To comply with my confidentiality agreement I have omitted and appropriated confidential information.
These competitive market research, annual sales report, and store information are based on the 2014-2015 fashion market and a reinterpretation of the original. However, I did my research after the company filed bankruptcy, I focused on how they solved the situation and developed their distribution channels. The information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Papaya clothing.Inc.
PACKING MY BAG TO WORK IN CALIFORNIA
Thanks to the South Korea Government funded program and Han Sung University's Fashion Design sponsorship in 2013 (KOSAF, The Korea Student Aid Foundation), I was able to dream about working in different countries.
This is the story that investigated in 2014 Fashion report and conducted US market research from more than 150+ store managers' in-depth interviews and to identify and prioritize research opportunities to satisfy both business and user goals user for Papaya clothing.
After their struggle (filing for bankruptcy), I did my research on how the company adapted to changing Fashion Market trend.
Papaya Clothing is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Apparel, Inc. that has been growing in the retail fashion industry for the past three decades. Their business primarily focuses on the junior and petite apparel markets.
I worked as a buying assistant to develop fashion product life cycle. This role also gave me the chance to collaborate UX design research in retail/e-commerce industries and internal stakeholders to align business needs. I assisted buyers such as Walmart, JC Penny and senior managers with writing purchase orders (P/O), buying merchandise, and managing inventory.
These case studies focus on the marketing plan and annual reports from 2014 to 2018.
MARKETING PLAN (YEARLY PLAN)
PRICING AND DISTRIBUTION
PLANNING, IMPLEMENTATION, AND CONTROL
PAPAYA STRATEGIC FASHION MARKETING PLAN
"Together, we will continue to push the boundaries of fast-fashion design, technology, and communication with customers."
I am the voice of the user on the entire store alongside the product managers and distributors, ensuring that the products we deliver solve the customers' problems while meeting commercial goals. This is usually achieved by increasing crucial business metrics: conversion rates, retention, improving brand perception, and more. Steady communication wins the long race of the fashion market. Also, we need to research for every year's trend for the junior market.
Most of the major store has lost their revenue compare to the previous year. The younger generation would like to save time and money. Teenagers have a low budget but they still love to get some nice items to boost their mood. Also, Fast-fashion is growing through social media. New Players are coming in the market.
This research includes 200 nationwide stores in the United States, growing social media and e-commerce, and 55 outlets. The brick and mortal operate in big cities and main shopping destinations reflect the target consumers' needs.
Promotion is the use of multiple promotional methods in order to strengthen the brand's heritage.
Promotion is one of the main marketing tools used to strengthen the brand image and break into the national market. The company can make a great deal from the targeted valuable customer.
Developing social media content would be great assets for promotional events with social media influencers' feedback and reviews.
Papaya clothing represents what chilling out vibe brings to anywhere in the world.
It's a fast-growing fashion, clothing, and accessories brand for juniors with their products being sold at affordable prices.
The difference between Papaya clothing and other fashion retailers is that they have a vertical integrated operating system can manage their inventory.
Designs are placed in the stores twice a week, hence showing their efficiency at keeping up with trends.
Another way Papaya clothing stands out is by engaging with social media content and influencers, bloggers, and fashionistas. This is necessary because most of the juniors are active on social media and get influenced by their peers.
THE DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL CHANGED
I don't think this is solely Papaya Clothing's problem.
Our distribution channel is changing and people don't want to spend their money on fancy, dry-cleaning clothes anymore. It’s easy to see why this is bad news for apparel companies. When you cut out an entire category of attire, there’s less need to buy new clothes when fashions change. When there’s a hot new color or pattern, maybe someone in her 20s buys one new blouse to stay on trend and wears it to work and out at night.
COMPETITOR ANALYSIS SYNTHESIS
There are new competitors in the market. Two of the competitive e-commerce players are FashionNova and Shein, since they target the online market really fast.
They also have a store, but online marketing is the strong point these days.
They read the trends and understand what customers really want.
NEW COMPETITOR IN THE MARKET
Back then in 2014, I made a decision that our market competitors would be Forever 21, American Apparel, Rue 21, and H&M while I worked as a buying assistant to develop all the products from the beginning stage to final approval.
However, I expanded my research and found interesting changes right now. After 2018, I can obviously see that Fashion Nova and Shein are a new competitors in the fashion/e-commerce market. When I went to the app store, the top of the fashion rank was Fashion Nova, not H&M or Forever21. Not only Instagram and Youtube but also the e-commerce market shows us new trends.
Distribution Channel is moving on.
Social media is one of the main platforms used by Fashion Nova to reach out to their diverse audience, especially their YouTube channel as they create videos every couple of weeks.
These vary from collection previews, final collection videos, collaborations, interviews, to highlighted brand awareness, all appealing to Fashion Nova's target customers.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN?
INSTAGRAM IS DAILY LIFE
Instagram is more than a photo gallery, it is where juniors love to share their daily life, meme, thoughts, advice, and travels.
This is a very new marketing strategy. Papaya should be aware of these trends and fully use this market to get a better understand their users.
Instagram has over 800 million active monthly users
60% of juniors online use Instagram
80% of the app’s user base is outside the U.S. (global shipping is a great tool).
There are 25 million business profiles on Instagram
MDP USABILITY TESTING FROM 150+ STORE'S SENIOR MANAGERS
I had created a ux research roadmap for continuous improvement across the product allocation and investigated to in-depth market research for 150+ stores and interviewed senior or/and head managers. I conducted scheduled calls and confirmed annual sales reports from each of the stores and interviewed them using several questions, pain points based on their needs.
LET'S LISTEN FROM THE SCENE.
When I visited Palm Spring, California Store launching event in 2014 with one of our head buyers, Eugene Choi. I executed on the visual display, solving the communication problem with the store to align business needs.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) governance regulation in California state, our social media Ads Monitor display policy clashed with guidance. It is a set of rules prescribing minimum requirements to prevent fire and explosion hazards arising from the storage, handling, or use of dangerous materials, or from other specific hazardous conditions. It complements the building code.
We had to stall for more than one day to comply with the local guidance. I realized so many things go on in stores, ranging from item allocation, and fashion display for the screen, to visual decorations. I realized each state has such a different and unique situation regarding promotions and sales. I also realized I needed more thorough qualitative research about rules and regs from each state.
Courtesy of photo, www.papayaclothing.com , Interior team 2014
STORE INTERIOR & DISPLAY PLAN
FOR SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSURE AND CO-LIVE
We worked on a store plan and the interior visual display regarding store plan and expansion.
I got involved in visual display for Palm Spring, CA Store in 2014 and realized how difficult stock allocation and visual display set up regarding rules and regulations. This is not about sales report but genuine communication between people coping with different situations.
USER PERSONA WHO LOVES OUR PRODUCT AND
USES IT EVERYDAY
People don't trust the paid gorgeous model with paid advertisement. Because they are not the same as our users. Instead of that, people would love to hear more about the honest product reviews from their genuine peers and social influencers, true people near them.
This is why a lot of start-up fashion companies gain a lot of traction through social media these days.
I will show one example that how we find the Kiara Marie and she became papaya model for promotion.
GENUINE SOCIAL MEDIA
INFLUENCERS CHANGE THE VIEW OF PAPAYA
Besides of Jessica and Kiara, there are so many people who have loved Papaya Clothing and made YouTube videos for Papaya Haul and Papaya Babes.
"Small change brings out huge results to our buying team. Her research skills and communication with people are phenomenal results. This positivity is her nature. "
Buyer at Papaya Clothing-
THIS IS HOW WE WILL DO IT
It’s clear that Instagram isn’t just for personal use anymore, it’s now a global platform that allows brands to humanize their content, recruit new talent, showcase products, and inspire their audience.
Instagram users aren’t just active, they’re engaged. This photo and video sharing app has quickly turned into a top social media site. More than half of the platform’s active users visit the site daily, and 35% say they check it multiple times a day. Instagram can also help you grow brand awareness and introduce products.