Promise: More Retail Outlets to Boost Visibility in the Customer’s Mind
19 May, 2015
Catalan lingerie firm Promise is currently in the process of expanding the number of its retail outlets. The plan is to have 65 own or franchised single-label stores.
The company currently has 45 franchises and four own stores. In 18 months from now it will have 65. This clutch of openings forms part of the distribution-channels growth plan that Promise has been carrying out in recent years and which will end in 2016. “We want the customer to enter a multibrand store and see Promise, recognise it and choose it over other labels,” explains company CEO Sergi Flores. He heads up this firm that dates back to 1967 together with the label’s designer Roser Samón. The most important project right now is “to promote the label among end consumers”, which, in Flores’ words, means having 100% Promise stores. “This will allow us to cover the geographical areas where we have less presence and above all gives us visibility in the street, strengthening the brand in all channels and particularly in customers’ minds.”
Promise has a total of 2,000 retail outlets, 30% of them abroad. This figure cannot be explained without talking about the multibrand boutique which “has always been the best way for the firm to get onto international markets,” Flores says. But at home, too, the multibrand store has been the principal distribution channel for the products, in addition to the “shop in shop” concept and now own stores.
In 1988 the firm Géneros de Punto Everest, a family company in the lingerie sector that specialised in cotton products, decided to apply fantasy to its design process and became Promise. With Roser Samón in charge of design, they offer what they call “extremely feminize designs”. Flores says they cater to every type of woman, “from sexy to sporty, informal to glamorous”. These are the different faces of Promise, which tells new customers that its collections “offer premium-quality fashion and design at a highly competitive price”.
Although the firm has changed out of all recognition from when it manufactured basic underwear items in the 1960s, there are aspects of the company which Flores says endure. “The first generation has nothing to do with running the company but its DNA is still present in our day-to-day work. By that I mean the spirit of endeavour and passion for a job well done which continue to be the values of our business”. Also, the fact it was a family company has left its mark on all the work processes that Promise performs today. Specifically, for Flores, being a family firm forces them to “have a longer-term vision than other types of businesses. That doesn’t mean we can’t be flexible, but in our case it is important to find a balance between risk and business sustainability,” he says.
An increasingly wider variety of clothing can be found in the firm’s product catalogue. That is because, according to Flores, “the market is very demanding and ever-changing, and it is important to adapt to what the customer wants”. This philosophy has led them to diversify production so that now, in addition to lingerie, an important part of the company’s activity focuses on pyjamas and swimwear.
The CEO explains that making swimming costumes was a natural development for Promise. “We went for its six seasons ago in response to customer demand. Swimwear fashion had always interested us because the patterns and shapes are very closely linked to women’s underwear. It motivated us to move into swimwear, drawing on our knowledge in the lingerie sector to be able to offer it to our customers”.
With regards turnover, the Promise head honcho says that pyjamas play a very important role and “have opened many doors”. Product diversification has also translated into menswear pieces each season. “Until a couple of years ago we only had a selection of items for boys and men. Their success saw us greatly expand our supply and today we have a full collection of underwear, pyjamas and homewear for men.” The good results of these collections mean the firm now considers men’s fashion as another cornerstone of its activity.
The design team, quality control, the sales headquarters and the communications department are located in Sant Pol de Mar, in the Maresme region. From there, they also control the production process which has been carried out in Asia, mainly China, since 2004. “We moved our manufacturing to Asia and other countires although we are now making a few pieces here again.” In this regard, Flores says that a business cannot close the door to any country when it comes to production. “The reindustrialisation of the textile industry in Catalonia, particularly in terms of manufacturing, will no doubt provide us with new resources to face a market that is changing increasingly quickly and is ever more globalised,” he says.