Canadian handbag and accessories brand Herschel is now exploring the potentials of selling apparel for the first time.
In a recent market appointment, it showcased its initial offerings of outerwear lines for Fall 2017—Voyage and Forecast—that consist of lightweight packable jackets, anorak pullovers and hooded ponchos, all set for a global release this June.
The question now is: Why? Since Herschel started in 2009, the Vancouver based brand has become best known for its bags, with backpacks representing 59% of sales and 70% of revenue. According to Herschel co-founder Jamie Cormack, it was all about timing. He and his brother and fellow founder Lyndon have always been “big fans” of apparel, though they decided that it would be best to wait it out until now. This explains why they didn’t go full blast this time and just focused on outerwear for the meantime.
“It had to feel organic and have a good look, but function like an accessory,” said Cormack. “Our new outerwear collections are a natural progression of what we already do really well with our growing range of travel essentials.”
Herschel apparel designer Kenta Goto said that the brand wanted its outerwear to take off from its accessories, which means fun and practical merchandise for the fashion set.
For example, the Voyage collection has very light jackets that can be packed up and stowed using an internal storage pocket, making it compact enough to fit in a handbag. Meanwhile, the Forecast collection has coated waterproof outerwear meant for heavier rains, complete with welded seams and metal hardware.
Retails go from U.S. $69.99 to U.S. $99.99.
On a larger scale, venturing into apparel is part of Herschel’s business strategy for expanding worldwide. After reporting a 20% growth for the year 2016-2017, the brand stated that it plans to expand in markets across the globe such as Mexico, China and Belgium. In the U.S., Herschel is looking into further strengthening its e-commerce component. Together with Canada, 97% of Herschel’s online sales come from direct full sale prices.
—Eugene Y. Santos