Clothing chain Joules has been much discussed by the mass media for defying tough market conditions and has been dubbed a ‘surprise’ high street success story. We highlighted the company in June’s Retail Round-up, when we first heard that their sales figures were growing and they were opening new shops.
Here’s Alice, with some insight into what might have caused a huge 28.5% jump in profits for the company in the last year
Historically, Joules stayed under the radar, with its typically British offering selling but not making headlines. The label started in Market Harborough (where its HQ still operates today) in 1989 with just four employees.
Nearly thirty years on, it’s gone from strength to strength. Today, they have 123 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, an active customer database of over one million customers, an established e-commerce platform and a growing international presence. They’re also a top selling wholesale brand in major UK retailers such as John Lewis and Next.
So, what have we noticed about the way that the business operates?
Well, this video really says it all. Check it out to “get” the brand – they certainly do.
CEO Colin Porter said “Our strong performance is testament to the strength and appeal of the Joules brand, our unique product offer and our growing and loyal customer base.”
Joules website states that ‘maintaining and developing a strong brand that has real affinity and connection with its customers has always been important to the company.’
Joules is a multi-channel brand with a vision of being available to their customers whenever and wherever they choose to spend their time. They do this by using their ‘Total Retail’ platform which ensures a fully Joules-branded customer experience across their portfolio of stores and concessions; fast-growing e-commerce platform; country shows and events; and, more recently, across a range of selected online marketplaces.
Joules pride themselves on unwavering attention to detail, and drive to “surprise and delight” customers with unexpected product details.
Tom Joule believes success in tough times is down to beating expectations. “The purchaser in the recession was becoming savvier and, with Joules core values and great styling, it was the perfect combination for the mood of the consumer.” So the brands bright, playful products attempt to combat the mood of the recession!
For them, it seems to be about really knowing the customer and creating products that don’t just capture their attention, but suit their lifestyle. In our industry, this is the equivalent of creating/selling instruments in a way that doesn’t just make customers want the item, but shows them why they need it to enhance their playing.
As a summary, this brand is clever – it sells clothing and associated accessories by tuning into lifestyle and appealing to the way that people approach their own lives day-to-day.
By selling to musicians, our industry is also appealing to a customer’s lifestyle. We can also be emotive, and show our consumers how the products that we’re creating/selling impact their lives.
Not too dissimilar – some food for thought?