Ed Hardy: A Brand Fulfilling its Potential in a Post-Brexit World
The aftermath of Brexit has presented both unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities across the ever-evolving landscape of global retail. Brands operating in and out of the UK have found themselves at a crossroads, needing to reassess their fulfilment and logistics strategies to thrive in this new environment.
Here, Sunil Nand, Head of Development (Fashion) at fulfilmentcrowd, explains how Ed Hardy, an iconic fashion brand inspired by the renowned tattoo artist, serves as a prime example of how agile navigation of these changes can lead to remarkable success.
An iconic brand renewed
Despite lying dormant for a number of years, Ed Hardy is a brand that has a strong enduring legacy and relevance with many consumers. Once a powerhouse in the fashion industry with gross sales at its peak of US$700 million, the new owners of the brand wanted to re-establish Ed Hardy across the EU and the UK. Key to achieving this was capitalising on the significant latent awareness and heritage associated with the retailer, while also attracting a new, younger audience.
Ed Hardy planned to achieve its ambitious global growth goals through initiatives such as collaborations with other culturally relevant brands, substantial product diversification and building a presence at key fashion weeks. With a target demographic including young streetwear enthusiasts (18-25 years) as well consumers aged 25-35 that were more likely to be affiliated with the brand in its previous peak, it needed a versatile, multichannel approach to fulfilment and logistics.
The challenge, of course, was that Ed Hardy faced the already substantial task of re-establishing its market presence in a post-Brexit era. Like many other retailers, it was confronted with a range of post-Brexit complexities servicing EU customers from UK-based centres.
This was exacerbated by the fact that territories like Germany and the Netherlands had been identified as key growth markets. The required split between the UK and EU markets therefore meant re-evaluating logistics to avoid increased customs charges, shipping delays, and regulatory hurdles that could impede Ed Hardy’s reach to vital customer bases across mainland Europe.
The role of fulfilment and logistics
Key to Ed Hardy’s success in overcoming post-Brexit challenges was its strategic partnership with fulfilmentcrowd, an international fulfilment services and tech provider that is highly experienced in supporting fast-growing retail brands and handling logistics across key global markets.
The collaboration proved pivotal for several reasons:
- Localised distribution: By establishing a warehouse in Bocholt, Germany, as well as a UK base in Otters Brook, South Wales, Ed Hardy could service its EU customer base more effectively. This move not only mitigated the impact of Brexit-related trade barriers but also allowed for faster shipping times and reduced costs – crucial factors in maintaining customer satisfaction and competitiveness.
- Diversified product access: With fulfilmentcrowd’s support, Ed Hardy could diversify its product offerings. The localised distribution centres enabled the brand to offer a wider range of products tailored to regional tastes and preferences, which is essential in fashion retail. This was particularly important as Ed Hardy introduced different product ranges targeting different segments of its audience.
- Scalability and flexibility: The partnership provided Ed Hardy with the scalability needed to adapt to changing market demands and consumer trends rapidly. This flexibility proved vital in the fast-paced fashion industry, where trends and consumer preferences shift abruptly.
- Data-driven insights: fulfilmentcrowd’s advanced logistics and data analytics tools offered Ed Hardy valuable insights into customer behaviour and market trends. This data-driven approach enabled more informed decision-making regarding inventory management, product development, and marketing strategies.
- The Importance of agility in the post-Brexit era
Ed Hardy is now one of the fastest-growing companies in the UK, setting its sights on getting back to previous levels of revenue.
Ed Hardy’s success story underscores the importance of agile and adaptable fulfilment strategies in the post-Brexit retail landscape. Brands that quickly realigned their logistics and distribution networks have been able to maintain continuity, minimise disruptions, and even capitalise on new opportunities arising from the changing market dynamics.
The story of Ed Hardy’s resurgence also highlights the significance of partnerships in tackling complex international trade environments. By collaborating with fulfilmentcrowd, Ed Hardy not only overcame logistical hurdles but also gained a strategic ally in its quest for global expansion.
The post-Brexit era has undeniably reshaped the landscape of international trade and retail. By embracing change and leveraging strategic partnerships in fulfilment and logistics, brands like Ed Hardy are not only weathering the storm, but are emerging stronger.
“fulfilmentcrowd has helped us scale Ed Hardy successfully across the UK and EU. In 2023, our Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) strategy has seen sales increase +269% year-on-year and we aim to maintain this momentum in 2024.
Our success, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, is noteworthy, with European sales now constituting 20% of our total.
fulfilmentcrowd’s expertise in international fulfillment services has been crucial in navigating post-Brexit challenges. As we expand, fulfilmentcrowd remains a reliable partner, offering essential third-party logistics support and contributes to our sustained success in a post-Brexit era.
Our partnership with fulfilmentcrowd is integral to our efficient and continued growth in the competitive retail landscape.” Michael Boyle, Head of Ecommerce.