George Davies Interview
We spoke with George Davies, the renowned retail legend and the mastermind behind GWD, ahead of Pure London, where he will be our keynote speaker. With a career spanning over five decades, George Davies has consistently shaped the fashion industry with his innovative approaches and successful ventures.
Having revolutionised the British high-street with brands like NEXT, George at Asda, and PER UNA at M&S, Davies has left an indelible mark on the retail landscape. GWD, his latest venture, made its debut at Pure London, garnering exceptional feedback and setting the stage for its promising future.
1. You launched GWD at our last Pure London. How has the response been so far?
After the success of GWD in the Middle East, there was a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding the response to the brand in the UK. Showcasing the brand for the first time at Pure London in February left me with a great feeling of pride. The amount of positive feedback we received, both during the show and afterwards has been amazing. We had a great vision for our stand at the show, and watching this vision come to life and leave such an impact on those who saw it was fantastic.
2. Does GWD prioritise sustainability and ethical practices within its operations and product offerings?
The importance of sustainability to a modern-day fashion brand is no secret, and this will only increase as time goes on. Having been in this industry for over five decades, I have had the privilege of witnessing first-hand how the fashion world has evolved to maintain sustainable practices.
As the GWD brand has been available in The Middles East for several years we have always focused on how we can improve our sustainability and ensure the durability of our products. It goes without saying that breaking through traditional methods of manufacturing to adhere to a more sustainable approach can be challenging and being 100% sustainable is simply not possible at this current time. This does not mean we are not working our hardest to ensure that GWD is as friendly to the environment as possible.
Recycled materials come into play with a selection of our designs, with the aim of minimising waste and maximising re-usability. As a premium brand, quality will always come first, ensuring that the customer is receiving a garment that feels luxurious. As we expand into the world of e-commerce, we are looking at all our packaging being recycled and sustainable.
3. In an increasingly digital age, how does GWD leverage e-commerce and digital marketing to reach and engage with customers?
We launched our GWD wholesale range at Pure in February, and digital marketing was key to building awareness of the brand pre the show and keeping the interest post the show. We plan to launch our GWD UK website in October and the excitement and anticipation is building. We have a great team working on the digital marketing campaign to reach and engage with our customers.
GWD is a new brand in the UK, we are trialling various digital marketing methods to build our online presence in the lead up to the launch of our website. As time goes on, we will have a clearer idea of what works best for our brand.
4. What role does customer feedback play in shaping GWD’s collections and overall brand direction?
When we develop a range, we always start with the customer. Who is our target customer and what are her expectations and aspirations? We endeavour to learn as much as we can about our customer so that we can keep designing pieces that she will love, and it is for that reason, all feedback is important to us. We design our collections for our customer.
We have always said that the customer is at the heart of everything, and this is a statement I will always stand by. What is a brand without its customer? Not only do we start with the customer, but we also end with the customer when she purchases from us. When our products go on sale, we can very quickly see what our customer likes and does not like, and this can vary across the country. We analyse our sales in tremendous detail to understand the customers’ demands, to improve her experience and potentialize on our sales.
5. Lastly, what is your long-term vision for the brand?
Pure London provides a fantastic space for us to have a presence in the wholesale market, working with current and new wholesale partners, and to build overall awareness of our brand.
Come AW23, the GWD UK e-commerce site will launch. We will be launching both our beautiful ladieswear collections online and our unique kids wear collections. The interest and the hype have been building through social media, and we are so looking forward to the reaction of our customers when we launch.
We are continuing to have tremendous success with both GWD ladieswear and GWD kids wear in the Middle East, where we have a strong presence, which is continuing to expand.
In the long term, I’d say the sky is the limit. I and my team are always looking for opportunities to develop and expand the brand, both here in the UK and overseas.
Register today to attend Fireside Chat: Eric Musgrave talks with George Davies on Sunday, 16 July at 1.30pm.
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