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Beyond the Bale : September November 2009
September -- November 2009 BEYOND THE BALE SELLING MORE WOOL Zhejiang Qianqiu Knitwear Co Ltd, a middle-tier knitting company in China, had earlier this year been looking to strengthen its brand position by working with a quality fibre and a well-respected ingredient brand. Due to AWI involvement Merino wool and the Woolmark brand are now the centerpiece of Qianqiu's new marketing campaign. AWI provided technical and marketing assistance to Qianqiu, which improved the quality of the company's knitwear and also provided it with an effective branding strategy for the launch of its autumn/winter 2009-10 product range. Qianqiu, a Woolmark licensee, has about 400 retail outlets, mainly in eastern and northern China. It sells men's and women's knitwear products -- about one million pieces of wool knitwear a year. This consumes more than 300 tons (about 300,000 kilograms) of Merino wool. Since working with AWI, the company's sales have increased by 200,000 pieces. AWI will continue to strengthen its relationship with Qianqui by offering training seminars about new textile innovations from AWI, the Woolmark brand and knitwear trends to the company's staff. The training will enable the sales staff of Qianqui's 400 retail shops to promote their Merino wool knitwear to consumers in store. This training will coincide with retail marketing campaigns from September 2009 until January 2010 in the five major cities of Shenyang, ZhengZhou, Wuhan, Chongqing and Kunming. Qianqui's sales managers from all over China will also be provided with further training about Merino to help the company associate its brand with the natural and versatile attributes of Merino wool. Woolmark the hero of new China campaign MARKETING The company's new marketing campaign was launched in July at a joint Woolmark/ Qianqiu event with a fashion show and media conference. The fashion show included a presentation of the landmark 2008 Woolmark Prize collection and Qianqiu's autumn/winter 2009-10 knitwear range. More than 900 people from Qianqiu's sales and distribution networks attended the event. A key part of AWI's marketing strategy is to leverage the marketing budgets of its business partners to sell more wool at retail, i.e. business to business to consumer (B2B2C). It serves AWI's interest, and its woolgrower shareholders, to ensure apparel companies spend their marketing dollars on promoting wool apparel to their consumers rather than apparel made from competing fibres. And that's what AWI has been doing in collaboration with Qianqiu. Qianqiu is investing 100 times more than AWI in the joint marketing campaign. The company has already placed an order for 200,000 pieces of Woolmark- branded product and is planning to order 400,000 to 600,000 pieces in total. THE WOOLMARK BRAND Sam Guthrie, AWI country manager for Greater China, says Qianqiu is benefiting from the association with the Woolmark brand. "Qianqiu appreciates they will add value to their product range by working with us," Sam says. "The quality of their knitwear has improved, their marketing is benefiting from the use of the Woolmark, and we now have a close ongoing relationship." Sam says that forming relationships and collaborating financially and intellectually with companies in China is a very cost- effective way of operating for AWI. "It's a fundamental part of AWI's strategy in this market. We are continually targeting important decision-makers in the country's apparel industry and encouraging them to take up and market new Merino fabrics, yarns and products. "Working with Woolmark licensees and other large companies in China is vital. China is the largest wool-consuming country at retail, particularly of apparel wool. China accounts for nearly a quarter of the world's apparel wool consumption at retail in volume terms. "About 40 per cent of the apparel wool consumed at retail here is sold as knitwear, by companies such as Qianqiu, with men's woven wear using a quarter, and women's wear and hand-knitting yarn both using about 17 per cent. "AWI is here to help Woolmark licensees boost their sales of wool, which is good for both the licensees and Australian woolgrowers. Having us here is a win-win situation." More information: www.wool.com/market Qianqiu's new marketing campaign was launched with a fashion show of the new apparel. KEY POINTS l Chinese knitting company Qianqiu has launched a new marketing campaign built around the Woolmark brand. l Since working with AWI, Qianqiu's sales have increased by 200,000 pieces. l AWI is adding value to its Woolmark licensees, from marketing to technical assistance. 9
June August 2009