Superior Activewear was acquired by Gildan in mid-2017 and is now known as Gildan Brands
Highly regarded APPA Member Robert Taylor shares some insights of Gildan Brands and what they are aiming to achieve in the years to come. In the interview, we ask Robert what he thinks 2018 will bring for the Australasian promotional product marketing industry and how he intends to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.
Was it difficult to find a synergistic alignment between the two highly recognisable brands? How has the business changed?
No not at all, having been Gildan’s master distributor in Australia for 14 years there was great synergy between the 2 businesses. Superior had often been more recognisable as Gildan by our customer base, so the post-acquisition name change to Gildan Brands Australia was seamless. This change also aligned us with other Gildan distribution businesses globally. On the surface very little has changed,Gildan were very happy with how the business was operating and have felt little need to change things. In the background the most significant change has been to our inventory levels. At the time of acquisition, we carried approx. 1.8 million pieces in stock across approx. 2400 SKU’s. By mid-year I expect we will be carrying approx. 4 million pieces and will have increased our SKU count to approx. 3000.
What has been the main focus of your new brand?
Over the last 6 months we have been focused on the official launch of our new name Gildan Brands and the inclusion of the new expanded suite of brands into one catalogue and website.Both of which will launched in our upcoming travelling showcase in February / March.
In addition to bringing Gildan and ANVIL to the Australasian marketplace you will be introducing 3 new brands this year, tell us about those.
There was a lot of press last year when Gildan acquired the IP, stock etc. of American Apparel in the US, but in the prior 12 months they had also acquired US brands Alstyle Apparel and Comfort Colors. We will be adding all these brands to our offering in Feb/March giving us Gildan, Anvil, Alstyle, Comfort Colors and AmericanApparel. We are adding new styles and colours to the existing Gildan and Anvil offerings along with all the new styles in the three new brands. As we determine what styles will work in the Australian market we expect to continue to add to our locally stocked ranges particularly in the Comfort Colors and American Apparel labels. We will cater for large run,low cost T’s and fleece thru to high value brand name T’s with the new Alstyle Apparel, Comfort Colors and American Apparel offering.Anvil delivers a range of fashion forward styles in a range of fabrics including the enzyme washed Anvil Black and the suite of tri-blend T’s while Comfort Colors is a unique range of garment dyed T’s and fleece that feel like an old favourite from the first wear. Alstyle’s range already has a niche following locally inthe skate/urban wear market. So, whatever the customers brief Gildan Brands will have a solution to their requirements. Coupled with our legendary customer service, competitive pricing and Gildan’s globally recognised CSR and Oeko Tex certifications across all brands. From everyday basics to premium fashion, our brands have it all – styles and colours to suit every promotion, uncompromising quality, day-in, day-out comfort, and good, old-fashioned value. In fact, we’re positioning ourselves as a ONE-STOP-SHOP for all things t-shirt, sport shirt and fleece.
What can we expect from Gildan Brands in 2018?
The same great customer service that we have always been known for, an ever-expanding range of styles / colours across the complete suite of Gildan Brands.
Robert, you are a highly regarded thought leader that has been in promotional apparel for many years. What do you think is the most important factor to consider with brand management within the industry?
Focus on the desired outcome not the cost, the cheapest solution is rarely the best one.
How do you stay relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace?
In an ever-changing market you can’t continue to do things the same old way if you’re expecting a different outcome. We must evolve with or in advance of our intended markets;this isn’t without risk and often means moving the goal posts of our comfort zones. In an ever-changing world change shouldn’t be avoided but embraced.
What do you think 2018 will bring for the Australasian promotional product marketing industry?
I hope we will see a change from what has been a race to the bottom by many promotional product distributors. Focusing on price and reducing margins is a recipe for disaster.I hope many distributors will look to emulate some of the most successful businesses in our industry and focus on the best solution for their customer not simply the lowest price. Too often we are asked to assist with a brief where the interest is entirely centred on price and the best solution isn’t even put up as it may be more expensive. We often see multiple distributors putting up quotes for the same job and often those jobs are won by the distributor who has not just quoted the best price but also the best solution. It is far too easy to overlook the cost per exposure of a quality product against the total cost of an inferior product.
For more information on Gildan Brands, click here