As everyone knows, Covid has been very disruptive for business — from product availability to courier services to prices — and it’s starting to feel like the “new normal”. So we’re starting the year with an updated cover material range, and a new strategy to move this forward in the future.
We’re excited about it, but we also know that any change can raise questions, which we’ve tried to answer in advance here. We’d love your feedback! Please take a few minutes to read the following, but if you just want to see the updates follow the button below.
How we work now
Cover materials are a special challenge for us. We like to offer variety, and you quite rightly expect it. But whereas a fashion store turns over its stock every season, when you invest in a sample you expect it to work for a few years — and to look great in your clients’ homes for much longer than that. The “timelessness” test!
To make this work, we buy in and carry stocks from around the world so that we can make products to match your samples.
Our challenge is that when we introduce a new material we need to pre-order stock even before we know if it’s going to sell — and even if it doesn’t, keep it in stock for a few years to support your samples. We “place our bets” based on your feedback and our own instincts, but sometimes, of course, get stuck with materials that don’t do so well.
The way we’ve been doing things in the past works for materials that sell reliably year after year — Eggshell Micro Leather or Rust Vintage Leather for example, or anything black! — but for others it can be wasteful, expensive and stop us trying new things. The truth is that not everything passes the timelessness test, so how can we offer our clients more new materials, more regularly?
“Classic” versus “Fashion”
We absolutely know certain colours and materials will sell well for years. They truly are Classics. But what about things that are more on trend right now? Maybe they’ll pass the timelessness test, maybe not. Not that most of us probably care — we’re talking Fashion!
In future, when we introduce a new material we’ll order enough for a year or so, as we do now. If it sells well we’ll reorder. If it doesn’t we won’t — although in that case our stock will probably last quite a long time.
This will make it easier for us to remove unsuccessful lines and make way for new ones — to focus on what’s selling in a changing market, introduce new lines regularly, and ensure reliable supplies. We’ll offer slow sellers on a While Stocks Last basis, just like your favourite boutique. Until our stock, or our supplier’s, runs out.
We’re also looking at how we can make it easier for you to display, sell and profit from what we offer, with new physical and online resources.
“Current versus “While Stocks Last”
You can view our updated range here. Be sure to check out a few of the new offerings!
As in the past, cover materials in the “current” section will be stocked on an ongoing basis, and we expect to reorder from our suppliers as necessary.
Today, we’re putting more materials on a “while stocks last” basis. As explained, this is generally because they haven’t been selling well and we’re making way for new lines. In some cases it’s because suppliers have discontinued them. Although we won’t be buying more, we still have stock, and in most cases this shouldn’t run out for quite a while as they’re not big movers.
We’ve moved things that are “while stocks last” to the bottom of the page and estimated how long they might last based on past sales.
Where can I order updated cover swatches?
We know our current cover swatches are expensive, and also limiting as they’re not easily changed. We’re designing more affordable studio sample cards and will keep you posted when they launch.
In the meantime, click here to download a PDF of all our current materials.
When will you be introducing new materials?
You'll see we have a range of new colours coming soon, but rather than releasing materials once every couple of years, we want this to be an ongoing project. So if there’s a colour or material you’d like to see in the range, please share it with us and we’ll see what we can do.
What about Studio Samples?
Generally we don’t recommend ordering display samples with cover materials that have been moved to “while stocks last.” But any of our current materials can be ordered as samples.