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DESIGN: ENTERPRISE AND INNOVATION REPORT PAIGE CLAY


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2 • EMMA LOUISE LONDON • DESIGN AND INNOVATION

This report is going to investigate the up and coming label Emma Louise London. It will be looking into the company, it’s positives and negatives, examining what makes the brand successful and how to continue and greaten this company’s exposure. This report will explore the label’s objectives, team, product and competitors. I will also be describing my experience, as an intern, with Emma Louise London.

Emma Louise London is the label from designer, Emma Cunnane. The label was founded in 2010 and is based in North London. Emma is a womenswear designer specializing in print; she studied fashion design at De Montford University and opened the university’s first show at graduate fashion week in 2008 with her print womenswear collection. After graduating from De Montford University, Emma went on to gain industry experience, not before taking the opportunity to go travelling, which inspired her a lot in her Autumn/Winter ’12 collection. Emma gained a years worth of industry experience interning for Olivia Rubin, Alexander McQueen and Future classics before launching her own label. Launching her own label is something Emma has always wanted to do, with her Dad and two brothers all businessmen themselves, it certainly runs in the family. Emma’s Dad owns his own business and has always encouraged her to

do the same, giving her plenty of support. Another reason for setting up Emma Louise London, is due to there being lack of jobs available, which pushed her further to create the label. Emma’s collections all feature quirky digital prints on wearable silhouettes, a signature look of the label. Emma became increasingly interested in print during university. After being involved in a project that was based on print specifically, she hasn’t looked back. Emma tried to interpret print into every project thereafter, believing that the prints can tell many more stories than just a plain piece of clothing. The Emma Louise London target customer was imagined to be women in their 20 to 30’s. However the biggest buyers seem to be women in their 40’s. This could be because the latter have more money and are able to buy there and then. There is a large following of young women, yet they are not as likely to buy due to lower incomes.


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Emma Louise London is a start up business with a four year plan and is financially supported by family instead of external sponsors. The label is coming to the end of its third year now and after the first four years the financial situation will be reassessed. Depending on the success of the company, it could look to using sponsors or other external sources of finance. When launching the label, Emma Louise London, Emma didn’t create huge unreachable objectives, instead tried to be realistic about where the brand would be three years on. By the end of its third year, she would have liked the brand to be making money, not necessarily a huge profit, but at least making the money back. As well as this, Emma wanted the label to be in a few boutiques, have a large amount of contacts and a decent amount of press. Three years on, it can be seen that these aims are well on their way to being met. The spreadsheet of contacts is full and keeps expanding; there has been a good amount of press with the likes of Made in Chelsea’s Louise Thompson and Giovanna Fletcher (Tom Fletcher’s wife) being seen in Emma Louise London.1 Furthermore, the label has been featured on several blogs and seen in Look magazine. Emma’s label is also now selling in DiGuardo Boutique, London and has been available online at littleblackdress.com for almost a year.2


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In an extremely competitive marketplace, it isn’t easy gaining exposure for the label. With many designers competing for success it proves difficult to make a name for yourself. Identifying competitors of Emma Louise London is not so easy being a small label. However, one competitor can be identified as Charlotte Taylor, a womenswear designer also specializing in print. The label has been running for four years and has proven successful having wholesale in over 10 different countries and a diffusion line with Anthropologie. Charlotte Taylor has been running for slightly longer than Emma Louise London, however the label has a much stronger presence and exposure. Looking into how Emma Louise London’s competitor’s work can be beneficial for the label, taking tips and understanding why they have had success in the market. Charlotte Taylor, for example, maintains a strong following through their social media. Having giveaways, updated press and a continuous interaction on Facebook and Twitter creates a strong relationship between brand and consumer. Emma Louise London does maintain a good following on social media platforms. Through following the right people in the industry and adding updates regularly this can be even stronger. A recent giveaway at Emma Louise London on Facebook drew in hundreds more followers, through a like and share competition. More people get to know about the label, leading to a greater following and more sales, as this was so successful it is something to consider doing again.3


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Another powerful tool in promoting the label is the media and high profile names. Having your brand on a celebrity creates major exposure, a great way to push sales, followers and publicity all at the same time. Emma Louise London has touched on this having Louise Thompson, Kimberly Wyatt and Giovanna Fletcher all seen in her designs. Giovanna Fletcher’s appearance in All Star Family Fortunes wearing Emma Louise London especially created a lot of hype around the label and increased sales. Brands will give their products away to high profile celebrities just to gain that exposure and in a plot to increase sales. For large companies this is something that can be done regularly and with ease, already having a distinctive place in the market and enough money. However for smaller, emerging brands this is not so easy as money has to be seriously considered, at the same time it is a great way to gain exposure. Looking forward, in five years, Emma would like the label to be selling wholesale to at least five or six UK boutiques and a couple of international boutiques. She also would ideally want to be appearing in high fashion magazines and have more of a celebrity following. As well as this, Emma hopes to have a diffusion line for a company and to be exhibiting at London Fashion Week.


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At Emma Louise London a collection is made up of a minimum of 11 products, with the product varying from dresses to tops to trousers. Every year the amount has increased and will continue to do so. In the AW13 collection the label introduced having the same dress in three different colours or the same shirt in different prints, providing more options for the consumer to choose from. This collection also saw the introduction of scarves also available in three different colours and varying prints. The experimentation in each collection is a good way to determine what the customer wants i.e. what is the most popular product and what doesn’t work so well. This way the label can focus on those products bringing in more profit looking into ways to improve them and push sales even more. At Emma Louise London, the typical time frame from initial design to final product is around two to three months. However there is a longer period for Spring/Summer than there is for Autumn/Winter. This begins with initial inspiration, including images or techniques Emma is inspired by, then experimenting and adapting these to her own designs. Drawing out designs, technical drawings, sampling, pattern cutting and producing the prints follow this. This is all possible with the help of a small yet efficient team. Emma Louise London specializes in print, so this is a very important part of the design process. After collating all the inspiration for the new season, Emma begins to experiment using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create new prints for the collection. Once the basics have been done Emma requests a 1-meter sample, then changes the colourways of the print and alters anything that doesn’t turn out as planned. She also sends off a colour palette, so she is able to see what the printer calibration is like. Once the prints are finalized, Emma sends the tile for a repeat print or the individual file for a placement print. This then takes around 10 days to arrive back into the studio. Emma Louise London is purposely designed and produced in the UK, this is something that Emma is proud of and would want to carry on doing. The label did explore the UK for factories to manufacture the garments; although the majority of factories in the UK deal with fast fashion meaning they would not touch the Emma Louise London products. This is because of the high quality of the garments and prominent use of silk, so the collection is made in house. Producing the collection in house with a small team has its benefits, the high quality is maintained and the products turn out exactly as planned.


STRENGTHS

The Emma Louise London label is successful in bringing an element of originality through the unique prints in the collections. Whilst print is now widely used, the Emma Louise London prints are especially unique as a lot of thought and consideration is gone into developing the perfect print. The collections also appeal to a diverse range of consumers. This is due to the comfortable silhouettes available in the collections, ranging from the timeless shift dress to the jersey bodycon dress. High quality is maintained in every product produced at Emma Louise London, as everything is made in house. This is something the modern day customer is interested in, investing in high quality, timeless designs.

WEAKNESSES

After three years in business, Emma Louise London has not managed to make a significant profit. In this economic climate it is particularly tough to persuade your customer to purchase your products, therefore it is important to put effective marketing strategies in place. The first and obvious action to take is to make sure the consumer is aware of the label and where it is available. Gaining a large following and continuing to draw in more customers is also very important. In order to do this the label must make use of social media and the press, getting into publications, blogs and other public platforms.

OPPORTUNITIES

This coming July brings a great opportunity to Emma Louise London. Showing at Scoop, London is a huge event in the label’s calender. This is a great opportunity to pick up more buyers and promote the brand well, leading to greater awareness of the label and reaching out to the customer. Another great way to push sales would be to set up an online shop. This is something that Emma Louise London is considering; this way the customer can browse the entire collection of products that are available and purchase with ease. For the new season, the label should think of ways to create excitement around the collection, for example launching another giveaway, as this was so successful.

THREATS

Emma Louise London is under threat from competitors and other labels all trying to gain exposure and be successful. In the industry, it proves hard to stand out as everything seems to have been done, and some labels have more money or better contacts than others. For Emma Louise London, important contacts need to be in the know of any updates or events in the label, so it is a good idea to regularly update social media and send out emails and be available to contact.


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At Emma Louise London, I have a role similar to that of Laura in the team. I have been assisting with PR and marketing elements of the label as well as helping out Emma with any other requests. I have found the experience enjoyable and valuable to my future career. I do feel lucky to have an internship that I can feel comfortable with, a huge juxtaposition to the usual stereotypical, stressed intern we regularly hear about. During my time at Emma Louise London I have taken on several tasks including; updating the blog and social media platforms, emailing contacts, pinning images of inspiration to the board, creating marketing strategies and using Photoshop and Excel.4 So far I have not found the internship extremely challenging and feel I have stepped lightly into the fashion world. However I do think starting with a smaller company eases you in with time to build confidence and learn the many aspects of a fashion business. After building my confidence and dipping into emerging brands I will be ready for the more challenging placements with larger companies. At present, Emma Louise London is working on the next collection, SS14. This is exciting as it is all leading up to the label showing at Scoop in July. Scoop is a boutique womenswear tradeshow located at the Saatchi Gallery and the Phillips Gallery in London. The show presents emerging and established fashion designers showcasing the best in contemporary and premium womenswear and accessories. This is a great opportunity for Emma Louise London and something I am excited about taking part in.


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Emma Louise London worn Fletcher, Louise Thompson Wyatt.

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Emma Louise London stockists: DiGuardo Boutique and Little Black Dress

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Like and share give away on Emma Louise London Facebook page

4 Timeline I created for the label’s third year anniversary

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A few blog posts I created for the blog, I regularly update this blog as well as the label’s social media.

by and

Giovanna Kimberly


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Emma Louise London Report