Retailer Q&A with Bang Tidy Clothing: “We have so many opportunities right now”
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I’ve written before about independent online businesses – like fashion accessories store Tesoros – that have managed to carve a great niche for themselves in the ecommerce space, harnessing the power of the web to build something that shoppers clearly love, despite the owners having no previous background in retail.
Of course, retail pedigree can count for a lot, but if you have an appealing product – which you price, merchandise and market effectively – there’s absolutely no reason why a venture into online retail can’t be a success.
That’s certainly the experience of Nick Collinson, the MD of Bang Tidy Clothing, who has gone from having a background in engineering to running a successful ecommerce fashion business.
Bang Tidy Clothing is a store I’ve had the chance to work with through my Fashion & Style Directory site – you can see their Directory Listing here – so I had a chat to Nick, to find out a bit more about what the business does, how it started, and where he sees it heading in the future.
Q. Tell me a little bit about your business – where is it based, what’s its history, and what does it do?
Bang Tidy Clothing Ltd is a Sheffield-based design-and-print clothing company; we first started very small-scale design of vinyl-cut and press-slogan T-shirts.
After doing research into different ways of printing T-shirts I came across a new process called direct to garment (DTG). I read quite a few horror stories about how temperamental it could be with regular machine breakdown and many technical challenges. I saw the potential straight away, selling small volume to consumers at full retail price over the Internet, cutting out the retailer.
Traditionally these type of products are screen printed in the thousands and sold to retailers for very low margins. My thoughts were trade volumes at retail prices, and this has been my goal ever since. Since we started in 2011 we have moved three times, and at every move we have added more state-of-the-art DTG printers; we now run eight printers, two tunnel dryers and a packing machine, and are the largest DTG print-on-demand company in the UK with a daily output of over 2,000 garments, every one individually printed, packed and shipped.
Q. And what’s your own role in the business?
I am the MD; my role is to grow and develop the business. I have built a strong team in the business in a very short space of time and we have very robust systems in place which are used to run the business.
Q. What’s your business model, and why? Is it bricks, clicks or both?
As I said previously, I saw the opportunity to sell our own unique products over the Internet at retail pricing but with trade volumes, and this has given us a very profitable business model.
My history is in traditional businesses which are constrained from growth by cash flow; this model has no such problems, as we get paid in advance of manufacturing the items and we ship out within 24 hours. The only thing holding back the growth is identifying new product opportunities and new platforms to sell on; at this moment we are inundated with both.
Q. Looking forward, what do you see as the greatest opportunities for a business like yours at the moment?
We have so many opportunities right now it’s hard to know where to start!
Two years ago it was the advent of DTG, this year it’s the all-over-print garments, and next year we have two streetwear brands going to retail. We have plans to launch a website with a design-your-own-garment feature as the focal point – design, print and deliver in under 48 hours.
I can’t tell you the really exciting stuff – it’s still under wraps!
Q. And what about the main challenges?
The main challenge is getting the opportunities lined up in the right order, executing them, and making sure we finish off what we start.
Q. Where do you hope your business will be in five years’ time?
Our goal is the be the most profitable print-on-demand garment printer in the UK, leading the way with cutting-edge designs and products.
Q. And any final thoughts or comments that you’d like to add?
Over the last 20 years I have started seven businesses, mainly in the engineering sector; this is my first venture into ecommerce and also clothing, and I have to say it’s the most fun I have had in years.
I don’t consider it as work, as I love it so much.
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.
Remember, my retail consultancy business, CannyInsights.com, also works with retailers nationwide to help them improve their stores, online marketing and market knowledge. For more information, visit www.cannyinsights.com or @CannyInsights on Twitter.