A London fashion designer whose work has been worn by celebrities including Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus has increased clothing sales to the US by 600%, with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Clio Peppiatt, based in Kensington, specialises in creating individual, custom-made beaded dresses. The designer is a regular at London Fashion Week and her unique designs have been featured in major fashion and lifestyle publications including Vogue, Elle and I-D.
After noticing an increase in traffic to her website from international visitors, but failing to convert these visits to sales, Clio contacted DIT International Trade Advisers (ITAs) based in London to look at ways to improve her website and ordering experience for international customers.
After conducting an audit of the Clio Peppiatt website and sales policy, the ITAs identified several functionalities the business could add to secure more international sales. DIT then worked with Clio to address these issues, such as adding a currency converter and offering free returns, which would help overseas customers feel more confident when purchasing her high-value designs.
International orders through the website have now increased from 1% of all sales to more than half. Sales to the US have seen the biggest increase, up 600% in the last six months.
In addition to improving her website for exports, Clio also conducted a valuable profile raising exercise by attending a one-week trade mission to New York in January with funding support from DIT, which included meetings with fashion journalists and publications including Elle and Vogue. The brand has since been featured in a selection of US fashion magazines and its clothing is now on sale in TUZA, a designer boutique in Downtown New York.
Clio Peppiatt now exports to 14 countries including the US, Australia, France and Germany.
Speaking about the international success of the brand, Clio said: “Recently there’s been more global attention on the brand, particularly after being featured in international fashion magazines. At first, this was overwhelming as I had no real experience in exporting and wasn’t sure where to start.
“Working with the ITAs has helped me to take the brand to the next level. Tiny things, like adding exact measurements and currency converters to the website and starting to offer free returns, has had a huge impact on overseas sales. This has helped to build more trust between the brand and customers, who now have more confidence to make a purchase. It may seem obvious, but for a small independent brand, it’s things like that you might not be aware of.
“To any small business, I’d say think big and think international. It’s definitely worth reaching out to DIT as there is so much support available, from networking events to funded trade missions.”
Parveen Thornhill, Head of London Region at DIT, said: “Being from London definitely gave Clio Peppiatt an edge when speaking with press and customers in the US. The UK is renowned for its fashion and creativity. The value of exports from London to the US increased by 11.5% in 2018 compared to 2017, to reach a value of more than £5.9billion, highlighting the demand for London’s goods and services across the pond.
“We worked with Clio Peppiatt to maximise demand for her designs. Her unique and custom embroidery speaks for itself. However, it was only after reworking the website and visiting the US that orders began to flood in.
“Clio’s success demonstrates the opportunity that’s out there for London businesses globally. If she can, so can others. I’d encourage any business to get in touch. DIT can offer a range of support, including workshops and support for selling products and services online, as well as introductions to valuable business contacts overseas.”
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