenue is an upscale department store chain owned by American multinational corporation Saks Incorporated, which operates the flagship store and corporate headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The department store was the brainchild of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, who operated independent retail stores on New York’s 34th Street at Herald Square in the early 1900s. Their dream was to construct a unique specialty store that would become synonymous with fashionable, gracious living. By offering the finest quality men’s and women’s fashions, as well as an extraordinary program of customer services, Saks Fifth Avenue has become the byword for taste and elegance.
ii. Consumer The current target consumer of Saks Fifth Avenue is aimed at a high-end clientele base, with a substantial amount of wealth and interest in luxury fashion and quality. This footwear collection will be designed with a younger consumer in mind than the preconceived Saks customer, now aimed at women aged between 18-35 with a strong sense of risk taking regarding their style.
i i i . E t h o s & Va l u e s Saks Incorporated website: OUR MISSION: At Saks Fifth Avenue, our mission is to inspire customer confidence and style with every Saks shopping experience. OUR VALUES: Our core values not only characterize what we look for in individual Associates, they also guide us as an organization in creating the business development processes, personal development programs and tools for all of our Associates. Our core values are as follows: We Strive for Excellence. We seek excellence in every aspect of the work we do and how we do it; we hold ourselves accountable and require the highest quality from all those who are a part of delivering the Saks experience. We are Passionate about our Customer. Our customers are at the center of everything we do. We listen to, understand, anticipate and act on our customer’s needs in order to better their experience each and every day. We are a Team. When we work together, we achieve more. We share our successes as well as our disappointments. We listen, we learn and the results are more powerful. Trusting and supporting each other is at the heart of our diverse culture and is what helps create the exceptional experiences that delight our customers. We are Creative. Creativity is the lifeblood of our business. When we have curiosity and the freedom to explore different ideas and approaches, we keep the brand evolving and improving. We Care. People matter to us. We care about the wellbeing of our associates, customers, partners and investors and value long term and mutually rewarding relationships. We believe in putting our care and attention into everything we do. We are Honest and Ethical. We act in a fair and responsible way in all of our dealings with our people, customers, partners and investors.
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2. Emily Goodrick: i .T h e B r a n d : E t h o s & V a l u e s As an up and coming luxury footwear brand, the ethos and vision of Emily Goodrick is to embody fresh and new innovations within design, whilst providing a footwear product which is stylish and aligned with the high end luxury market. This new designer aims at a younger, fresher consumer than Saks Fifth Avenue, and this is a factor that Saks wishes to explore, due to the fact that a younger clientele will ultimately be their next generation of consumer, hopefully staying loyal to Saks for years to come.
ii. Unique Selling Point The luxury footwear brand, Emily Goodrick, differs from many other fashion footwear brands in the sense that non-conventional materials and processes are used. The brand is contemporary, using minimalistic silhouettes with highly detailed elements including raw materials such as smashed up crystals and minerals which could be adhered to the shoe. These materials give the product an alternative element that almost branches into couture techniques, with a modern twist.
3. Research Methodologies
There are two fundamental types of research, and these consist of primary and secondary research. Both of these types of research are completely necessary to become fully aware and informed of the task that will be undertaken in designing a range for Emily Goodrick. Flynn and Foster (2009) state: â€œPrimary sources are written by those who conduct the research. Secondary sources are written by those who are reporting what others have researched.â€? Secondary research began with investigation into the Photographer Daniel BĂźttner, whose work consists of landscapes of mountain ranges in great detail, specifically focusing on his series of photos taken at High Tahuern National Park. The collection completely contrasts with every aspect of New York City, the natural landscapes, calm and voyeuristic nature of the mountains; unlike Manhattan where people tend to go unnoticed amongst each other in the fast paced, stressful environment. The cool colour palettes of the collection meet with predictions from WGSN for Spring 2014, including icy blues and glacial greys. The texture and natural characteristics of the mountains greatly inspired further secondary research that took place at The Natural History Museum in London, gathering photographs of natural crystals and minerals found in the earth. Primary research proceeded to take place, with drawing and paintings of the minerals that gave way for inspiration into colour palettes and 3D experimentation. The colours and variety of the crystals included muted tones, whilst also involving acidic brights such as sulphur and translucent metallic such as copper. The textures also inspired usage of faux furs, reflecting the tactile nature of the minerals and juxtaposing the rough edges with delicate softness. Research also took place at The Design Museum in London, which displayed all genres of design, from porcelain tableware to typography and graphics that will later on assist with the development of branding. 3D experimentation took place following on from the former research, involving smashing up crystals and minerals such as amethyst, clear and rose quartz, and aragonite sputnik and adhering the tiny pieces into Pumice Stone gel. Sheets of copper were also heated which gave the surface petrol like finishes; with pinks and burnt oranges which could be adhered to sections of shoes, including heels and sole units. Cement and concrete were experimented with in moulds using resin and glitter, crystals and foil.
[Fig.4] The Design Musuem J a m e s S h a w & M a r j a n Vo n Au b e l
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[ F i g . 5 ] R i c h a r d Tu t t l e | [Fig.6] Unknown Tu m b l r
[Fig.7] Christina DeSmet | DeSmitten Blog
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4. Market Positioning The market must be fully researched and this entails carrying out qualitative research into similar brand and product fields. Marketing in fashion is unique in the sense that the primary role of the product is to promote the brand, and this done via the internet (websites), in-store marketing and visual merchandising, and public relations, (Jackson and Shaw, 2001). Saks Fifth Avenue currently sits within the high end fashion department store field, competing alongside Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, and Bloomingdale’s. British competition includes Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Saks Fifth Avene sells luxury apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories in the U.S.A and in smaller stores across the world. In fiscal 2010, SKS posted net sales of $2.786 billion and net income of $47.85 million. Saks and most other luxury goods retailers are relatively shielded from trends such as rising oil prices because it targets a lower-income demographic; however, luxury consumption exaggerates more fundamental up and down swings, typically rising and declining at a faster rate than the overall economy. Due to healthier U.S. economic conditions, Saks made profits in fiscal 2010, compared to losses suffered in 2008 and 2009. The Saks, OFF 5TH and Saks Direct businesses are aggregated in one business segment. SKS product categories are listed below: ▪ Women’s Apparel: 37.5% of Fiscal 2010 net sales. ▪ Accessories: 18.9% ▪ Cosmetics: 12.1% ▪ Men’s Apparel: 15.2% ▪ Women’s Shoes: 12.8% ▪ Other: 3.3% Much of success in the retail business depends on the company’s ability to predict and anticipate consumer tendencies as order agreements are made months in advance of sales to consumers. Consequently, if the company inaccurately predicts consumer preferences, it could face lower sales, an overflow in inventories and lower profit margins all of which would adversely affect the company’s financial health.
[Fig.8] Hans-Christian Schink
The footwear industry is mature and fragmented like the apparel industry, however its manufacturing base is waning. “According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 78.9 million pairs of shoes were produced domestically in 2001, versus the 96.5 million pairs in 2000 (down nearly 20% year to year) and 498.3 million pairs in 1980 (down 84.2%). About 23.8 million pairs of shoes produced in the United States, or about 30% of the total, were exported” (Wagle). Imports of shoes totaled 1.4 billion pairs in 2002, which is worth an estimated $15.4 billion. “Exports of footwear produced domestically were down $520 million in 2002, from the $639 million in 2001” (Wagle).
5. Market Positioning: Emily Goodrick “Department stores are a well-established component of the retail landscape in the U.S. and are favored for the ability to buy items in many different categories in one location. However, after suffering sales declines during the recession, department store retailers are making changes to regain shoppers who may have traded down to alternate channels and/or reduced their overall spending on key categories sold at department stores. They are also making improvements in order to differentiate and compete with other channels particularly as online and mobile retail continues to evolve.” – Ali Lipson, Senior Retail & Apparel Analyst
i. Consumer: Emily Goodrick & Saks The luxury retail market has become increasingly competitive, and Saks’ prime competitors include Neiman Marcus (privately held), Nordstrom (JWN), Bloomingdale’s, and Barney’s (privately held), all of which offer comparable merchandise and cater to a customer demographic that earns roughly $175,000 to $200,000 a year, though Nordstrom targets a slightly less affluent average customer. ▪ Saks (SKS) merchandise is dominated by apparel, which constitutes about 55% of the total assortment ▪ Nordstrom (JWN) derives a sizeable portion of sales from shoes ▪ Bloomingdale’s derives a high portion of its revenue from home goods. Consumer research is essential and all designers and merchandisers within the fashion industry strive to stay informed of their lifestyles, choices, and research though various means such as shopping the market and reading newspapers and magazines, (Frings, 2005). Manufacturers and retails may ask consumers directly about their buying preferences through surveys and consumer focus groups, and in-store informal interviews. To study what consumers’ want, brands like Saks Fifth Avenue carry out a great deal of research into sales records to target consumers. The footwear brand, Emily Goodrick, should carry out research into similar contemporary luxury brands which would pose as competitors such as Acne, and Alexander McQueen.
ii. Branding The luxury goods industry is unique in that it is an industry that relies strictly on marketing and promotion to sell products to a specified group of people. It is also an industry that is well guarded and difficult to find any information on. However, the luxury goods industry is very fascinating and the products themselves signify prestige and status. Although a select few are able to afford luxury goods, the vast majority of people who are exposed to advertisements for certain products generally have aspirations of being able to own these products someday.
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[Fig.10] Emily Goodrick Photography The Natural History Museum
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6. SWOT Analy sis The market must be fully researched and this entails carrying out qualitative research into similar brand and product fields. Marketing in fashion is unique in the sense that the primary role of the product is to promote the brand, and this done via the internet (websites), in-store marketing and visual merchandising, and public relations, (Jackson and Shaw, 2001). The promotion of the brand through the product can consist of any variables, for example: price, quality, how fashionable or desirable the product is and the design and garment technology. A successful brand is constantly aware and up to date of the competitors out in the market which have similar products and target consumers. This should include knowledge of other companies USP (Unique Selling Points), price architectures and marketing strategies, whilst also outline other brands strengths and weaknesses. This research can be carried out through Mintel reports and market research conducted in other stores. In order to achieve a good overall view of the market and how a particular product will fit into it, a SWOT matrix is used. This test analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a business venture or introduction of a new product. A SWOT matrix example (see fig.1) demonstrates the questions that must be answered when exploring the strengths and weaknesses of a new product, and how it will positively and negatively affect the brand.
SWOT Matrix: Emily Go o drick Strengths
We a k n e s s e s
- Fresh new brand - Quality of product - Being sold at Saks Fith Avenue, Luxury branding -Innovative footwear designs - USP
- New Brand, lack of marketing experience - Huge competition - Financial expense starting new brand
- Developing market on the internet, bloggers, etc. - Collaborations with other designers, companies. - Broadening the brand into new collections, handbags? - International markets -
- A new competitor in home market - Price wars with competitors. - Competitors with new, innovative products - Taxation (finances) could rise on product.
Upon evaluation, all of these research methods would be appropriate for researching into the brand Saks Fitfth Avenue and Emily Goodrick, however, it must be taken into consideration that some of the data may not be completely reliable, and also it there not be enough resources such as time constraints to actually carry out the required research. Certain areas of research may also be neglected, and in order to avoid this then a Research Planning Chart is required, in order to observe which areas have been researched to their full extent, and where other areas may need more attention.
i. Conclusion Overall, this strategic ratinale outlines various key methods in the researching process, and it provides evidence and accurate analysis of primary and secondary research and the importance of it when design or producing a new product for a brief (Flynn and Foster, 2009). It is essential that during a live industry project the brand be fully encompassed within the final range as the brands identity is how the product will become synonymous with Emily Goodrick and Saks Fifth Avenue. Many consumers continue to shop at a brand because the products that it produces are consistent and reliable, enabling the consumer to build a relation with the brand and for them to understand what the brand stands for. This research proposal covers all the basic areas within the research process; however, if there were longer time constraints then even more research could be carried out. Ultimately, a successful design product would be able to be obtained with the correct target market and consumer in mind for a brand like Saks Fifth Avenue.
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Emily Goodrick Photography The Natural History Museum [Fig.12]
B I BL I O G R A P HY
1. Bibliography Flynn, J.Z and Foster, I. M. (2009) Research Methods for the Fashion Industry. Fairchild books, A division of Conde Nast Publications, Inc. Jackson, T and Shaw, D. (2001) Mastering Fashion Buying and Merchandising Management. Macmillan Press Ltd. Wagle, Y. (2003) Industry Profile: Industry Trends “Industry Profile: Industry Trends.” Online. Frings, G. S (2005) Fashion: From Concept to Consumer. Pearson Education, Inc Online Sources [Web] http:/www.saksfifthavenue.com/html/aboutus/saks_history.jsp?bmUID=k2wZ2Um [Web] http://www.mintel.com/company-history [Web] http://www.wgsn.com [Web] http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Saks_(SKS) [Web]http://store.mintel.com/department-store-retailing-us-february-2013?cookie_test=true
2. Images: Fig.1 Unknown [Tumblr] Fig.2 Emily Goodrick Photography Fig.3 Richard Tuttle Fig.4 Unknown [Tumblr] Fig.5 Christian DeSmet // DeSmitten Blog Fig.6 Hans-Christian Schink Fig.7 Unkown [Tumblre] Fig.10 Emily Goodrick Photography Fig.11 SWOT MATRIX - Emily Goodrick Fig.12 Emily Goodrick Photography Fig.13 Daniel Buttner