This month Head of Retail Hannah sat down with industry expert Andrea Yorston.
Having held many prestigious retail roles including Senior Buyer for Next, Global Product Consultant for ASDA, 10 years of commercial roles whilst at Joules, and most recently Head of Licensing for Cath Kidston, Andrea brings a wealth of knowledge to our chat today! Now working as an independent consultant for brands looking to move into licensing, Andrea gives us her views on what we will see in 2020!
Hannah – So Andrea, what is your favourite brand of all time and why?
Andrea – That would have to be The White Company. I love the understated style of everything it does from its bedding and fragrances to the ever growing range of simple stylish clothing. Its fabrics & fragrance oils are beautiful quality and the look & feel of its home collection works perfectly with my relaxed home style and neutral colour scheme bringing tranquillity to my busy lifestyle.
Hannah – In your new role you are consulting for some incredible innovative brands including My 1st Years and Frugi! In your opinion – what are the licensed brands you see as most innovative and exciting for 2020?
Andrea – I think one of the brands that really stands out for me has to be Dr Martens. Such an established and iconic brand which never ceases to surprise and delight by adding new twists to its classics. To celebrate its 60th anniversary this year it is introducing a collaboration with 12 world renowned partners to introduce a new version of its classic 1460 boot every month for the next 12 months….pretty impressive!
Hannah – Which category of licensed product do you see the most innovation happening? We see lots of new FMCG movements – but we’d love to know your thoughts!
Andrea – I’m seeing some really innovative products coming through in Pet Hardware such as climatised pet igloos, automatic feeders which can be operated from your mobile phone and gadgets to enhance your pet’s wellbeing. The pet market is growing rapidly in all areas – a family pet is now seen in the same way as a new baby.
Hannah – How do you feel the industry is performing at offering retailers a point of difference from licensed products – what do you look for? And how can we all be better?
Andrea – I think it’s tough getting a real point of difference as more brands are looking to licensed products to extend their portfolio and offering to their customers, however where I feel it works best is when two great brands are brought together in a very unexpected way. For example the Sanderson & Radley collaboration.
Hannah – How do you feel the millennial/ Gen Z is shopping licensed brands – what are they looking for from a customer experience and products?
Andrea – I think this generation is less focussed on the brand name but more on the brand ethics and its impact on the environment and global crisis. They are far more in tune with sustainability and the impact consumables are having on the global climate as they are the generation that will feel the impact therefore they want to be involved and are more aware of how they can make a difference.
Hannah – As you know well, we work on our brands from a retail first approach – do you feel this is critical in coming to the retailer first on signing preferred suppliers, and seeing the brand at the early stages?
Andrea – Absolutely! Every retailer wants to be one step ahead of the competition therefore the early collaboration at retail means it’s possible to find the best partners to interpret the brand’s USP in an unexpected and surprising way that will entice and delight its customer.
Hannah – And lastly … Has it been a joy working with The Point 1888 team in this role, and previous roles!?
Andrea – It’s always a joy working with The Point 1888 team. Such a vibrant bunch of people. I’ve worked with Will for quite a while and it’s great watching the team grow and the business go from strength to strength. I look forward to working with you on many more collaborations.
Huge thanks to Andrea for taking part in this blog, and to find out more about Andrea and maybe how she could help your business, please head over to her Linked In- https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-yorston/?originalSubdomain=uk