In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic fallout, the businesses of young, emerging and independent designers are likely to be the most vulnerable. In a Supporting Independents, FN gives a spotlight these creatives to learn how they are adjusting to a new way of working and living.
Having launched as a direct-to-consumer label in 2015, Aeydē has always been digital first. In fact, co-founders Luisa Dames and Constantin Langholz-Baikousis previously worked worked together at Zalando private label Executive Shoes & Acc.
While the Berlin based label is now also carried by global e-tail platforms like Net-a-Porter, its own website still accounts for around 30 percent of business.
“We’ve been really lucky,” said co-founder, managing partner and chief creative officer Dames. “While sales completely dropped when the lockdown started, they are now practically back to normal in Europe and the U.K.”
With many European countries, Germany included, having relaxed their lockdown restrictions, strappy sandals from the recently launched high summer collection a proving to be a popular buy. “The U.S. market has completely collapsed though,” she admitted.
When it comes to wholesale partners, however, results have been mixed: The high summer collection spent weeks stuck in their Berlin warehouse and many retailers have canceled their fall orders.
As a damage limitation exercise, the brand adopted a pre-emptive strategy, encouraging partners to reduce their orders rather than cancelling completely. This has seen some success. Nevertheless, said Dames, “a 40 percent decrease from wholesale is big problem for a small retailer like us.”
That said, she would prefer to keep stock levels with retailers low and performing well rather than creating a glut in the market. “We wanted to preserve brand integrity to avoid markdown,” she explained. “We’d rather that products sell out than having an overstock.”
“Retail is great a channel for us but margins are high,” she continued, adding that her brand’s seasonless approach doesn’t always gel with the buying rhythm.
“The pandemic will change the industry entirely so we all need to find new strategies,” she concluded, hinting, however, that she might reassess the brand’s approach in the future.
To buy: Aeyde Larissa sandal, $275.