Hello people! Welcome to our usual meeting spot where we discuss fashion brands from the ‘black’ continent.
You can also read our other Fashion Africa – Business Analysis reports such as designer Sika, designer Jewel by Lisa here, shoe company Oliberte and the notorious fashion brand Edun. But for today, I will start a series analysing the various websites of some established and emerging African fashion brands and online retail sites. This piece will compare and contrast 3 fashions brands that I believe represent 3 different strategies and business outlook. So sit back and relax and enjoy the read.
A FASHION BRAND ANALYSIS:
DEOLA SAGOE X DAVID TLALE X JEWEL BY LISA
DEOLA SAGOE X DAVID TLALE X JEWEL BY LISA
We will kick-start with 3 brands that need no introduction. If you are into the African fashion scene especially, you must definitely be in the know or have heard of these power houses.
Deola Sagoe has built up a hard reputation as a brand to be reckoned with. Its branding speaks elegance, exclusivity and elite-ness (does this word exist even?! Well, I am adding it to the vocabulary now!), as seen in their product pricing (how about spending £1,696 on a dress? Yes, I may be able to read your mind and I am sure it says E X P E N S I V E!). Their product quality, the attitude of the designer & brand (you don’t see them everywhere and they don’t just feature in any type of event or publication!) and also their point of sale. Their flagship store in Ajose Adeogun Street in Victoria Island, Lagos which is very airy, light, glass made and clutter free contemporary space – just what you would imagine/expect of a brand of such calibre.
Since his catwalk debut in 2003, David Tlale has enjoyed outstanding exposure on both local and international catwalks, taking the label to astronomic heights. His, is a household label that firmly stands its own ground among a sea of other labels; this being attributed to the sheer design erudition and precision that challenges mediocrity.
Jewel by Lisa (JBL) on the other hand, is a fashion brand that is fast gaining worldwide recognition. Created in 2005 by Lisa Folawiyo, a law graduate from the University of Lagos with no formal fashion formation, the luxury fashion brand has a strong clientele and creates lifelong treasures encouraging its clients to wear over and over again. Their goal is to cater to the Nigerian market, creating desirable, one-of-a kind luxury pieces while establishing itself as an international label. It remains one of the true brands that people respect for re-inventing Ankara textiles into covetable pieces.
What do these brands’ websites say about them? Do they truly represent the brands’ personality and energy? C’mon with me and let’s take a look!
From the 2 Deola Sagoe websites that popped up online, I’ll be analysing the .net website and the other brands’ websites based on the following criteria:-
On first impression at Deola Sagoe, I expected a more exclusive, elegant and a newer image to welcome me rather than the outdated one that is presently on the homepage. After entering the site, I was then not sure about where to click next as I was bombarded with different mish-mashed images representing different information points on the website. Where is the exclusive brand continuity I begin to ask myself? Surely this is a misleading representation of their brand’s image?
The David Tlale bio speaks about priding itself on challenging mediocrity however on first impression, the website could definitely be more appealing. The 2 tone black and gold colours are not so bad…they are very masculine and sure speaks about the power, position and strength of the brand. Nevertheless, the images portrayed could’ve been visually more fluid and beautiful representing the elaborate and haute couture pieces that the David Tlale brand has come to be associated with.
On the other hand, the Jewel by Lisa new look website vividly displays the brand’s vintage inspired Spring/Summer collection. It is a postcard/gateway to the good old days gone by which is what the collection promotes; unique pieces reminiscing the days where fashionistas wore unique items to create their own fashion statement. The JBL brand has excellently recognised the importance of “visual” display in a fashion website and they are using this to maximise the image and position of their brand.
What is then presented?
Do the sites have what its customers could be looking for? Okay so let’s imagine, what would a customer be looking for? 1) Information about a new collection (look book) perhaps? 2) A designer bio? 3) A progress report on what the brand is doing behind the scenes, which is a way of keeping a brand constant in the minds of an audience (blog)? 4) A point of sale address (plus any stockists information) and contact details of the store and the team behind the brand?
What is then presented?
For Deola Sagoe, a badly presented lookbook/collection section which is clearly not easy at all to locate, too many pictures of the designer with no clear relevancy on the bio page, the address of the store which is also very difficult to view (is it my browser?) because it overlaps with the images presented of the store and to top it up, no contact information for the Deaola Sagoe team! The blog is outdated with a post on “Clan” (the head designer’s daughters’ new label) written in October 4, 2011. The question that pops up in my head is does Deola Sagoe now want to be hip and hop or exclusive and elite? I was confused as to why they would feature ”Clan” on their blog albeit I understand the label is founded by the head designer’s daughters.
Okay, so let’s move on! My next question was how would a would-be customer get in touch with the brand as this is not on their website? Is this information left out because they are trying to maintain their exclusivity? Are they very comfortable with the clients they have that they no longer need more? Plus, is nothing going on behind the scenes at house of Deola Sagoe worth reporting to us about? Too many confusing messages sent out to the audience!
The David Tlale website clearly presents the customer with all the information they would need albeit aesthetically, the site could be better presented.
JBL displays a simple yet effective and relevant site with all the information a would-be customer would need including a high emphasis on their current collection.
We live in a fast paced world, this is true and time is of the essence. People do not have hours to spend searching for information so it is essential that on platforms such as a website, information is clearly and easily placed.
So bearing our previous analysis above in mind, would the Deola Sagoe customers be able to find what they need to know quickly? The answer is simply no! Based on their current website display, I would rate the usability as Not Effective. All the information is currently presented like a maze and a business website should definitely be easy to manoeuvre and surf.
David Tlale on the other hand does present their customers with the information they need however the website is not visually appealing and therefore could be a hindrance to a potential customer from spending time on the site. I would rate this site as Moderately Effective.
The JBL website is simple and clean and this has been achieved through the clear presentation of their tabs on the bottom page and crisp simple images. Whatever tab you are in, you can manoeuvre and easily and effectively search for what you need. I would rate this site as Highly Effective as the site is so easy to use.
Is the information on these sites up to date?
For the Deola Sagoe website, it has been stuffed with so much information that it is unclear to decipher what is new and what is old. This lack of clarity and the mixed brand messages sent out is definitely not good for their branding. Looking at this website, one would definitely not associate the words “elegance”, “exclusivity” and “elite-ness” with this top fashion brand that commands £1,696 for a dress!
The David Tlale website seems up to date. The collection presented goes up to Autumn/Winter 2013.
The JBL site is current and relevant with a high emphasis on their current collection.
In conclusion, first impressions are paramount on the web than in person. You know what your brand is about and you know what you offer. You know that you are a solid business with an outstanding track record. But, does your homepage communicate this to the rest of the world?
Well, here are my tips:-
- Ensure you only have 1 website online that represents your brand.
- Ensure the information presented is easily accessible and is in keeping with the overall branding strategy of your brand. Including colours, tone of your content etc
- Ensure that all the information provided is relevant, clear and concise. I would focus the “About Us” page more on the brand itself rather than the qualifications and achievements of the designer behind the brand. This can avoid clutter.
- Ensure that the images displayed are visually appealing (especially the Landing Page images), clear and they do tell a story which is consistent with the overall branding of the company.
- Ensure your contact information is clearly displayed and correct to ensure that you are effectively receiving and dealing with your customers’ queries.
It only takes 3-7 seconds for a potential client to scan the site and get a first impression of your business. If your website is unable to impress and inform the potential client of what they need within that time frame, chances of them ever coming back are very unlikely. Your website should be parallel with the personality of your brand, displaying your top qualities.
Take a few seconds and evaluate your own web site.
Until the next post.