In-house glamour

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In-house glamour
(From left to right) River Island navy oriental block print pencil dress, Aldo Bijou Bracelet, Black inverted collar blazer from River Island.

The concept of an in-store label is not new: Homegrown department stores such as Tangs, Metro and Robinsons have been selling products created by their own merchandisers or design teams for decades.

Designer shoe retailer On Pedder has its more affordable range of Pedder Red, and famed multi-label concept stores Opening Ceremony and Creatures of Comfort all have their own private labels.

Now, online stores are also cashing in on brands of their own, rather than simply selling products from other labels that they stock.

E-commerce behemoth Zalora, for one, which carries a multitude of brands ranging from homegrown labels such as Future State to international players such as Mango, River Island and American Apparel, has been selling its own brands Something Borrowed and Ezra.

Now that it has established itself as a major fashion retail force, it has rebranded Ezra as simply, Zalora.

The debut collection offers men's and women's accessories, shoes and apparel that range from everyday basics to on-trend statement pieces.

"Ezra was a pilot project for us to understand the market, assess our customers' requirements and better streamline processes including design and sourcing," explains Avni Pundir, managing director and head of private labels at Zalora.

"Upon achieving that and observing a very successful performance (it was the best-selling brand in all our markets), we decided to take the label to the next logical level, that is, naming it Zalora."

It is said that private labels are often attractive options for retailers because they generate much higher profit margins than selling other brands.

By eliminating the middleman, and controlling the distribution, manufacturing and supply, the entire process is streamlined and more efficient, which translates into bigger profits.

"From a business perspective, retailers are able to closely control private labels, especially if they're designed and manufactured in-house, which can result in higher margins," says Anne-Marie Bodal, fashion creative director at Lazada Group.

"This enables us to control the price points, and pass on the savings to our customers, especially in a competitive market like South-east Asia."

Owned by Rocket Internet, the same parent company behind Zalora, Lazada is a department store-like shopping portal that sells a plethora of products, from self-tanning creams to steam irons.

It launched a fashion category just last month with new-to-market international brands like Free People and Neon Rose, as well as its own brand, LZD.

For the more upscale online fashion boutique Shopthemag, the idea for an in-house accessories brand, April Issue, came about due to an inconsistent stream of products from other labels.

The site focuses on fashion-forward labels by designers from around the region.

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