Part 1: Ralph Lauren - More than just a Brand2
Positioning - the story told by the brand4
More than just clothes5
Position from a value chain point of view6
The consequences on range development6
Part 2: The Sourcing plan6
Production Activity Control10
Ralph Lauren is one of my personal favourite brands and the reason to why I have chosen to write about this fashion company. To me it feels natural to think about the brand as an affordable yet fashionable brand, since it is quite common to see many shirts or other R.L. apparel on the streets of my hometown Gothenburg in Sweden. During the process of learning more about fashion and fashion sourcing, I have however come to realise how much more that lays behind the reasons why I chose to wear this brand and how much more diverse the company’s product portfolio really is.
The first part of this paper is going to present a brief outline about the history of the company, the company’s market share and positioning. The main focus will however be on how they try to convey the message of meaning to its customers.
The second part presents a suggested sourcing plan for three different product lines, discussing routes, different natures of relationships and how to perform production activity control in the different types of manufacturing processes.
Part 1: Ralph Lauren - More than just a Brand
The Polo Empire began in the late 1960’s when the creator Ralph Lauren decided to create his own line of ties. At the start everything did however not go all smoothly. In the beginning Lauren went to a variety of stores to present his product, but was many times rejected. At Bloomingdale’s he was told that he should make them narrower and remove his name from the label. Lauren luckily refused and soon after Bloomingdale’s saw how successful the brand was doing and agreed to start retailing his products under his conditions. (ehow.com/about_5114046)
Even though the design of Ralph Lauren may have been seen as something slightly unconventional at the very beginning, it certainly found its niche early. To quote renowned fashion critic Bernadine Morris: "He's acquired a certain reputation for clothes that are, you know, with it. But not too with it. Not enough to shock the boys at the bank." (http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/PoloRalph-Lauren-Corporation-company-History.html) This approach led to his designs being perceived as sophisticated, distinctly American and just enough fashionable to attract a large group of customers.
After the first successful collections Ralph Lauren moved on and started to open up his own clothing stores and to create apparel for women. Today the company includes many different categories of brands and have grown to become one of the worlds largest fashion businesses. Company information
Polo Ralph Lauren operates within three different segments: Wholesale, Retail and Licensing. As can be seen below in the table presenting the company’s revenues Wholesale and Retail accounts for almost fifty percentages each with the Licensing making out roughly three percentages. The reason for the licensing making out a much smaller proportion could have to do with the fact that Ralph Lauren prefers to have more control over its value chain and therefore refrains from licensing a too great proportion.
Source: Polo Ralph Lauren annual report 2011-05-26, p. 2 (http://investor.ralphlauren.com/).
Looking at how the company’s revenue was created globally we can derive that in...