468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Monday, March 13, 2017

Is Kit and Ace What The Modern Consumer Is Looking For?



Over the past couple of years one of the largest growing trends in clothing retail is athletic apparel. Largely driven by the lifestyle conscious consumer and then pushed further by the likes of brands such as Nike and Lululemon,  stretch comfort clothing has now become a staple in most people’s wardrobes. But does comfort stop there?
           
In February 2014 Kit and Ace was created by J.J. and Shannon Wilson as the next step for athletic clothing; technical luxury. Using old ideas from their Lululemon days, the basis of their products is in a fabric called Qemir. Qemir is a washer and drier safe cashmere blend that allows for the athletic apparel comfort with a more sophisticated look. Their product line is modern looking fashion in fairly muted tones that coincides with the company’s idea that comfort can be worn from your bike ride to work all the way into the board room. The look of the clothing truly is an upscale version of Lululemon apparel, focusing less on the athletic and more on comfort and style.

The modern look doesn’t stop at just their clothing, it can also be found in the layout of their stores. Using a minimalist approach to their store layout, the insides appear almost as a place to hang out rather than a luxury-clothing store. There is plenty of light and the flow is simple and directed. The floor space is open with the inventory found on the walls.  In doing so they are able to turn their space into areas where the community can meet through social events that the store designs. They also have positioned themselves in optimal retail locations for their target market, with their flagship store in the Gastown district of Vancouver and their Edmonton location is situated in a prime location at West Edmonton Mall. 

While there is no blatant marketing campaign for Kit and Ace, the manner in which they get their word is arguably more in line with the modern consumer. By recognizing that their product may not be what everyone is looking for, instead of blasting it to the public in traditional streams such as TV ads, they utilize a more directed approach. Targeted internet ads are prominent in ushering you towards their e-commerce section, but arguably more important are their ambassadors. These are individuals that the company sees as representative of their brand image and leaders in their communities.  They use them to promote their brand via word of mouth and exposure. 

            While the idea and products truly are impressive both in quality, style, and feel the premium price of their products definitely puts them into a fairly niche market. With some of their simple products such as a basic long sleeve shirt running you into the realm of north of a hundred dollars it puts a much stronger emphasis on the luxury aspect and it may be harder for the average consumer to justify making a purchase at Kit and Ace.


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