Paul Smith Jeans – Opening the door to the “Heavyweight” brands.

  1. Rob
  2. September 30, 2010 1:50 pm

Anyone who opens a Designer Menswear store usually has aspirations to present a wall – to – wall selection of the best designer brands….  ‘The Armani Jeans will sit here, The D & G over there, next to the Stone Island… ‘ You get the picture. The problem is, anyone new to the market is in a real catch 22 situation.  You want brand X, but brand X will only entertain you if you already have brand Y and brand Z.

An accurate analogy is the situation a new graduate finds themselves in.  They want a job, but employers all want experience…. to gain experience they need a job.. ad infinitum.

From long before Bagga’s launch I had been pestering the UK account managers for Armani Jeans, Stone Island, Paul Smith Jeans, Dolce & Gabbana and a load of lower-level brands.  For anyone who’s been through this process, you’ll appreciate the frustration, and the level of patience required.  Most (but not all) Designer Brand Managers are very professional, and extremely protective of their brand’s integrity.  There are often strict rules limiting to just one stockist in a town, and if all of the best brands are already in that town, you have little chance of success.

One of my reasons for choosing Bexleyheath as the location for my new venture was that the town was more or less free of competion, although there was a massive young population of the “right” demographic.

Just a few months after opening, I had the first of a series of breakthroughs with new accounts. The guys at Paul Smith Jeans visited the store and liked the Bagga Menswear shopfit and our plans going forward. I was invited to the Paul Smith Head Office & warehouse in (sir) Paul Smith’s birthplace – Nottingham.  There I was invited to cherry-pick from the in-stock selection of Jeans, T Shirts, knitwear and jackets from the Smithy collection, and to place a “forward order” for the following season.  I drove all the way home from Nottingham grinning like a cheshire cat – the persistence had paid off, I was “in” with Paul Smith, one of the “big boys”.

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