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Interview with Wizz Selvey, Top 100 Retail Influencer

Wizz is the founder of WIZZ&CO, a luxury brand and retail consultancy born from her passion for building innovative brands and developing unique consumer experiences. Can… View Article


Interview with Wizz Selvey, Top 100 Retail Influencer

Wizz is the founder of WIZZ&CO, a luxury brand and retail consultancy born from her passion for building innovative brands and developing unique consumer experiences.

Can you tell us a little about your background?

I spent 12 years working at Selfridges after University where I studied Textiles & Retail Management. I worked across fashion, accessories and jewelry, and then progressed to Head of Beauty Buying where I managed around 450 brands across fragrance, makeup, skincare, and concessions. I then moved to Soho House followed by Fabled by Marie Claire before setting up Wizz&Co around 5 years ago.

And what does Wizz&Co do?

I help brand founders and retailers create deeper connections with their customers and increase market share.  It is a strategy as well as a mentoring and coaching business. I work with brands that want to get into retail, scale their business or build their engagement online. We look at how to build positioning that creates the hype that customers want – getting seen and heard in all the right places.

Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of brands, and I know what it takes to build them into successful businesses. Ultimately, I help customers set up avenues for growth, and teach them how and where to focus for the best results.

What is the secret to creating a top performing brand?

For me, it’s about the people behind the business but also, a combination of things including really understanding trends and knowing your customer.

Firstly, you need to be able to link consumer trends to that gap in the market. By this, I mean 1) Finding the consumer at a point in time when they’re looking for that type of thing and shopping in that way, and 2) it needs to solve a problem.

I often reference a brand that I launched while at Selfridges, Charlotte Tilbury. There were a lot of elements that helped build the ‘Charlotte Tilbury brand’ but top of the list was the intrinsic link to consumer trends.  With the rise of YouTube and social media, people were Googling ‘how to create a smokey eye’ but, more often than not, ending up looking like a panda! Charlotte was an expert in the field, having worked backstage as a makeup artist creating looks for the covers of VOGUE and working with major brands like Tom Ford. While ‘smokey eyes’ were trending, she realised she could teach people how to apply the makeup, offer easy tutorials and show customers which products to use in an interesting, engaging way.

The brand launched at a time when online and social was growing quite quickly, and although it was a digital first brand, Charlotte also launched a global distribution strategy to be able to propel her brand forward fast. She launched exclusively with Selfridges and within 6 months was the number one brand stocked by the retailer.

What about digital fatigue?

It’s getting harder. Consumers are flipping through Instagram and TikTok so quickly that it’s very hard for brands to get cut through. You’ve got to get in front of multiple customers and be seen and heard in lots of different places to be able to create that hype and importantly, build trust, particularly if you’re a new brand.

And there are lots of changes with digital right now which means it’s no longer easy or cheap. You really do need to find the gaps and trends and bring them to market accordingly. For example, you want to be able to niche down and be quite specific with your product offering. Also, you need to clearly focus on what you’re about, who you’re serving and when, so that you can create an emotional connection with your customer. All this will make it easier for the customer to understand whether the product is right for them, and why they would choose that brand over another one.

How has Wizz&Co evolved since you started out?

Just as the market and products evolve, so too has my business. It’s easier than ever to launch a brand and set up an ecommerce site with a platform like Shopify, but then actually, it takes quite a lot to scale a business. How do you find customers? How do you differentiate? Sometimes you need a second pair of eyes.

I’m working with a lot of independent brands, and so have created online education to be able to help serve them.

I also work with larger brands and retailers to help their teams scale and develop everything from skills to strategies. Of course, you can get a big consulting firm in to do this. Typically, they will go away with big projects and come back in to present ideas which can often be hard to implement for the team, and can leave internal teams feeling devalued. I feel passionate about how I can help people, while not completely overwhelming them.

Another change is that I’m hosting more ‘in person’ events around consumer and retail trends which is fantastic. Getting everyone in the room together is very exciting. If you’re interested in this, they’ll pop up on my ‘Events’ page from time to time.

What about big trends for 2023?

With brands and retailers really assessing where they’re spending and looking at how they can do more with less, getting onto trends is really quite a challenge right now. In terms of wider retail trends, a big one of course is creating outstanding physical customer experiences. We’ve seen the numbers of people going back in droves to physical shopping, and what’s being offered has got to be interesting and unique. We’re seeing a lot of brands hosting popups or creating popup collaborations with big retailers. These are creating new experiences in new locations, attracting new audiences and working well.

The smart retailers and brands are looking to offer their customers something different. We’ve seen brands like Nike pull away from their wholesale distribution and do more with their direct-to-consumer experiences, and brands like Gymshark going into physical spaces too.

Any tips?

Nurturing your established customer base is more important than ever. We live in a time where although there has been a huge increase in customer engagement online, digital marketing is changing: consumers are fatigued, profit margins are being squeezed, inflation is eye watering and there are supply chain disruptions. The cost of acquiring a new customer is huge, so retailers and brands must carefully consider the best ways to drive customer loyalty and build strong communities.  Wherever your customers are engaging, whatever their channel of choice, you need to keep connected with your customers – and connect them to each other to be your brand advocates. Is there a way to connect with your customers in between purchases, to stay front of mind? These are all important considerations.


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