Creating the dress agency of Cheshire
In 2018, High Street fashion retailing was facing the perfect storm; rail after rail of unsold designer labels, increasing online migration, universally ineffective in-store engagement and a growing need for throwaway fashion. But for the business owners at Dress, this market context also presented the perfect opportunity; a chance to develop a new retail concept which could capitalise on both the upward trend for designer recycling and the emerging potential for a new kind of dress agency experience. The challenge for House was to use every ounce of our retail expertise to create a category-defining new brand completely from scratch.
Right from the start, House identified a key market truth; that those who shop pre-owned high-end brands may want to save money, but they also have exceedingly high standards. From Knightsbridge to Manchester, dress agencies are all too often a glorified version of a charity shop, with crammed rails, sterile environments and aloof or non-existent customer service. Against this backdrop, we believed that Dress could differentiate itself by bringing a unique, luxury retail brand experience to the High Street, reinforced by a modern and relevant philanthropic message.
Our involvement began with the location; the upmarket village of Prestbury was selected as fertile Dress territory, with its proliferation of aspirational buyers and sellers. Next, we set the interior design template, creating a boutique atmosphere with designer wallpaper, luxurious changing rooms and distinctive fragrances creating an all-round sensory experience. From branded bags and hangers to the way stock is perfectly showcased and regularly rotated, every detail has been carefully considered, beautifully realised and perfectly marketed online, offline and across social media.
Our retail vision has been well and truly embraced by Cheshire’s fashion community, exceeding sales projections and creating a new template for the way dress agencies should be. But what people find equally attractive about Dress is its support for East Cheshire Hospice and Caudwell Children, both selected by House. Buyers are now enjoying attractive savings on pre-loved labels, while sellers are seeing a healthy return on their fashion investment, getting something back whilst giving something back. It’s the kind of thinking that makes the fashion world go round.