In 2020, P.E Nation switched up its online product launch schedule to manage its increased inventory due to cancelled orders and production delays.
The business went from monthly drops to weekly drops of product online, which then led to a new product tiering strategy, as co-founder Pip Edwards discusses below.
As it was for the rest of the fashion industry, COVID was a shock to the system.
We had production pull back, we had retailers cancel their orders, making it really hard to budget and project.
So that was a really big problem and it escalated through the business quickly.
We then had all this stock being returned, so our inventory went up. We had inventory go up and then production stagger, so it was a really hard time. You had no idea what you were doing day-to-day.
So that ended up creating a really unique situation for us where we started to trickle and drip feed our inventory onto our online, basically as it came. That actually created a crazy weekly spike.
What happened was we then started getting more communication with China and it started to get a little bit more routine with delivery and we changed our online strategy to just drop weekly and it created this sense of urgency.
I think you find online; there's just so many options. I think people get quite fickle and I think that newness is really exciting for the platform. That weekly newness just kept our customers interested.
Then we realised, 'actually we don't have a website that can actually hold this kind of traffic.'
'We don't have the team the digital team to support this pivot to digital,' so we've had to really boost that whole area.
We've now got an internal tech team that works on our site, we've got a whole new platform - we really invested a lot of money into the digital side of the business.
But what we have done is that we've been working on tiering our product.
It's important as the business matures to control saturation and direct where certain product goes so it keeps the energy and the drive of the business going forward.
So we stuck to our weekly drops but it's the tiering of the product that changes.
That's a really interesting strategy and it's allowed us to develop a whole new line which we launched in January and it's called Edit.
Basically it's the pure form of Claire and I and it's a true essence of the brand and how we saw it in its entirety.
When you're an online business, a lot of your partners in wholesale really control how your brand is perceived in bricks-and-mortar.
A lot of our wholesalers pictured us as a pure active brand or we'd be in boutiques splicing with fashion, so we're a fashion brand.
But the true message kind of got a bit confusing, so now we've created a whole new collection that really is the signature aesthetic of what Claire and I intended from the very beginning.
So Edit ended up being a weekly drop within the month.
We did also see our fashion pieces pick up online as well which is quite interesting.
Even though sweats, hoodies, track pants and leggings were really moving quickly, we also did a collab with Rebecca Vallance, which was a tailored suit that had a hoodie attached to it, and that flew out the door too.
So we're seeing some interest in that sporty-fashion because that's an elevated way of wearing the athleisure trend that's really taken off again.