Expert view: “Accurate data helps fashion to be more responsible and omnichannel”
A true digital expert (ex-Pixmania, Private Showroom, Stuart), PingKi Houang, FashionCube's multi-channel Director and President of Fashion Data explains how to put "data intelligence at the service of fashion". This helps fashion retailers to switch to an eco-friendly model that reflects sustainability alongside efficiency. Other French brands are due to partner with Fashion Data.
Régine Eveno: In adding FashionCube, the Mulliez Family Association acquired tools for reflection and collaboration between fashion brands. What is your strategy?
PingKi Houang: FashionCube was created 3 years ago by Jean-Christophe Garbino (ex-Kiabi). The business used a new business model based on zero waste. The aim is to produce only what is necessary, without waste or later disposal. This brings together some of the textile brands in the Mulliez galaxy (Editor: these are families who own Auchan, Decathlon, and Leroy Merlin, amongst others). These are retailers selling to both women (Pimkie, Orsay, Rouge Gorge or Grain de Malice) and men (Jules/Brice or Bizzbee). We did not create a new group of companies or a central purchasing agency. We function as an ecosystem whose aim is to define a sustainable business model for these fashion retailers. We collectively pilot data-driven solutions and pool skills according to the customer, innovation or the supply needs of this collaboration.
RE: How did you change the fashion business model?
PH: In 2018, the stakes were strategic. It was a question of (re)defining the purpose and value proposition of each of our brands. We had all suffered disruption with fast-fashion as the only firms in 2004 (with Zara and H&M) to increase market share. Expansion from 2008 was led by pure players like Asos or Amazon. A new business model had to be invented. The ‘zero-waste’ axis was an obvious choice for us. We opened with a righteous model, where we only produce what we sell, all at affordable prices. In an industry ranked 2nd in the world for pollution, we embody this transparently sustainable approach. This change of direction involved controlling data, anticipating, ordering correctly balanced quantities, and avoiding unnecessary end-of-series disposals. This philosophy led to the creation of a new start-up at the end of 2018. We have 20 staff today that I jointly manage with Romain Chaumais (former co-founder of Ysance). We work in symbiosis with business departments of the FashionCube partnership retailers.