A brand as a business option!
Poland’s free market created the ideal conditions for people to set up their own companies – and a lot of people wanted to try their hand at entrepreneurship. The first tide of brands attempted to replicate the allure of the shining star of communist glamour PEWEX, with very simplistic, ‘modern’ brand names such as Artex, Tadex and Magdex (all presumably derived from the first names of the owners). Later on, they banked on associations with the West: with Americanos, Simple, and Reserved.
Smaller companies began to carve out their own space in the growing market, in spite of their grassroots beginnings.
Small-scale production made it easy to cater to the latest trends and meet market demands. Although, their goods may have been trendy, unfortunately, they were often lacking in quality, particularly as most of the staff were part-time workers who didn’t always have the necessary know-how. Eventually, ‘bazaar-quality’ fashion fell out of favor and small Polish brands began hiring skilled designers and teams of specialists, they sought out better-quality materials and travelled abroad for trade fairs and runway shows. By looking to the West, they brought a new wave of professionalism to the industry.
The Simple Autumn/Winter, 2011/2012 collection runway show at the new, not-yet-open, terminal of the Chopin Airport in Warsaw, June 30th, 2011
Big state-run brands were replaced by upmarket brands like Hexeline (a Łódź-based company founded by Halina Zawadzka), Deni Cler (a Milan-based company known in the 1970s, which was transplanted to Poland in 1991) and Simple (established in 1993, see below).
Among the companies that applied a Western marketing approach most effectively were casual denim brands like Americanos and Big Star (the latter founded by Bogdan Kaczmarek and Wiesław Kostera in Kalisz).
The most impressive example of hard-won success is the Gdańsk-based company LPP, which was supported by a great team of designers who worked off of finely tuned trend books, a streamlined distribution network and a recognizable image with global appeal.
The group’s most successful brands include Reserved (est. 1999), Cropp (est. 2004), Mohito (est. 2008), House (est. 2008), and SiNSAY (est.2013), each of them catering to its own specific target consumer. Their marketing, merchandising and promotional strategies are tailored precisely to each specific brand and the consumer they want to appeal to – even down to the lingo used in ads and online platforms. The LPP brand is hot on Spain’s Inditex’s heels in the race for fashion world domination. Reserved is such a strong brand, that they now have shops on Oxford Street in London, and Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford and Małgosia Bela as their campaign models.