Piper’s 3rd SeedMeet focuses on fashion and accessories
On 20th April, Piper brought together a dynamic group of entrepreneurs for its latest SeedMeet, this time focusing on the fashion and accessories market.
Piper’s SeedMeets are designed to help smaller growing brands in various consumer sectors better understand the challenges of getting investment, as well as gaining an insight into the mind of the investor.
Before introducing the panel of speakers, Yasha Estraikh, Senior Associate at Piper, began by explaining the rationale behind Piper’s recent investment in affordable luxury jewellery brand Monica Vinader. He outlined the brand’s key strengths and went on to describe what investors look for when considering fashion brands.
The first speaker James McArthur, former CEO of Anya Hindmarch and executive vice president of Gucci Group, gave an engaging account of his adventures in the fashion business.
Whether you run a billion dollar brand or one from your bedroom, he emphasised the importance when negotiating of ‘arguing about what matters and always leaving something on the table.’ He added that one of his favourite mantras came from Gucci Group CEO Domenico De Sole and applies to everything in business: ‘Courtesy is not a weakness.’
Adam Brown then told his inspiring story of building Orlebar Brown into a global luxury resort wear brand and his experiences since bringing in Piper, in 2013, to help scale his business.
He described knowing his previous career as a photographer was numbered when he couldn’t face photographing ‘another kitten in a dining room’. Followed by his accidental eureka moment by a poolside in Rajasthan, when he saw a group of men in baggy, garish swimming trunks and realised there was a gap in the market for elegant, tailored shorts you can swim in.
He went on to share some of the key – and sometimes painful – lessons he has learned so far.
These included making a decision on whether you want to build a brand or maintain a lifestyle. ‘Either is fine, but you need to determine which one is right for you.’ He also warned of the importance of identifying and working within your skillset, never being afraid to ask others for advice and planning honest and realistic forecasts.
Finally, Martin Bartle, former Global Communications and eCommerce Director at Agent Provocateur and ex-Head of Marketing at Net-a-porter, revealed some of the tricks of his trade. He described the strategy behind Agent Provocateur’s highly successful retail rollout across the US. And he gave a fascinating insight into how, by identifying and then over-servicing their top customers, ecommerce brands can multiply their order rates.
The conversation then turned to current trends in ecommerce and marketing and the value of genuine brand ambassadors on social media over costly, promoted posts. The view from all was that the more polished the content, the less engaged the consumers – and more likely they’ll be to click elsewhere