What would you describe your style to be? After all, we are all unique. No one has ever had the same experiences as you. They are yours, only and forever. Those experiences can influence the choices you make. Only you know what you like, or what you don’t.
When launching a business, especially a creative retail one, you rely on people not only seeing the hard work and worth of your designs, but they also have to like them and connect with them enough to want to buy. This can be difficult for a designer. It’s easy to create things you, yourself love, but how can you ensure you make enough of a variety that lots of people will love your products?
Fashion has always been led by the high-fashion, big city catwalk shows. Big name designers creating garments to challenge or inspire. Muted, watered down versions of those designs are what then appear in our high street stores for us to buy. There used to be a long time between, sometimes up to 2 years or 4 seasons, and you could predict what would be in the shops in the coming seasons based on what was seen on the catwalks. However, in the past two decades, with the growth of international business and global accessibility, the process of ‘initial concept’ to ‘on your doorstep’ has become much faster. Fashion as a retail market has had to become more reactive.
Big retail companies conduct market research across their thousands of visitors and customers, then can use that information to tailor their product ranges or customer service approach.
Did you know, from this, there are considered to be seven main customer profiles? By analysing statistics based on shopping habits and preferences, there are clear trends that most (not all!) people fall into.
Four of these profiles are probably the most common for fashion and accessory retail. They can be defined as Classic, Statement, Individual and Trend.
- “Classic” – people with a classic style have a timeless and elegant quality to what they choose to wear. The jewellery they wear is simple or subtle, and usually the same pieces are worn almost every day and therefore must be versatile to work with multiple outfits. The designs are demure and made from high quality materials, like precious metals and stones. Some of the pieces may have sentimental value. People with a Classic style preference tend to shop less frequently but will spend more knowing the piece they’ve selected is of a higher quality, so it will last longer and can be worn often. They like to shop in person, to get a feel for the product before committing to a purchase, but can be brand loyal when they find the quality they are looking for. The pieces they wear tend to be neutral in colour, as does their wardrobe, so they have easy mix and match options. They wear jewellery to subtly add a hint of texture or shine to an outfit.
- “Statement” – on the opposite end of the scale from a Classic, people with a Statement style preference express themselves boldly through their outfits. Their styles can be bright and daring, quirky or unusual and a lot more varied. Usually people with an extroverted personality, they will change their look and adapt their wardrobe on an almost daily basis. They tend to shop prolifically, always looking for a new piece to perfectly complete an outfit and can be easily inspired by what they find and see. The aesthetic of the piece is the key component, if it is also of good quality that is a plus, but not a necessity. More is more for someone with a Statement style, they will love to layer or clash, combining colour, patterns and shapes in their own way. Focusing on wearing things that please them and makes them feel good, happy or confident.
- “Individual” – if you prefer a very select collection of designs as your personal style, you might have what is classed as an Individual style. By this we mean, Individuals tend to wear quite unique pieces, based solely on personal preferences, maybe pop culture references or a favourite animal, motif or idea. Every piece tends to have more sentimental value and will remind the wearer of a certain event or person. The items they wear will more often be bespoke and carefully handpicked, even commissioned to meet the exact want or need. People with an Individual style tend to shop less frequently, they will browse but need to feel a true personal connection or love for a piece before they decide to buy. The other aspect of an Individual’s style is that they may take something fairly common or popular but then wear it in a completely new, original way. They have a habit of to being ahead of trends and once something becomes mainstream, they will have long since moved on to something else.
- “Trend” – the final category is for people who find a lot of inspiration in the fashion of those around them or in the media, and tailor their outfits to represent what is currently popular. Their aesthetic, with current trends as they are, means a combination of a Classic with more of a Statement aspect. They will add more colour, pattern or sparkle than someone with the simplistic Classic style, but not going quite so far as someone with a Statement style preference. Fashion as an industry is always changing and some trends are a flash in the pan, others last longer and can be inspired by historical fashions, remade into contemporary designs for our current market. With the growth of social media and increased access to the technology to document what and how we are wearing items, these virtual platforms have become a huge influence when it comes to style. Trend led people will shop frequently to maintain an up to date wardrobe and see inspiration everywhere. They will not necessarily buy into every trend but can usually find an option they like from most popular trends, especially with the high volume of designs available via the high street or online. If they have a prominent interest in having a social media presence, a person with a Trendy style preference may only wear an item once or twice before moving on. Some of this has led to the idea of “throw away” fashion, but a recent upsurge in the recognition of the environmental impact of the fashion industry, has increased the public awareness and the need for more sustainable options, which is beginning to be represented in bigger business.
Remember these are broad-stroke categories, not everyone will feel they are exclusively one or another and many people may flit between more than one of these. Style preferences and habits can change over time. It is worth keeping in mind, especially as a designer or small business owner, about all the different tastes, styles and habits people have when creating collections or shopping.
These style profiles are one of the factors we need to consider when it comes to choosing our new Brand Ambassadors. We want to demonstrate how versatile OnlyWillow designs are, by showing how they can be worn in different ways, by a variety of people with an assortment of style aesthetics.
You can still apply to become a Brand Ambassador, head to our previous blog, OnWards! to find out how.
And, in case you missed it… OnlyWillow Jewellery and Gift Shop has officially reopened! We can now be found both in store and online again.
If it is safe for you to do so, you are more than welcome to pop in and, from a safe social distance, say hi to Olivia and Nala.
Our current trading times are:
Monday – 10am-4.30pm
Tuesday – 12pm-4.30pm
Wednesday – 10am-4.30pm
Thursday – Closed
Friday – 10am-4.30pm
Saturday – 10am-4.30pm
Sunday – Closed
Stay Safe and Shop Local where you can.
Written by Siobhan Green.