Remco de Nijs
21 Jan. 2014
Q&A: Remco de Nijs, brand manager of G-Star Raw
G-Star Raw has always appealed strongly to men, but womenswear now accounts for almost half of its turnover. SI spoke to Remco de Nijs about the shift, and how the brand accommodates its growing number of female fans. Interview by Emma Holmqvist Deacon
What type of product do women tend to buy and will you alter the collection in order to attract even more female consumers?
The demand for jeans is particularly high, and when you sell a lot of denim the complementing collection tends to follow. It’s important for us to stay denim related though; if we were to veer to far into fashion we’d diminish our DNA and confuse the consumer. When customers come into one of our stores they know what to expect. G- Star Raw will always be a denim brand. It’s quite unique for a brand to offer such a wide span of denim styles and washes – and indeed to run a pure denim store for women.
What’s is the most significant difference between men and women’s shopping habits?
Male consumers are much easier as they tend to be very loyal to a brand and they’re also more straight-forward in their shopping habits. Also, wearing denim is more acceptable for men regardless of occasion– they can even go to work in jeans. Female consumers are more unpredictable. They generally buy what they fancy at the time they enter a shop, and these decisions are often driven by the mood they’re in at the time. They take jeans shopping seriously; as the saying goes– the second most important purchase in a woman’s life is a pair of jeans, the first is a house.
What strategic retail measures have you taken to help women in their quest to find the perfect pair of jeans?
We strive to present denim in a focused, clean and understandable way. We’ve distanced ourselves from the traditional denim wall in order to focus on the product and its construction, rather than showing piles of folded stock. Instead, our key denim styles are shown on mannequin legs to give a good idea of the fit and detailing. We started trialing this format in our first women’s store, which opened a year and a half ago in Amsterdam. We found that it worked really well so the format also features in our new London flagship, though it’s been updated to keep stock showing all available washes in drawers underneath each mannequin. As well as working on presenting denim in a more visual and understandable way, we carefully recruit and continuously train a team of denim curators for each store– they know everything about denim and can help women find the perfect fit.
The women's floor in G-Star's new London store
You currently operate four women’s stores– are you planning to open more, and if so in which territories?
There are now four G-Star Raw women’s stores. Further shops are set to open in the near future since the concept is working so well. We’re negotiating with several partners in regions including Germany, Italy, Holland, UK, US and Scandinavia.
Emma Holmqvist Deacon
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