Zambesi has followed a global move away from traditional collections, with a plan to restructure its production calendar after COVID-19.

Zambesi co-founder Neville Findlay said eCommerce and digital investment helped secure sales during the pandemic.

“COVID has undoubtedly impacted almost every business in every industry, and we’re no exception,” Findlay said.

“When New Zealand reached Alert Level 4, we were forced to think about our next steps, and how to evolve quickly and laterally.

“As one of the first steps in our response and recovery, we immediately set up emergency eCommerce initiatives to enable us to reach online customers.

“This gave us a limited but vital cash stream whilst our physical stores were closed.”

Around the same time as the start of the pandemic, Zambesi also rolled out a new point-of-sale (POS) software.

Findlay said this was essential in managing store operations, including an integration with a new eCommerce platform.

Plans are now underway to implement supply chain changes.
“Now, as we begin to look into the future and at our business moving forward, we are conscious of a radical change in the way the fashion seasons are structured and are actively trying to rewrite the schedule of collections.

“We need to be lighter on our feet and produce smaller but seasonably closer capsules so as to reduce the lead times between design, manufacture and consumer purchase.”

Findlay said store sales have resumed to stronger levels.

“Much to our delight, when stores were allowed to reopen, retail sales took off with a 'hiss and a roar'. Now however, the challenge lies in making up for lost time in the development and manufacturing of our new collections.

“In 2021, our focus in the first instance will largely be survival and consolidation of our existing operations.

“Once we’ve achieved those first two steps we will re-focus our efforts towards the growth of our online presence and two flagship stores.”

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