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The best foot forward

The best foot forward
Chaire Cormack and Joanne Beckerman, International Dune London Group PR head and assistant PR manager

Last week, Dune London's Claire Cormack and Joanne Beckerman were in Dubai for the exclusive launch of the Autumn/Winter'19 collection in the UAE. The duo speak about how a great partnership with Apparel Group and a loyal client base in the region have been a crucial factor in the company's success today

Published: Wed 18 Sep 2019, 11:13 AM

Last updated: Wed 18 Sep 2019, 1:22 PM

 As a mid-luxury UK brand, Dune London has still managed to capture the regional recall because of the omnichannel strategy, which gives the customers the confidence to buy products in-store or from the comforts of their homes.
In a span of few years, Dune London has grown to 52 stores in the region, and is counting. With multiple retailers looking to shut shop or decrease their spending, Dune London, on the contrary, is on an expansion spree all because of the strong partnership in the region with Apparel Group.
With the advent of e-commerce, Apparel Group and Dune London have revamped their marketing tools. Soon, the brand will be launching a Middle East-specific website in few months, aiming to drive more sales in the region.
Right now, we are listed on www.6thstreet.com and are regularly approached by other e-commerce players to sell Dune London products. However, we are being very diligent about getting the right channel to take up our brand.
Partner perfect
Our partner must share our vision. Which is what makes Apparel Group the perfect partner in the region. Dune London has been working with the Apparel Group in the region for the last 15 years. Being mid-luxury, the brand's clients need the special attention when it comes to the right styling and the right audience. This is what Apparel Group helps us achieve.
Right now, Saudi Arabia is our number one market in the Middle East. With 15 stores already in place in the kingdom, we want to double that number in the coming years. With the right push, we will continue to expand in markets including Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and the UAE.
The channels of communication are completely open. More than a relationship, it's a partnership and driven by shared vision and goals. Apparel Group and Dune UK are both very ambitious partners and very passionate about what we do We have a very close working relationship as we just mentioned - we are connected to our customers on the ground.
Building brand engagement
Our target audience is slowly shifting towards the youth who are constantly on their mobile phones. This means more social media engagement. As mentioned previously, with our omnichannel strategy, our collections are presented using press channels - prints and audiovisual, using social media and Dune London website - this is how we're communicating our brand, and this is an area that we're constantly looking at, constantly looking to grow, to be clever, interactive, immersive.
Also, we are all about personalisation - the AW'19 collection has 63 per cent of its products catered for the Middle East market. Our buying and design team from the UK are often in the region to gather as much information about the trends and demands from our clients here.We are the experts in bringing to the table exactly the taste our customers are looking for.
New AW'19 collection - bling and wild
Being dressy is in our DNA; embellishment, intricately designed styles, that is our core. What we're recognising now is women are opting more for sneakers because they want to be comfortable - at work or during week-ends.
So, we understood that demand and our new collection reflects more casual, easy-to-wear designs. In Saudi Arabia, we've seen an in-crease in sales of more casual styles - more trainers, more flat sandals, so we're exploring that area more and sending a larger collection to the regions where we know that's what people want at the moment.So, it's meeting demand constantly.
But it's also finding something unique that other brands haven't got in the business, like embellished boots. The Chelsea boots, for instance, are adorned with a choice of three different bracelets - pearls, diamante, one has big jewels. Work, fun or party - it's your call.
Dune London is also big in small accessories. The brand was the first in the world to the all-popular shoe clips.Accessories is a huge growth area making up for 30 per cent of the total brand share. But the focus this season is on reptile prints. With refusing to go out of fashion because they are daring and elegant, reptile prints are just the staple for every wardrobe.
So introducing bronze snake and iridescent sequins was the next step. Reptile prints are the new neutral. Even the croc-skin texture, or as we call it choc-croc, are perfect for with your autumn wear found in burgundy, chocolate and bronze. The collections of animal prints and AW are in stores now.
Affordable luxury
In every category of product, Dune has an entry, mid, and exit level of prices, to reach out to as many customers as possible. We are not the most expensive, we are also the least as well. We think our brand statement sums it all - we provide affordable luxury to our customers.
Retail still in vogue
We believe retail is not dead yet, boring retail is. People don't want to go to retail stores that are boring with the same collection. All the stores by our partner Apparel Group are designed in such a way that you would be tempted to walk in because our campaign is great, our videos that play in the store are stunning, our window collections are so good, our store layout features the reverse catwalk which is a unique design.
Great engagement by our store staff is leading to very good sales performance in stores. This is the reason we are expanding and taking our store count-up in all the regions. If the traffic [was less], or if no one was going to the store, then we wouldn't be investing. As long as any retail brand is being innovative like we are, they can go out and reap the benefits. 

The AW’19 Collection was showcased at the Rennaissance Hotel in Dubai last week. The 27-year-old company is today one of the most influential global players in fashion footwear and accessories.
The AW’19 Collection was showcased at the Rennaissance Hotel in Dubai last week. The 27-year-old company is today one of the most influential global players in fashion footwear and accessories.

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