Skinnydip London accessories started life as a former Dragons Den contender, but thanks to their fresh and novel design team, the accessories are selling like hotcakes.
The world of accessories has never been more in demand. Accessories appeal because of their price point, whether it be a phone case or a lipstick emoji sticker, that little purchase upgrades your bag or phone without the need to make a big investment purchase.
Also, as consumers we literally have so much stuff, that now we’re looking for innovative ways to differentiate our stuff from other peoples. When mobile phones first came out, we used ringtones to differentiate us from our friends, now we use patterned iPhone cases and increasingly they come from Skinnydip.
The online boutique, with bricks and mortar stores in London (the Carnaby street branch will turn one next month) has perfectly managed to create accessories that deliver the personalisation that we crave. The designs range from Simpsons themed iPhone cases to glitter laptop cases, and alphabetised iPhone stickers, yet nothing will set you back more than around £45- perfect for their target audience.
We caught up with Skinnydip Design manager Danielle Germany who has been with the company right from the beginning in 2011 (the founders employed her straight from Graduate Fashion Week) to find out what makes the designs so popular and how the brand has carved its niche in the marketplace.
What was it like being part of the start-up team?
It was great, we literally raised the company from ground up. Founders Lewis Blitz and James and Richard Gold spotted me at Graduate Fashion Week, and they wanted someone well rounded, who could do everything from product designing to packaging, and even a little account management, I think they liked that I was not scared off by the responsibility.
How has the design aesthetic changed over the years?
Aesthetically we’ve grown and developed it a lot, as we got more experience. That said, we’ve always been consistent with our core idea, which is that feeling of having a ‘fun point of difference’. Originally that idea of fun was designing products with bling, then we focused on novelty and now we offer personalisation and fun pop art; running through all of those products is our core focus, which is having real creative design without limitation.
You’ve been incredibly successful with your key demographic of a 16-24 year old consumer, how have you built that relationship?
Open conversation. We are really committed to listening to want the customer wants, that is key for us and from a design perspective it encourages us to be more creative. The consumer has made us what we are, so we’re committed to searching for the next big thing and trend for her, we keep our finger on the pulse so that we’re delivering a product that she wants and one she might not even know she wants yet.
What’s the day-to-day design process like?
I like to think we take risks, novelty was a big thing for us, we saw it on the catwalk and we took it to the high street. I think what makes us unique is that we identify the trend and translate it to something accessible before our competitors.
It can be a hard balance to make novelty products that look classy and stay in demand, from a design perspective how do you achieve that?
While the brand is targeted at a specific girl, we like the product to be accessible for all. That said the products should be fun, the print might be a little bold but the bag will be structured in a classic shape, so you get the best of both worlds. It’s a bit AbFab!
Also I personally have always had fun with fashion. I like to show that you don’t need thousands in the bank to be creative, explore and play, and express individuality.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Lots of travel, we schedule in buying trips around the world, but also we get a huge amount of inspiration from social media platforms like Tumblr and Instagram. Also Pinterest is a great platform, we use it to look at what our target audience likes, not just in reference to accessories, but what homeware and holidays she might like, that helps us to design a product that she could carry from the beach in Ibiza or to work everyday that season.
What’s next for the brand?
We are currently developing our first range of sunglasses to launch early next year. The collection is being designed with the Skinnydip girl in mind but with a key point of difference in the market. We always like to add that Skinnydip edge to our products and are excited to show them off. We’re not stopping at fashion accessories, we’re planning world domination…
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