Attire Accessories - May/Jun 2018 (Issue 70)

74 ATTIRE doing it a long time! But when the chips are down, it is service, humour and value for money, all our clients know they will get a beautiful product, our returns rate is minimal plus it’s supported by a lifetime guarantee. Most importantly everything is done with a smile – when you have been in it as long as we have, if you can’t have a laugh and enjoy the job – what’s the point? How important is your location and history to the company in its success? What, other than our close proximity to cider?! In all seriousness, as previously mentioned, it is our inherent knowledge of leather and manufacturing going back to the late 1800’s that enables us to confidently design and manufacture the products we do. How would you describe your current collection? We have three distinct arms to the business; handbags, sheepskin clothing/accessories and our interiors/lifestyle range. All three areas have sub collections depending upon the end consumer, but I guess the one signature statement that runs throughout all Owen Barry products regardless of market place is ‘easy and individual’. How often do you launch new lines and what are your best-selling designs? Tell me about your recent campaigns. We launch new lines bi-annually for handbags, and annually for ready to wear and interiors/lifestyle.That said, we do have four very individual global markets that have quite particular requirements, so that is still a huge amount of development and collections I guess our handbag range is what we are best known for in the UK. Our signature style is Mathilde, which is a drawstring shoulder bag that quickly and easily converts into a backpack – everybody is always blown away by Mathilde. Dudley in Cowhide is a statement piece and Iggy our convertible crossbody with a vast choice of skin combinations is another best seller. What trade shows do you attend and which ones work best for you? Tell us a bit about Brands Collective. I guess we can all see the trade show landscape is changing in the UK, so nowadays we only do one ‘biggie’ – the Summerhouse section at the NEC (Spring and Autumn Fair). It enables us to show both our handbag and our lifestyle collections under one umbrella. There we meet with new, international and destination store retailers. That is why the Brands Collective is such a great platform for Owen Barry in the UK – it takes us directly to the retailer. We tour around as a group of likeminded, quality, designers and manufacturers. We present our collections in pleasant informal locations that are much closer to the clients’ businesses, the mood is far more relaxed giving everybody time to understand the products and build relationships. The old-fashioned trade show template was all about selling, take an order and move on. Nowadays, at Owen Barry, we think it is all about understanding, from both sides: good retailers want to be educated, therein they can engage knowledgably with the end consumers, offer them service and a point of difference. In turn we vendors need to understand our clients, what they (and their customers) are looking for. Brands Collective offers a superb forum for this, it gives both parties affordable time and space to talk, learn and exchange ideas. For example, at the last Brands Collective in Manchester, a good, fairly new Owen Barry customer visited the show in the evening after he had closed his shop for the day.This was an arranged appointment, he arrived at 7pm and met with several of his suppliers, we were able to discuss products