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Beyond the Bale : May 2010
Autumn/winter 2011-12 fashion calendar (Northern Hemisphere) 'Window of opportunity' for AWI Sep 2009 Jun 2010 AWI product development AWI product marketing Feb 2011 July 2011 Sep 2011 Jan 2012 January sales Apparel delivered to retailers Retail selling season Production of apparel Retailer product development Trade shows Retail workshops Retailers place orders Retailers' planning starts Timeline (not to scale) AWI activity Retailer activity "We have to ensure retailers stock wool products; otherwise consumers clearly wouldn't have the opportunity to buy wool." This simple observation from AWI general manager of product development and commercialisation Jimmy Jackson lies at the heart of AWI's product development and product marketing strategy. "Retailers and brands are crucial to us selling more wool. That is why AWI puts so much effort into presenting and marketing products to them," Jimmy says. "AWI schedules its product development and marketing to fit in exactly with the retailers' fashion calendar. We do our product marketing at precisely the time the retailers are considering what products to put in their seasonal collections. "AWI has a 'window of opportunity' to convince brands and retailers to stock wool for that season -- it's important to get the timing right. There would be no point in us doing our marketing a month after they had already made their buying decisions. "It's also important for us to market our products to the large spinners, knitters and weavers, to persuade them to switch fibres to wool, because this is where retailers target their buying strategies. The knitters and weavers must be able to work with wool, to enable the retailers to buy wool products to put on their shelves." AWI begins developing its product offering a full two years before the garments start being sold in the shops. For the autumn/winter 2011-12 collections of Northern Hemisphere retailers (see diagram), AWI is currently nearing the end of its nine-month product- development phase. The all-important product marketing 'window of opportunity' is about to begin. "July to October is the crucial time in the fashion cycle; it's during this time that retailers and brands in the Northern Hemisphere collect product ideas," Jimmy says. "AWI will launch its collections to brands and retailers at the major international trade shows of SpinExpo in New York (June) and Shangai (July), and Première Vision in Paris (September). "We make good contacts at these events, but the follow-up work by the AWI global sales team at workshops with the high-street brands is where the real product marketing goes on. "We will then work with supply-chain partners to help transfer the technology to develop the products, with a decision about any new product range around Christmas time and the orders in February. "While it might seem early for AWI to start the development process two years before the final products are available for sale in the shops, you can see it takes time for products to be developed and marketed, and then for the garments to be ordered, manufactured, transported and shelved." More information: www.wool.com/collections AWI riding the fashion cycle FAST FACTS l There is a two-year period of product development, marketing and production leading up to seasonal collections being available in the shops. l There is a 'window of opportunity' in each seasonal fashion cycle in which AWI markets wool products to retailers, brands and manufacturers. 8 SELLING MORE WOOL May 2010 BEYOND THE BALE "AWI schedules its product development and marketing to fit in exactly with the retailers' fashion calendar. We do our product marketing at precisely the time the retailers are considering what products to put in their seasonal collections." -- JIMMY JACKSON, AWI