How To Get Customer Orders During A Global Pandemic- A Session By Beau Lawrence

Beau Lawrence- Founder Of Ace Rivington and Co-Founder Of Ace Gold Green, spoke about how can suppliers approach buyers during Pandemic for orders during the 1st edition of Denimsandjeans Virtual Show . It was an interesting talk which brought out some very interesting suggestions from him to the denim community to work upon. We thought it would be best to bring a transcript of the same. (you can check his video here )

Beau Lawrence

Hi Sandeep, nice to see you, first of all, I’d like to congratulate you and share how interesting the show format has been, the previous presentation you focused on post COVID sustainability, it’s incredible to see and hear insights from factory owners and suppliers especially from Southeast Asia, so congratulations to everybody. I’m honored to be a part of it, thank you.

Sandeep Agarwal

We are honoured to have you with us and i leave you with the audience so that you can share your thoughts.

Beau Lawrence

Wonderful, thank you again Sandeep and as you shared I’m Beau Lawrence founder of Ace Rivington and Co-founder of Ace Gold Green. For those who are not aware, Ace Rivington is a premium men’s and women’s denim brand based in Santa Barbara California. I also, work as a large-format private label supplier providing end-to-end supply chain solutions for brands looking outside of their offices for creative development support.

I’ve been making products for big brands all over the world for about 20 years now, my career actually started in design back in 2000 where I was fortunate to be a part of the team that took the product from urban focus back into true jeanswear.

After leaving GUESS I opened my brand Ace Rivington and I was fortunate to have not only the mayor of Santa Barbara for our ribbon cutting but also Adriano Goldschmied who joined me for the event along with Amy Leverton of Denim Dudes and Sylvia Armanceka in 2019. I was also very fortunate to be recognized by Sourcing Journal in their rivet 50 index for denim retailers focused on storytelling.

As Sandeep shared, I’ve recently launched a special side project directly with Adriano Goldschmied called Ace Gold Green and we’re running live right now on Kickstarter with our type 1T. We’ve built this incredible product with Officina+39.

Now, let’s come back to what the presentation is focused on-  how to get customer orders during a global pandemic and other times

Let’s start with a story- So imagine it’s 6 p.m dinner time look at this picture everyone in this picture is smiling everyone seems happy that is the goal and you have to plan to achieve the goal, this is a challenge my wife and I face every night with our children what food will the kids eat, any parents out there understand that this is a real challenge is it option number one red lentil doll how about option number two fish and Chips maybe option number three macaroni and cheese or option number four rice if your kid wants red lentil doll and you give the kid red lentil doll the kid is happy if the kid wants red lentil doll and you give the kid fish and chips the kid is not happy.

Let’s look at this picture one more time and let’s think about what’s really important in this photograph the only thing that actually matters is that mom is smiling, mom is happy because the kids are eating their food and that’s it who cares about dad, so I took a global look at this dinner topic my question was two friends in the world what country do you live in or live closest to America, India, Italy, England, and Mexico.

From the list below what’s the number one food your kid would eat is rice macaroni and cheese fish and chips. What did I learn from this survey? I didn’t learn anything from the survey. Why not? I was hoping to see patterns. There are no patterns just because you’re from America doesn’t mean you like macaroni and cheese just because you’re from Mexico doesn’t mean you want rice and so on.

I guess the doll kind of worked out in India a little bit. What this shows every family is different, every customer is different. Know your customer, don’t give them fish and chips if they want red lentil dolls there are no patterns – Know your customer. So that’s our kick off to how to get customer orders during a global pandemic and other times.

What I won’t be teaching you in this presentation is nothing about shorter lead times improving your costing or making better quality products if you don’t already know those things you have bigger problems with your business.

I’m going to share everything about serving the end consumer in an intelligent way for your business.

In today’s reality , many of your old relationships and companies are gone. You’re not gonna get the same guidance you once did on the product needs of a brand it’s time for you to start looking at your business in a smarter service oriented way because you know what the orders aren’t going to magically show up in your inbox anymore what suppliers at every step of the cycle have to do is consider the consumer at the end of the cycle. 

I call this circular design and the only aspect of sustainability that ties to circular is survival; you have to serve the end consumer understanding as suppliers. It’s not  your job only to serve the next purchaser in the path, it’s to serve the end consumer for today’s challenges. We’re not face-to-face where we’re not meeting face to face to look at product or to touch and talk about product and hand feel and fabric weights.

 We all know that and honestly there is no difference for the actual consumer who mostly is staying at home in general might be making purchases online. That’s where they’re buying digitally they’re just looking at product online, so for today’s opportunity you can change the way that you work an respectfully most of you are so excessive in the way that you build your new collections and assortments of new product-  STOP DOING THAT , just because you and your teams have checked all the boxes for trending words like sustainability or green organic it doesn’t mean what you have made is good or that the customer will even be interested in it.

Slow down, look at your history, look at what has worked for you and your company,only do that but better there’s a way to make that product better for the fabric mills that are out there.

Again consider your history look at your past and present customers and the future customers that you aspire to serve consider the DNA that your business was built from your most popular fabric qualities your most popular cast options consider where you want your business to go is there innovative technology or earth conscious strategies you’ve already invested in or that you’re thinking to introduce and with that combine what has worked with, where you want to go ,your core fabric constructions that your customers have bought make sense. 

Can you offer them a more earth-conscious fabric finishing certified fibers and base denim color options that are easier to modify especially with technology? Don’t over complicate, remember if we use the extreme of online shopping, as the example, customers aren’t even touching the fabrics until it shows up in their homes if they’re loyal to the brand where they purchase their goods from, chances are they’re shopping the brands based on familiarity, make sure you’re offering them what they want and you have to ask yourself what do you want to be known for making it easy for your customers to understand and to buy -KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS. For the factories and laundries again consider your history, your past and present customers, and the future customers you aspire to have how are you serving the business instead of waiting for customers to show up with tech packs.

What happened in 2019? Did you get any reorders that year? Did any of the products that were originally placed for the same time in 2020 look like the successful products from the same shipping period of 2019?

It’s not that hard, look at your history and do the work for your customers, provide more service for the top five best-selling products you sold in 2019. Have you developed them on the same fabrics in other color options for your customers? Do you have access to your customers website from your office? When was the last time you and your team had a meeting to review their best sellers online?

It’s not that hard – know your customer for the brands there are things that you guys can do too and certainly, your day of accountability is here.  Honestly, I don’t care if you’ve got a billion-dollar business or a one million dollar business it’s all the same just extra zeros. Why do you need more then? Why do you need to introduce another dark clean wash this fall if the same one and the same fabric you ran last fall sold?

l want to share a story , A french guy who owned a big company that I worked for a lot of years, there was a point where we had to take all of the products that we had ever produced or that were on the floor in our business within a year for all tiers of the business and all of the dark and the medium and the light washes were laid down together and what we were challenged with was why do you have this and this? 

Does the customer really know the difference and that was an incredible experience to understand the importance of making sure you’re giving the customer a reason to buy everything they don’t duplicate and there’s no opportunity today to duplicate anything.

Serve the brands with product in an incredibly focused way the mills the factories have to work for the brands and everybody has to work for the consumer.

The main point is you don’t have to reinvent what’s already been done. Back to so from a consumer standpoint there we go, we all have to shop and I’m talking about you guys acting as consumers for the brand . Everybody all of us whether we’re the fabric mill whether we’re the the sewing factory the laundry the chemical supplier we all if we really want the business we all have to act as the brands and we all have to shop , I’m not saying we have to spend money, what I’m saying is we need to be familiar with what the brand is doing.  

I understand globally there’s a challenge for visibility over websites we may not have access to the brands that we’re serving from our country through the internet where we do have access to instagram and I don’t care if you’re 60, I don’t care if you’re 70 and I don’t care if you’re 20. If you have a customer and you do not have instagram and you’re not paying attention to what they’re doing then you’re not knowing your customer, you’re not serving your customer .

 All of the talk about sustainable business development ,all these things there’s some simple steps that we can all take to know our customers more effectively if you do not have an instagram account set up one today, follow all of the customers that you serve or that you aspire to serve because you’re going to learn something about their business.

That’s a big step, sign up for mailing lists if you have access to their website sign up for their mailing list be intimately familiar with what their pressures are and what the communication that they’re sharing to the consumer is because  what’s going to happen you’re going to get to know them better and you’re going to get to know what they want better believe it or not a tech pack showing up is not the same thing as receiving an email blast that some big customer just sent out you’re going to learn how they’re communicating with their consumer if you can get on that list. 

So again follow instagram and don’t think that you’re not cool enough to be on instagram. We’re all cool enough to be on instagram so just get on instagram ,follow the brands, be a modern consumer you have to know your customer and it’s an incredibly challenging time obviously we have to be very nimble and flexible in the way that we approach business.

If you don’t know your consumer intimately and if you can’t begin to actually show them that you’re thinking for them  someone else will .This is not 1985, you have to be innovative they need service and support , we all need service and support to be successful so for the same reason that we serve them, they serve the factories ,they serve the  mills with the orders that they place.

Stop wasting energy and effort and focus where you can. That’s my big fancy presentation and what I do want to share is that from a sourcing standpoint again don’t give them fish and chips if they want red lentil doll.

After the successful launch of its 1st edition of Denimsandjeans Virtual Show which concluded on July 23, Denimsandjeans announced the dates for its 2nd edition under a theme name- Cloud Sourcing. The show is scheduled for October 14-15 and will cover US, South America, and European times zones this time.

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