Organic Garment Market in the United Kingdom

Executive Summary

Oriental Organic Garments is the name of the proposed retail unit that will deal in T-Shirts for men and women made out of 100% organically grown cotton. The company has an excellent supplier from Hong Kong and is confident that the products can be competitively marketed in a very growing market. The marketing report of which this summary is a part will give the situational analysis, a market summary, and SWOT analysis. The next step will be to analyze competitors and competing brands. It is seen that there is a significant level of competition in both cases. The product range of the company will also be spelled out. The key success factors like customer satisfaction, differentiation, etc will also be analyzed. The critical issues that exist like lack of presence, uncontrolled growth, etc will be from the next section.

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It has been mentioned earlier in the market summary that the sale of organic garments (especially those made from organic cotton) has been growing at the rate of 50% from last year. This is true to a positive trend that will be good for the growth of Oriental Organic Garments. But this trend will also bring about high levels of competition. An analysis of the market has shown that there is a significant presence of organic cotton retailers in London. They include stand-alone shops, retail chains, supermarkets, fashion design houses, and individuals, etc. It also appears that the supermarkets concentrate on low prices and high volume whereas other stores have a low, medium as well as high priced products.

Analysis of competitors and competing brands

The products that are to be launched are organic in nature. The company also plans to do it ethically. It could try and obtain Fairtrade certification. Since ethics and environmental issues are involved it is a possibility that both these factors will influence a customer’s buying decision. Hence our main competitors/brands will be discussed in relation to the above two issues. The Tine Out website has given some prominent stores and brands that market organic cotton clothes in an ethical manner. (Ethical shopping in London, Rebecca Taylor, Shopping, Time Out London):

  • By Nature: This Company is an online retailer and has a wide range of organic cotton dresses for both men and women. They include T-shirts (approximately £20), shirts (approximately £48), cotton dresses for women ranging from (£30 to £42), and jeans (approximately £85).
  • Katherine Hamnett: This well-known designer who is a champion of fairtrade has her own collection of designer organic cotton collections. Their main products are T-shirts and hoodies. There are plain ones as well those with slogans. The prices are quite high and range between 30 to 60 pounds. Their ‘clean up or die’ campaign includes the promotion of organic farming for cotton and for a fair price for the farmers. The main reason according to them is that “The clothing, shoe and textile industry is one of the largest in the world. It is responsible for enormous pollution and environmental destruction”. (Introduction, Clean up or die).
  • Edun: This is a brand based in the United States and is available in select stores like Matches and Harvey Nichols in London. The idea behind this project is to promote profits by bringing down unemployment in the developing world. This is more of designer wear and dresses are in the upper price range costing approximately ₤120).
  • Indigo: This concern is not a direct retailer. But this company was included because Oriental Organic Garments could follow their strategy in the future. They design and produce customized cotton clothing for companies, campaign groups, schools, and other organizations that use them as promotional products. (What, About Indigo Clothing, Indigo Clothing – Quality Customised clothing).
  • Tesco: This UK-based retail multinational store is actively planning the introduction of organic cotton clothing and garments. It plans to introduce this under the range called Cherokee. “Tesco’s organic range will initially comprise T-shirts, school-wear, and lingerie”. (In the UK Tesco is to launch its first fairtrade clothing offer next year, TESCO launches organic/fair trade clothing ranges. Fast 2007). The company also plans to sell organic cotton clothes designed by well-known fashion designer Katherine Hamnett and plans to outsource this from Sri Lanka. The main items now available apart from the above are shirts priced between 10 and 15 pounds each.

The above analysis was done to arrive at the price range of different products. It can be seen that Edun and Katherine Hamnett are in the high price range. Our direct competitors will be By Nature and companies like Tesco. If Oriental Organic Garments moves into the customized segment, companies like Indigo will also compete with us.

Product Offerings

Oriental Organic Garments have a reasonably wide range of products to choose from in the beginning. The products will be available to adults and children of both sexes. They include casual wear, formal wear, sports and swimwear, garments for winter, and party wear. Casual wear can include shirts, tops, and T-Shirts, Formal wear will also include full sleeve shirts and formal tops for women. Sportswear will again include shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, etc. swimwear will include one-piece and two-piece bikinis for women and swimming trunks for men. Winter garments will be made out of thicker cotton threads for better insulation. Partywear will again include appropriately colored and designed shirts for men and shirts and tops for women.

Keys to success

There are several factors involved that will depend on how a business performs in the marketplace. This is true irrespective of the type of product being offered. Some of the relevant ones are discussed below.

Customer satisfaction

This is still the most important factor in the success of a product or service. “Increasing competition (whether for-profit or non-profit) is forcing businesses to pay much more attention to satisfying customers.” (Customer satisfaction, Free Management Library). Oriental Organic Garments will have to plan its processes and strategies right at the beginning with this factor in mind. Apart from the quality, the price offered should also be in balance with the customer’s need for value for money. A system of listening to and answering customer complaints will have to be incorporated. Staff will also have to be trained to handle angry customers. Another step would be to conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys among all those who buy products from us. All data should be analyzed and appropriate changes should be made wherever possible.

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Product differentiation

With the possibility of high competition, price alone may not help to sell the product. A way out is to go in for product differentiation. “Within firms, product differentiation is the way multi-product firms build their own supplied products’ range.” (Significance, Valentino Piana, Product differentiation, Economics Web Institute, 2003). Some of the differentiating strategies that can be used by Oriental Organic Graphics are given here. One way is to allow customers to have customized products. Customization can include the color, the design, the graphics used, etc. If possible, customers can be given a chance to design products by himself, choosing the pictures of his family or someone or something he likes. Another strategy is to incorporate more designs, but in smaller quantities so that there will not be too many similar items. These are just a few examples and a proper strategy will need to be in place for continuous differentiation if necessary.

Vision and mission

It is essential to establish a proper vision for the company along with a mission statement. The vision could be to be an established player in the market within the next five years. The mission statement could be to be the most loved and appreciated organic cotton retailer in the UK.

Business Strategy

It is essential to have proper financial planning and review periodically. Planning has first to begin at the yearly level and then be categorized into monthly and daily planning. Competitors and other competing brands will also have to be studied regularly. Goals and targets have to be developed and steps are taken to see that they are achieved. A proper system of communication within and outside of the company is also very essential.

Critical issues

One important factor to be considered is that Oriental Organic Garments is dealing with a product that is not familiar to the consumer in the UK. Till now, its products (manufactured by Thai-Lay Fashion Company) were only appreciated by wholesalers in Europe who sold the products under their own brand names. The most important issue is to establish a name in the market through advertisements, promotions, and also by providing quality products at competitive prices. The next issue would be to see that the company achieves a controlled growth and also to keep a high level of control on expense and also the purchase price of products. Finally, it has to be seen that customer satisfaction is maximized and also a system for handling customer complaints if any.

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