JAF on Wholesale vs Retail
Just Another Fisherman (JAF) – a durable and functional clothing brand with ready to wear items for the outdoors. This Kiwi brand has excelled with its design and execution of their range which is comfortable, efficient and practical – serving its purpose on the water, in the outdoors and on the street. We sat down with Director Aaron Styles to talk to him about JAF, and specifically about his experience with wholesale vs retail.
- Tell us about your experience with wholesale and retail?
I’ve been involved in designing products for wholesale and retail brands for the past 15 – 16 years in the NZ streetwear and outdoors market. Starting at Huffer, which was mainly a wholesale business when I left, I moved on and started a boutique clothing production company Mr & Mrs Styles Ltd, with my wife Penny Styles.
Over the past 8 years I have been building our in-house brand Just Another Fisherman, which sells wholesale, online and in two bricks and mortar retail stores. Over this time, we have made a very loyal wholesale programme in NZ, dealing with independent retailers who have built the brand in their areas with a great customer following. This has allowed us to develop our online retail platform and portray JAF in its desired look and feel. In regards to bricks and mortar retail, this is still very new to us but after growing up working in retail, we know the customer & brand experience is very important.
- From your perspective has there been a shift towards a more direct to consumer market?
Yes and no. The retailers in smaller NZ towns that have changed with the times still have an excellent customer following and are doing well, and having both online and retail experience is the key to their success.
In regards to our retail experience, both online and in-store, we have seen some shift to direct purchasing, but it has not come without hard work in these channels, especially online where consistency, quality and content are so crucial to the customer’s journey, and the JAF brand’s authenticity.
- What do you see as the benefits of wholesale?
I think it’s great for growing your brand’s awareness in the market, but you need to be strategic in where you place your brand – what it sits next to in the store and how your retailer is selling your products. Sometimes it’s easy to chase the dollar and put your brand in a flooded market too early, which can wash it out.
But for many brands without wholesale, it’s tough to meet the MOQ (minimum order quantities) to make the products and achieve target pricing. So they still play a massive part in a brand’s journey.
- What do you see as the benefits of retail?
Being able to sell the entire brand journey, not only all the brand’s products in one doorway but the whole look and feel – the full experience. The other lure to retail is the margin, but this does not come without extra overheads like rent, staff, store fit-out and other additional costs.
- How do retailers ensure brand integrity is maintained through wholesale doors?
I think the best way for brand integrity to be maintained is for retailers to merchandise brands in the store and back it with said brand’s brand and campaign imagery. I think it’s hard to understand a brand’s look and feel when it’s mixed in with another ten brands; by merchandising as one brand, the customer can get a mini-brand experience within a wholesale retail store.
- As a brand, do you think the approach/strategy for content in wholesale doors should be different to that in its own retail spaces? ie. More focus on retail experience to maximise full margin sales, and nail the brand/customer experience.
I guess it depends on the scale and size of the wholesale doorway. If they are a big multi-door retailer, I think their brand is just as important as the wholesale brands they sell so there is more focus on their own brand experience for their customers. They use more custom or campaign content which feature brands they sell, targeting full margin and sales.
For the smaller stores, I think they are better to work with the brands to tell a better story in-store, re-using the wholesale brand’s content to create an experience for their customers. We supply all our retailers’ online images, campaigns, and social assets.