What happens when you put together a boldness of personal style with the classics of fashion? And then add to it a dash of savvy business acumen. You get a Brand that becomes a Cult. Such is the potential exhibited by the Scandinavian fashion label Ganni. A little more than a decade ago, it was an outlet-based small brand that sold Cashmere sweaters. So what changed? Let’s have a look at the key elements and marketing strategy that Ganni possessed which led it to become an iconoclast icon.
1) Know what your customer yearns for
Ditte Refstrupp was a fashion buyer before taking over as the head of Ganni. Just like Coco Chanel, she understood that classic fashion wear came with its own caveat – discomfort. Through her years of experience as a buyer, she knew what the modern girl needed. She needed a dress but without the obligation of wearing heels with it. And that’s how the girl in the dress-wearing sneakers came to exist. And today sneakers are just the perfect thing to go with a skirt. She always had the Cool Scandinavian Girl in her mind before creating these pieces which have now disrupted some major fashion norms.
2) Know what the market yearns for
Another thing that Ditte had was a very clear understanding of where Ganni stood when it came to the consumer’s buying range. It was created as a mid-range product and that is how she wanted to keep it. Most of the brands started pricing themselves in the premium range as soon as their products gained traction. Ditte, on the other hand, observed that this led to customer disappointment over time. So, she ensured that Ganni remained loyal to the price range it was created for – the affordable range. Also with this came the understanding of selectivity. The brand was aware that being mid-priced and over-exposed can so more harm to the brand than good. So, the brand has even cut down its outlets at times to avoid overexposure.
3) Adopt agile business operations
Nicolaj Refstrup, the other half of Ganni as well as Ditte, took over to the technical side of matters and ensured that the brand was tech-savvy and swift in its execution. Ganni works in agile teams for 4-5 members to find out fixes to problems that arise and deploy those fixes. This kind of iterative lean methodology has helped Ganni’s collections be ahead of the curve when it comes to logistics and supply chain. Not only that, he used data to understand which piece of a given collection of the brand sell out faster. This data was then used to create repeat pieces on the same lines for the upcoming collections. Denmark. Copenhagen. Ditte and Nicolaj Reffstrup of the Ganni fashion label. 2019.
Nicolaj always had a vision for the company to be larger than Scandinavia and that’s where he is taking it.
4) Make your brand a magnet for influencers
Call it the couple’s own collective personality or the brand’s individual one, but Ganni came into shape around the time of “influencer culture” and it leveraged this to the fullest. In fact, the landmark moment came in the brand’s early days when Kate Bosworth and Helena Christensen, two models, posted a picture of Instagram wearing Ganni and creating the hashtag #GanniGirls. The hashtag was the beginning of a trend that eventually led to a cult following on social media. Till date, Nikolaj ensures that the brand is active in adopting new technologies and social media platforms which helps them maintain their presence and reach.
5) Have a personality
Both Ditte and Nicolaj have always been driven by a collective ethos of the brand – Sustainability. The brand has been calculating its carbon emissions and believes in creating clothing with the factor of ‘Aesthetic Durability’ – where they create pieces that customers love and which can last. When asked at a fashion event about their new edition of Ganni outlets which sell old collections, Nikolaj responded, “During the creative process by which you create your collection, you also produce a lot of styles that are never put to use like sales samples, prototypes, showpieces, stuff like that. Obviously, as we all know, at one point a collection loses relevance in stores and we need to find a new home for that. So we kind of created a new concept that is totally aligned with our brand DNA where we can present our discounted items.”
Call it luck (if you want) or a well-curated selection of aesthetic and perfect marketing strategy put together, but Ganni has managed to prove to be in its own league. With now backing of the private equity group LVMH, the brand is poised to grow into an international giant with a legacy of learning that all beginning fashion labels must take note of.