At sifr, we enjoy the communication and transparency within our community of customers (b2b and b2c). Hearing how they approach their respective businesses help us to create and perfect products that they will eventually come to appreciate retailing. We'd like to make sure they are just as well taken care of by us as are the eventual customers.
One particular case is the story of the sifr Essentials Beanstalk fit T-shirt and how it came about.
It all started when the folks from Footage in Sydney came back to Singapore for a short visit. Upon learning that we make products that could suit the Sydney market, we arranged to meet each other. Phil and Karin are a wife and husband team that started Footage many years ago. While initially focusing on a larger offering of footwear, they eventually transitioned into a more open product mix. Contrary to popular belief, this Wife & Husband duo make it work on the business front because of their shared love of beautiful product, food, culture and the retail game.
Shortly after our initial meeting, they put in a modest sized order for the range of sifr Essentials T-shirts in several colors. As it gained momentum, they received useful feedback that would eventually pave the way for a newer cut that better accommodated for the broad-shouldered, slim-waisted Aussie gents. Listening to customers, studying fits and constant discussion pushed both companies to want to cater to the end user as best as possible. It was them, after all, who would be fitting this product into their lives.
So there! You can thank the folks at Footage for their suggestions in the creation of this product. Aptly named the "Beanstalk" (thanks to Phil), this style is slimmer at the waist by 1 inch and extended in length by 3 inches (for some subtle stacking). We both hope you are pleased with our work.
Note: The best people to ask and engage in discussion about product are the resellers and the eventual customers themselves. To really succeed, as brands, we need to constantly be on our toes and ready to adapt to certain situations. It's a new way of doing things and we're all for it!
Without further ado, let's chat with the folks at Footage:
- On their entrepreneurial spirit and starting...
So this was how it all started - We love our vintage gear, anything from original sneakers, vintage denim and old collegiate jerseys and sweats and furniture. We'd spend our weekends trawling the markets or op shops for stuff and guys in uni used to ask us where we got our gear especially sneakers. We started getting stuff in for them from Asia, Europe and the States and they'd introduce their friends. As the clientele grew and customers were wanting us to set up a space, we started toying with the idea. It made sense since we both had business majors and couldn't see ourselves working corporate. We found the spot on Burton Street and have been there since.
- On their product mix...
Around 2006/2007 we started noticing that our sneaker clients were either growing up or have grown out of wearing sneakers and were also starting to purchase sneakers online. At that point, we felt it was time to change things up and introduce items outside of footwear. That factor coupled with the constant requests from regulars wanting us to provide head to toe fashion solutions, made us take that leap of faith.
- On working with local Australian initiatives...
We want to be a local providore so its only right that we support local initiatives. We enjoy working with brands that are like minded and AM Eyewear is one of those local brands for us that we enjoy working with. Like sifr they're about listening to feedback from their retailers and tailoring product to our needs. Tailfeather is another Australian brand we enjoy working with. They use locally sourced leather, their product is hand crafted and beautifully finished.
- What makes a brand right for your store? Is price a key component in your decision? Or is it more about aesthetics?
It comes down to gut feel for us. We're on the floor most days so talking to customers, getting feedback from them is important. From there we have an idea of what we need and when we check a brand out, we know then and there if its right for us.
- On discovering sifr + sifr Essentials
We were in Singapore about 2 years ago on a production trip and we were hanging out with the boys at Limited Edition. They saw what we were doing with our in-house line and told us to check out sifr as they thought it would sit nicely with our stuff. We'd been to KIN a few times and had chatted to Suraj about sifr and how we could expose the brand to a ever curious Sydney audience.
- On the Beanstalk Fit
We'd been stocking the Essentials lines for over a year and the boys had tweaked the cut slightly to accomodate our Australian sizing. While most guys were happy with the fit, we were getting tall, lanky guys coming in needing a slimmer, longer fit and telling us they couldn't find anything that would fit them. Seeing that the sifr boys were always open to suggestions and feedback, Karin thought why not ask the sifr team if they were open to offering a new cut for a customer that wanted a longer tee. Shortly after an initial sampling phase, the 'Beanstalk' project was born.
- On channeling feedback from customer to brands...
As a retailer, its important to listen to customers and their needs. It's equally important to pass on that feedback to brands. Not all brands have retail spaces to gather that feedback so it is crucial to have retailers pass on valuable information. If the brands are able and willing to adjust to what the customers need, customers are more inclined to purchase their product, and in the process, retailers will in turn order more and brands do well as a result. Its a win win situation for everyone.
- Do you think your customers will notice that you listened to their feedback and created the Beanstalk fit?
It has been proven already. We've identified the customers that were after a longer tee fit and they've all bought the tees and have referred others to us as a result of their appreciation for our attention to their initial feedback and some were even surprised that we have been pro-active in communicating those comments to sifr and that the brand had in fact, heard their call and accommodated those needs.
- Do you feel the Beanstalk fit Tees will engage a whole new customer base?
I think anything is possible. Anything good has an equal opportunity of becoming a beast. One needs to look no further than the Nespresso example and how this brilliant product has created a new client base for Nestle.
- And finally, On Footage's in house line and expansion...We have introduced a few new shirts to our growing line. As with most brands, there is a constant need to keep the interest level fresh and as such we will be introducing a few more products into the line.