By Paul Pannone
Ongoing discussions involving branded products and whether they’re really needed in today’s tough business climate shows the argument shifting towards the brands. With manufacturing prices rising in China and operation costs sky-rocketing in the US, private, no-name or fictitious named products don’t appeal to consumers, according to sources we’re interviewing. But why?
Celebrity Planner, Fashionista and knowing of all things frilly, Samantha Goldberg told eWedNewz, “RECOGNITION is everything for any industry. Branded Merchandise is very important depending on the feel of ones business and how the public might view it. To the consumer branded equates to familiar; derived from “Paris, New York City, etc. Fashion; ladies like to brag about fashion. Great news to the retailers. Mark up in retail can be 50-500%, depending on who you are and where you are.”
Goldberg’s sometimes over-the-top, zany behavior, superseded only by her sought after taste, believes in the power of brands. According to Goldberg at the root of what makes her own brand a brand– is her love of brands. “That’s what appeals to the income level people I work with. Can you picture a high-profile celebrity wearing some no-name outfit in public, or worse, in the company of their peers? Why would that ever happen?” she questions.
But in today’s tough economy bargain hunting is at al all-time high. Reports say even the highest income level shoppers are cost-conscious and look to save money. But it doesn’t mean they’re willing to sacrifice quality– or their brands.
Consumers are saving money on commodity items but not when it comes to their clothes.
Things are changing at Walmart and other discounters. People are shopping smarter wanting items at lower prices but are less willing to buy in bulk. Also, people are shopping for less unbranded clothing, or apparel with fictitious names, wanting assurance offered by recognized brands.
Wal-Mart, Sears and Kmart’s apparel operations now experience softness in basic apparel sales, as consumers opt for assurance given by branded names and to a lesser degree exclusive or high-visibility private labels.
Ut-oh, Wapner. And, oh yes, Kmart.
Since 2002 eWedNewz has tracked the success of retailers that survived and thrived in a down economic climate. Marginal success of no-frill operators worked well in crisis times but as more efficient methods adapted by companies leveraging branded products reduced costs and passed savings on to consumers, the gap between branded and non-branded prices narrowed. Now, with rising prices of offshore manufacturing, the pricing difference between branded and non-branded goods could narrow even further.
In the case of the wedding industry, emotions run higher than the price of a pair of branded or non-branded jeans. With the sea of choices in the dress business and the average price of a dress around $1,000 dollars, will a few hundred dollars make or break the day, especially taking into consideration the importance of the item? The wedding dress is the most important item to the bride and as spending rebounds on core items Wedding Water Cooler experts say the tendency for her to trade up to a designer brand are improving.
For him, eWedNewz is following a story involving bridal shops interested in carrying better branded retail formal wear by Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Joseph Abboud. So far interviews with bridal store owners say it would pay to have access to the brand names for marketing purposes. In stock and quick response deliveries to stores are even more attractive reasons for retailers enamoured by the names to offer the branded goods in their stores.
Wedding Water Cooler opinions that touted no-name products and disparaged designer names have cooled and even fallen silent in the past 24 hours.
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