At Delta Galil Premium Brands, there’s been six months of team-building and rigorous strategizing.
“The first order of business was developing strong, aggressive plans for short and long-term growth,” said Tim Baxter, chief executive officer of Delta Galil Premium Brands, since last May. “That took some time. It’s been kind of a whirlwind six months.”
Then again, the contemporary fashion market is always fast-moving, particularly denim, where there’s a steady flood of new entries and staying relevant and hip is increasingly challenging for brands that have been around for a while, such as Seven For All Mankind.
In his first interview outlining strategies he’s spearheading for Delta Galil’s two premium brands — which includes Seven For All Mankind as well as Splendid — Baxter, the former chief merchandising officer at Macy’s Inc., didn’t mince words. Among the key elements of the new strategy, he outlined:
- Stepped-up international expansion, with Latin America and Asia virtually untapped.
- Renewing the assortment of classic core products that speak to the DNA of the brands.
- Collaborating with high-profile, third-party talent for elevated fashion offerings.
- Licensing at Seven For All Mankind to expand into categories currently not offered.
- Driving growth at the Jen7 diffusion label.
- Store openings.
On the talent side, “We are searching for a chief marketing officer and have hired a global creative director for Seven For All Mankind, which we will be announcing in January,” Baxter said. “We have also really focused on the middle tier of management, adding people to support the strategy. We restructured the product team and added design directors for men’s and women’s.” They will also be announced in early January.
In addition, buying directors covering both e-commerce and stores at Seven For All Mankind and Splendid have been hired.
On the product side of the business, Baxter spoke of a “return to the roots in premium denim” at Seven For All Mankind. “The brand is highly penetrated in denim,” Baxter said. “The opportunity is to continue to lead in denim and continue to relaunch some of our heritage fits,” such as the A-pocket flare and the Dojo, the original trouser. “The design team is working on modern interpretations.
“We have shifted to a real focus on product across the entire organization — a multichannel focus,” Baxter said.
“There is also a significant opportunity to expand into other categories in men’s and women’s and explore licensing partners. Licensing is “a very small business for Seven For All Mankind. There could be opportunities in fragrance, swim, outerwear, watches, accessories, bags, men’s and women’s shoes. We are just in the beginning stages for that.”
The company is seeking to build momentum through new marketing and products as it approaches the 20th anniversary of Seven For All Mankind in 2020. “The new creative director will be charged with driving the product associated with celebrating our anniversary. It will be a very exciting time for marketing product,” Baxter said. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based Delta Galil Industries bought the Seven For All Mankind, as well as the Splendid and Ella Moss brands, from VF Corp. in 2016. The $1.37 billion Delta Galil also owns Eminence Group premium men’s underwear, the Athena and Liabel mass-market underwear brands, and develops private label products including shapewear, socks, bras and intimate apparel, among other categories.
At Splendid, “We’re going back to our roots,” Baxter said. “Splendid was founded on really luxurious, great quality soft knit pieces. We had somewhat walked away from that. We are back to that being a solid foundation and have relaunched an entire program on the classics.”
Splendid is collaborating with Margherita Missoni on a collection currently sold. For next spring, Splendid will launch a collection in collaboration with photographer Gray Malin, who has been teaming with different brands to broaden the range of product categories bearing his name. Splendid will also release a few men’s pieces within the Malin collaboration.
“In Splendid, it’s about the core classics surrounded by fashion and driving that fashion with partners,” Baxter explained.
With the Jen7 diffusion brand, prices have been lowered to under $100, from $120 to $140. It’s a response to feedback from consumers. “We changed the manufacturing model,” Baxter said. “We are taking less margin on the front end because we know we can drive sales higher. We will be driving that diffusion brand very aggressively into 2019 and 2020. We have put in place specific design and specific sales teams behind the product and will be investing in the marketing of the brand.” Jen7 is sold in many of the same e-tailers and retailers that sell Seven For All Mankind, including StitchFix, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. Jen7 is priced 30 percent to 40 percent less than Seven For All Mankind. “It’s still a premium price point,” Baxter said.
In the next few weeks, the Seven For All Mankind store fleet grows with the opening of two outlets, in Allen, Tex., and North Georgia Outlets outside Atlanta; a full-price store in The Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio, Tex., as well as returning to NorthPark mall in Dallas.
Unlike other retailers that try to keep customers in the store for as long as possible, “After the conversion, it’s about speed. We are focused on decreasing dwell time,” said Baxter, meaning providing an “efficient” fitting room experience and a speedy checkout.
Seven has 24 full-price stores and 21 outlets in the U.S. and in Europe there are 13 full-price stores and nine outlets. Splendid has 22 full-price stores and two outlets in the U.S.
“In 2019, we are planning for five new Seven stores. But in my new role, I have approached the business from a very balanced perspective,” Baxter said. “Relationships with Saks, Neiman’s, Nordstrom and global department stores are incredibly important to us. That being said, each of them are building their own strategies. We are going to partner differently with them than we have in the past.
“At the same time, we will use our own stores and e-commerce to drive our brand stories — to tell our stories in a way we can only do in our own environments.”