“Building the Passion Supply Chain: The Beauty and the Beast!”

From beginning to end…from conception to consumption…nurture an inner pride that translates to a public passion, so that the flow of enthusiasm continues well beyond the selling process.

As part of your core business processes measure and monitor passion as though it were as tangible as gold coins because that is what passion will surely produce.

 

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A successful supply chain is a fundamental pre-requisite for any retail business. Creating and managing it requires small fortunes of investment, complicated integrated technologies, coordinated and sequential … Continue reading

Dark Sugars: Passion & Pride in Chocolate Heaven

Being passionate about chocolate wouldn’t rank as being unusual in our sweet toothed society, however converting an indulgence into a thriving business riding the crest of a chocolate wave for two decades takes more than simply applying recipes.

 

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Dark Sugars is destination number one for chocolate experiences in London, nestled appropriately on Shoreditch’s Brick Lane amongst the famous facades of its many frequented Indian restaurants. Decidedly sweeter though no less spicier Dark Sugars provides a world of sensory wonder to those who cross … Continue reading

Great Yarns: The Untold Riches of a Humble Past

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then.

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The last decade has shown us that brands need to connect very strongly on an emotional level with their customers in order to survive and flourish. New brands arrive with a fanfare of future expectations, but equally valid and valuable are the stories behind the brand evolution and … Continue reading

“Where there are People there is Retail”

“Where there are people there is retail” however every retail location needs a commercial strategy and an inspirational delivery.

Customer traffic is now dictating the location of retail. Freedom to travel and freedom to choose between online and physical shopping, between town and out-of-town, between the familiar and the unusual is changing the landscape of where people spend their money.

 

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The retail location equation now includes not only town centres & high streets, retail parks and shopping centres but leisure destinations, transit centres … Continue reading

Loaf at your Leisure: Disruptive Relaxation

Loaf, in a purely traditional definition, is a retailer of sofas, beds and furniture. However in the context of the traditional way of doing business it is a disruptor of the highest order bringing new ideas, imagination and inspiration to the table of home retailing.

 

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To begin, Loaf is not just a clever name with its implication of relaxation in the modern media world, or its application to product names and its staff of “Loafers,” but is a summary of a state of … Continue reading

Soho Alive & Kicking: The Jimi Hendrix Pop-up Experience

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then.

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Two big themes of the decade were epitomised by the second coming of Jim Hendrix to Carnaby Street.

Firstly the advent of the “Pop-up” shop. Now everyone’s favourite vehicle for testing out new product launches and brand marketing initiatives, made official and commercial by a growing number of temporary … Continue reading

Retail Workshops: Where to begin with town centre planning

Managing a single retail chain is complicated enough however when it comes to retail locations, town centres, shopping centres, retail and leisure destinations then simply the number of stakeholders and agendas involved can create an insurmountable complexity making the whole decision process impossible, never mind the delivery itself.

 

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So if you’re in a quandary as to how to move forwards with a coordinated and workable retail strategy for your location then how to begin?

One thing is for sure, effective change cannot be imposed … Continue reading

“The Independent Retailer Support Kit”

How town centres, high streets and independent retailers can evolve “Local Destination Stores” because being an independent retailer does not mean you have to be inefficient, unattractive, and uncompetitive.

 

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In fact in the fight for retail traffic between competing town centres the role of independents is more critical than ever in creating distinct flavour and personality. When independent retailers escape the cloak of consumer invisibility and exchange it for the colourful and attractive garb of local destination retailers then shopping venues truly begin to attract … Continue reading

“Is Bluewater’s expansion killing Kent’s High Streets?”

Tim Radley, CEO VM-unleashed, interviewed on Radio Kent as part of its debate on retail in the county.

 

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Bluewater Shopping Centre has recently been given planning permission for a number of expansions including a leisure development around its lake complex and the arrival of a new Primark flagship. Already under pressure from the regional super-shopping centre local towns are bracing themselves for another blow to their high streets.

But is it really time to write off the high street as a shopping … Continue reading

Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Cath’s Cornucopia

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then.

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Cath Kidston flagship store, Piccadilly London

“Amongst the proud pillars of Piccadilly a little floral femininity has broken through the winter weather. Cath Kidston’s first flagship is a bright beacon of colour inviting the passer-by to explore a world of nostalgic designs, a celebration of classic kitsch, a … Continue reading

Converse Relationship: Clever Footwork to Customer Loyalty

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then.

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Converse flagship store, New York City

“Converse know who they are!

The key to brand success in 2013 is the commercial and emotional maximisation of the brand personality. Converse is the best example of taking an iconic product and bringing it to life through celebration of the classics, … Continue reading

VM-Unleashed – 10 years old: Time flies when you’re having fun

As I always tell my clients, 10 is an interesting number. On the one hand it doesn’t sound a lot but on the other hand who wouldn’t want a 10% increase in sales, or wages, or a 10% reduction in tax. In modern retail, performance increases are made up of increments and so the number 10 can go a very long way indeed.

 

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And so from nowhere VM-unleashed is 10 years old!

A landmark which in the grand scheme of things, life … Continue reading

Lush for Life: Believing in the Body & Soul of Beauty

It’s not often that the atmosphere in a store is so real and tangible you can almost touch it and taste it. And whilst the assortment on offer may look good enough to eat in Lush, it is the experience which is something to die for and not a misguided mouthful of soap-suds.

 

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Complete strangers are struck instantly by the friendly welcome, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the staff, and the intensity of customer engagement where it seems every customer is the most important … Continue reading

“The Flow of Retail Passion!”

It is a very long way from the product drawing board to an exciting store full of inspiring stock and enthusiastic staff. The journey is complicated logistically, commercially, geographically and emotionally, and involves the passing of the product baton between many hands.

 

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First and foremost the outcome in terms of product proposition must be commercially complete incorporating all the processes and parameters that deliver an assortment plan that learns from past experience as well as future predictions. Logistically that plan must be delivered … Continue reading

House of Hackney: passionate people producing amazing experiences

To step from Shoreditch High Street into the House of Hackney is a journey into such a wonderful world of sumptuous colour and texture that a visit to Narnia itself would be no more astounding. And that is not to sleight Shoreditch but to extoll the voluptuous virtues of this home emporium that it so appropriately houses.

 

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House of Hackney is a print-based lifestyle brand, founded in London in 2010 as an interiors label by husband and wife team Javvy M Royle and … Continue reading

Passion is an absolute pre-requisite for commercial retail success

Successful retail businesses are driven by passionate people,
with sales & profits the commercial outcome of a passion for product and lifestyle.

 

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It would be unfair and inaccurate to say that retail businesses have been without passion as in fact some of the most famous and successful retailers ever, from the Limited Group to the Body Shop, have been built around passionate individuals. However too many other companies, founded in less demanding and competitive times, rely too much on simply selling the … Continue reading

9th Joy of Retail Spring: VMToolkit to Control Stores

Every retailer is different, and in most cases every store is different, from the obvious variations of culture and taste in an international  portfolio, the clear operational issues between directly owned stores and wholesale partners, to the more subtle challenges of different store manager personalities and store personnel attitudes.

All this requires retailers to create and apply a wide-range of guidelines, tools and processes to get the very best from every store situation – the VMToolkit

 

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VMTookit & operations efficiency benchmarking

Having the … Continue reading

Untold Riches of a Humble Past: The Telling of Brand Stories

In a strange turn of events and in part reaction to the fabricated fantastic world around us there has become a clamor for brands with true heritage, roots, tradition and history. In many ways the greater the brand struggle, the deeper the hardship, the more humble the history then the more credible collateral a business has to take into the future firmament.

 

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At the heart of this consumer desire is “trust.” Always an essential of any brand relationship, but now not just about … Continue reading

Pop-Up for Tea: Tasteful Treats from Wedgwood

A mere meander from the horticultural highlights of the Chelsea flower show is a marriage made in heritage heaven between Wedgwood and John Lewis.

 

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Just a few steps into the foyer of Peter Jones in Sloane Square is a land of serene ceramics and tasteful elegance, a month-long pop-up experience that turns tasteful into tasty as the setting for the Wedgwood Conservatory Cafe, a place of tranquil relaxation and quiet indulgence.

The Wedgwood world is emblazoned in powder blue, provided on this occasion … Continue reading

8th Joy of Retail Spring: Defining Omnichannel Assortments

The question “how much product should I put in my stores?” has always generated animated and healthy debate amongst retail businesses.

That question, and the discussions around it, just got a whole lot more complicated as the opportunities and threats of e-commerce and true omni-channel assortment allocation has made store capacities one of the most important decisions for retailers to get right.

 

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The reduction of physical store capacities for an omni-channel retailer, supported by flexible and reliable inter-channel replenishment, allows the development of inspirational, … Continue reading