Lisa O’Mullan is the Founder and Director of Adélie Maternity, which sells fashionable clothing to see women through pregnancy, breastfeeding and beyond. Lisa understood the importance of merchandise planning, having worked previously as a buyer for large retailers. She had some understanding of how to plan her product ranges and analyse sales, but she wanted to improve her skills and manage most of the planning herself.
We arranged a 1-1 workshop so that I could bring her up to speed. Lisa was pleased with the day, saying “Claire very patiently shared all of the ‘how to’ with me, explained the key things to look out for and gave me plenty of opportunity to practice all the things I was learning.”
The results gave Lisa what she wanted, as she now feels “confident to do most of my analysis and planning in-house”. She brings me in a couple of times a year to do a big review and plan for the next season, and it works well. She knows that whenever she has a question between our reviews, she can reach out and I’ll help her to find the right approach.
Annie Holt and her husband Barry launched Ethereal London in 2017. Their elegant, feminine womenswear embraces the fact that one size can’t fit all, offering choices in lengths, sleeves and other style preferences so that women can find the dress they love in a fit that suits them.
With both different styling options and sizes to account for within the range, it was important that Annie (the face of the brand) had a reliable tool to help her plan and manage her products. She needed to be able to look at what she’d be selling in the next 6-12 months and feel confident that the styles she designed and developed would not only be beautiful but would also make financial sense.
Having worked for large clothing brands in the past, Annie knew how important this was. She also knew how much more important it would be now that she was running a smaller business of her own.
Most of my clients ask me to build a range planning tool for them, but Annie’s experience in the industry meant she was already using a format she liked. Her range planning tool allows her to put together her collection in a way that meets all of her customers’ needs (shape, colour, pattern, price), and also her own business’ needs (profit, stock levels, product details).
Instead of building a new tool from scratch, in this case Annie asked me to help improve her existing tool’s functionality. We had a short consultation to identify exactly what she needed it to do so we could upgrade it to work for her business. We agreed that automating as much as possible, creating dynamic summaries and linking information across different worksheets were top of the list, and I set to work to make it all happen! The automated summaries mean Annie can quickly see any areas that need extra attention. She can focus on creating her stunning collections and dealing with her customers’ bespoke needs, rather than spending so much time doing sums!
Annie was happy with the work, saying "Claire brings an amazing wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table and can support retail businesses of all scales through technical support in the shape of process, planning and technical toolkits and also through advice, training and action implementing merchandising skills and principles to enable your business to successfully grow."
PEP & CO
Pep & Co launched in 2015 and was very quickly stocking tens of stores, and then hundreds. Their buying office did a great job, but having moved at such pace they were left with (in their own words) “clunky, inconsistent processes and documents”. That’s where I came in.
Pep & Co’s biggest need was for a universal range planning tool that could be used by people across the business. It needed to capture detailed information about their products, deal with a variety of sourcing options and give them automated visibility of their total planned stock investments and forecasted sales.
I helped them develop a ‘Range Plan’ and it worked. Sarah Morgan, Pep & Co’s Commercial Director, says “we have seen enormous benefit from using the ‘Range Plan’ that Retail With Clarity developed and now have great trust in the integrity of the data we are working with.” That’s what I like to hear!
The story doesn’t end there, as Sarah explains: “We’re delighted to be continuing our relationship with Claire and Retail With Clarity as we work on other projects to further improve the planning of our ranges as well as tracking the development and delivery of new products, all of which will ultimately lead to better stockturn and profit margin.” There’s lots to look forward to…