Industry London’s talk with retail genius Tom Chapman of Matches

30th April

Well it might have been cold and miserable last week but nothing was going to stop me (or it seems the other hundred plus attendees!) from attending the Industry London’s talk with Tom Chapman.

Frances Card (Matches COO) interviewed Tom and guided the conversation through the history of the company from the first store in Wimbledon to the thirteen shop portfolio of today. Tom recalled some humorous early buying experiences with the spirited Diane Von Furstenburg and an appointment with Dolce & Gabbana. The talk then focused onto the running of the business and how the retailer has succeeded and continues to succeed.

The core strategy for Matches he explained is to always keep a strong brand mix of independent labels alongside the big names. Tom’s other message was that to continue to grow, the retailer had to always think ahead and to always maintain its point of difference. He gave several examples of how the company has done this including launching Freda, opening 23 Welbeck St, global pop-up shops and by working on exclusive lines with designers (Jonathon Saunders capsule collection is their latest yum collaboration)

Image of the Freda range, Matches’ exclusive in-house brand which retails at 20-30% below main-line brands to offer basics to work with the mix and to keep it unique the brand is not wholesaled.

Images of 23 Welbeck St. A multifunctional space that is used for personal shopping appointments and a place to host press events.

The talk concluded with Tom’s future plans for the company- where he focused on talking about Matches key area for growth (it contributes to half of all sales) the online business. Half of all sales are within the U.K and outside of that Matches top three international markets are the United States, Australia and Japan. With this in mind the team need to react and adapt to the changing market shares and to also offer product relevant for the time of the year in each country. The company will be investing further into the site by offering a digitalised magazine and into more customer profiling and personalisation of the on-line service.

Image from the Jonathon Saunders capsule collection.

The evening gave an interesting insight into one of the country’s retail success’. Thanks to the team at Industry London for organising a fab talk!

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