We’ve been at the forefront of producing beautiful ‘natural clothing’ for 20 years now, championing eco fibres since our humble beginnings in the mid 1990’s. We produce quality affordable garments, always produced ethically, with sustainability in mind. And today there is more consumer interest than ever in Braintree’s combined sustainability and design approach – however because we sell mainly through wholesalers we didn`t have an on-the-ground retail presence that would raise our public profile and get our name out there. We knew people want to buy in to our ethos, we just had to make sure they could discover it.
Braintree Clothing Founder, John Snare
Braintree Clothing in London, which designs and produces ethically sourced sustainable clothing that is sold in more than 25 countries worldwide, was joined by Emma Fisher, part time Marketing Director in July 2014.
Braintree wanted Emma to strengthen its marketing team at senior level and to head up a comprehensive rebranding project and repositioning exercise within just six months, aiming to see the brand becoming more of a contemporary fashion brand from SS15 onwards.
“We’ve been at the forefront of producing beautiful ‘natural clothing’ for 20 years now, championing eco fibres since our humble beginnings in the mid 1990’s. We produce quality affordable garments, always produced ethically, with sustainability in mind. And today there is more consumer interest than ever in Braintree’s combined sustainability and design approach – however because we sell mainly through wholesalers we didn’t have an on-the-ground retail presence that would raise our public profile and get our name out there. We knew people want to buy in to our ethos, we just had to make sure they could discover it” – Founder John Snare
Braintree Clothing originated in Sydney, Australia, in 1995 and is now based in London. Braintree is at the forefront of high-quality, affordable and ethically produced eco fashion. Their conscientiously designed lines for women and men are made from soft fabrics including organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, creating a contemporary mix of desirable, wearable and affordable classic garments and accessories. The main sales channel is wholesale, with more than 800 accounts in the UK and Europe, and sales in some 25 countries accounting for 80% of sales. Their transactional website generates around 20% of sales.
As sustainable values become more mainstream, particularly but not exclusively among Millennial consumers, the brand has matured to the stage of taking it to the next level, alongside major competition where it will be seen as more of a fashion brand than purely a eco label.
The main initial task was a re-brand – with new logo, strap line, look and feel – that would then run across all elements of the business but the project would need expert handling: it needed delivery by Jan 2015, just six months… With a professional CV that included time at Cath Kidston as marketing director, Emma Fisher looked to be a perfect fit and joined Braintree in July 2014 for two days a week.
“When I arrived, Braintree had one employee looking after the website, all the marketing and all of the social media activity,” Emma explains. “But to move the business forward, they wanted a marketing director to bring on board some senior-level experience and to advise on the projects they wanted to undertake. It’s very much a collaborative style of management, and my previous experience was soon integrated into the pool of expertise within the company.”
Working alongside company founder John Snare and Creative Director Rachel Kelly, Emma coordinated a comprehensive brief, found a design agency, facilitated agency/client meetings and consolidated feedback delivering the project on time and to budget. In addition, Emma is working closely with Braintree’s in-house graphic designer, with input from John Snare and Rachel Kelly on an updated “brand book” capturing the essence of the label, an essential tool for the sales and marketing team and intrinsic to the Braintree offer.
Alongside the rebrand, Emma worked on the development of fresh positioning for the label, a more contemporary and modern feel supported by a new “Thoughtful Clothing” strapline to replace “Feel Good Fashion”. To define what this meant for the brand and how that could be communicated to customers, a new Annual Marketing plan focussed strongly on defining particular messaging, content and initiatives to suit Braintree was created. The work was signed off by the senior team and implemented for Spring 2015.
“We now have a number of bloggers supporting the business, brand ambassadors, and a very comprehensive plan for Autumn/Winter 2015 onwards,” Emma reports.
Emma also identified the need to implement a PR strategy, one of the biggest opportunities for Braintree, which had hitherto limited presence in either business or consumer press. As a starting point she developed relationships with corporate media, winning coverage in influential fashion trade weekly Drapers for the re-brand in Jan 2015, for example. She now has links with key business press figures, leading to coverage of the business and a profile on founder John Snare in a specialist women’s wholesale magazine Boutique in May 2015.
With 80% of sales, wholesale accounts are the priority for Braintree Clothing. Emma identified the opportunities to develop Wholesale Marketing Support and Toolkits with a retail-facing brand story that would help showcase the label in-store, and to communicate more about the company to customers on the ground – “The stores buying from wholesalers are effectively our only retail outlet,” she points out. Emma also developed two key How to… guides to help wholesale customers launch Braintree in their shops, run events and engage customers with the brand.
The re-brand has been well received both internally and externally. As a result Braintree has been able to reposition itself and sign up a significant number of new accounts in the boutique and premium brand space. For A/W15 collections Emma’s consumer PR strategy has identified a target media list, alongside planned press releases and story placement. It is also intended shortly to introduce a VIP discount card for key press and influencers within the fashion/eco industry.
ABOUT EMMA FISHER
Emma has over 18 years’ experience in multi-channel retail marketing, including as Marketing Director for Cath Kidston. She has helped shape the brand and marketing strategy online and offline for a variety of highly successful British consumer brands including Carphone Warehouse, Starbucks Coffee, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets and Marks & Spencer plc. She is particularly passionate about the measurable and analytical techniques of direct marketing and CRM.