“Women are looking for stylish, flattering classic styles online”: Retailer Q&A with Lucza
Yesterday’s blog about Jack Wills opening a Newcastle store alongside TK Maxx and Armani Exchange demonstrated that many established fashion names are continuing to find opportunities on the high street alongside developing their online operations.
However, the success of Asos – with sales of £495m in the last financial year – has shown that fashion can work just fine as a pureplay operation too, with scope to build distinctive stores that target specific market segments and build a following through social media and positive word of mouth.
Here in the North East, for example, I recently came across Newcastle-based Pink Boutique at a networking event, an online “celebrity-inspired fashion” store for “fashion-conscious 16-30 year olds” that has more than 46,000 Likes on Facebook and is set to achieve £1m turnover in its first year – and there are many others with similar stories of growth and success.
Targeting more mature women in the 35+, urban, AB demographic, one of those online fashion successes is two-year-old premium brand Lucza, which has seen 282% year-on-year monthly sales growth and a 154% rise in orders. Crucially, it’s customer loyalty that’s driving a big chunk of that growth, with the number of repeat customers increasing fourfold.
To find out more, I spoke to the company’s commercial director, Jeremy Buckler, about the inspiration for launching Lucza, its achievements to date, and its aspirations for the future.
Q. Tell me a little bit about your business – where is it based, what’s its history, and what does it do?
American-born Karen Scofield launched Lucza in April 2011 after searching unsuccessfully for beautifully made, effortlessly chic pieces that she could “throw on without a second thought and be good to go.”
Lucza’s mission is to help simplify its customers’ busy lives by providing high-quality, chic and versatile wardrobe essentials through an easy-to-use website that is supported by a first-class customer service experience. Lucza epitomises contemporary elegance, with its simple classic silhouettes, luxurious high-quality fabrics and refined colour palettes.
The collection has grown over the past six months to include chic separates, dresses, knitwear and jackets as well as the luxury loungewear essentials on which the brand was initially founded, 90% of which is made in England. Worn by style influencers Samantha Cameron, Mariella Frostrup and Rosamund Pike, we believe that Lucza provides the perfect wardrobe solution.
Our offices are based in Notting Hill, London.
Q. And what’s your own role in the business?
I am the commercial director at Lucza and responsible for all finance, sales, production and operations of the business.
Q. What’s your business model, and why? Is it bricks, clicks or both?
The business model is to remain as an online offering that is complemented by a telephone sales channel, something our customers have shown that they want from our customer survey. So, in addition to the website, we send out seasonal catalogues to our customers who can either order by calling us, where we can offer styling advice, or by going online.
Q. Looking forward, what do you see as the greatest opportunities for a business like yours at the moment?
There are a number of strong market trends combining to increase the number of our target customers in the UK, such as the continuing shift of shoppers from the high street to online across all ages, women looking for stylish, flattering classic styles rather than fashionable trend-led clothing, and women working longer.
Q. And what about the main challenges?
As with most clothing brands, it is reaching and acquiring customers as there are many brands now coming online from either an established retail position or a totally new offering.
Online marketing activity is therefore very intense as all these companies compete to get the attention of potential customers. So, there is a clear need to ensure that you are delivering a product the customer wants, but that also exceeds their expectations, and can do it quickly with excellent service so that they will return to you and become a loyal customer.
Q. Where do you hope your business will be in five years’ time?
We would expect to be the go-to brand for our target demographic within the UK, have significantly grown our product offering, and also to have taken the brand international.
Retailer Q&A is a format where Soult’s Retail View talks to retailers – large or small, and whether bricks, clicks or multichannel – about their current innovations, aspirations and challenges. As always with Soult’s Retail View, the features are not paid for – it’s all about providing interesting stories and content for the blog’s readers. If you run a retail business and are interested in taking part in the feature, please drop me an email or a tweet.