INTERVIEW: Matches Founder Tom Chapman at The Industry London
I attended The Industry London’s networking event last week at the Swarovski Crystallized store, where Matches founder Tom Chapman was interviewed on stage by brand consultant Frances Card.
Chapman set up luxury fashion retailer Matches over 25 years ago and he was the first retailer to work with brands including Versace, Prada and Bottega Veneta in the UK.
Tom spoke of how he engages with customers, what he does to create a point of difference as a retailer and how he keeps customers interested online…
“You need to have a point of difference as a retailer. You need to find an identity that’s your own. For us, it’s about having a collection that noone else has, that’s why we launched Freda [Matches own label brand]. Product is the most important thing, along with customer engagement and loyalty. The edit/choice and selection of the products is absolutely key.
How Do You Engage With Customers?
Events are about engagement and we also engage in new marketing and pop-up shops. We take new product and designers and show them to customers, we give them a vision of the business. When we bring a new brand into our business, it’s important we follow through the journey with them.
How Do You Support British Brands?
As a British retailer, you have a responsibility to support British brands. We are bringing in lots of new British brands, this is a direction we’re taking.
How Are You Embracing New Media?
Social Media is very important, we aren’t elitist about what we deliver in our store or online. Editorial is also a massive thing for us and the involvement for the consumer on the digital side.
How Have You Created A Successful Online Business?
Colour is a key performer online, you need product that is visually exciting to the consumer. For example, a Jonathan Saunders print that is exclusive to Matches. Also, don’t buy safely because the market’s difficult, find the special pieces to engage the customer. It is about editing the selection and the way you display the product that engages the customer online. It is creating a point of difference. It is also about how you manage returns and how you communicate sizing.
How Do You Stay Top Of The Game?
You have to bring something new to the market to remain interesting to your customers. We are introducing 35 new brands for AW12. Our decision to bring on a brand or leave a brand is not taken lightly and we always work with a new brand to build up their presence.”