How IDEAL of SWEDEN expands with FNAD

When global fashion and lifestyle brand IDEAL of SWEDEN wanted to expand its fashion offerings and reach, it turned to leading fashion consultancy FashionNet/Anton Dell (FNAD) to help build its brand in Europe and North America.

The collaboration began in May 2021 while a global pandemic was underway. FNAD worked closely with IDEAL of SWEDEN to devise a go-to-market strategy to translate the consumer electronics accessory brand into the fashion industry and to establish the brand’s wholesale business in the US, UK, Canada and France.

β€œOne of FNAD’s goals was to collaborate with IDEAL of SWEDEN to transform their CE business channel into new channels in the fashion lifestyle market,” explains FNAD co-founder Jan Brabers. “Together we were able to grow the brand not only in North America, but also in France and the UK. One of the great successes is with Printemps in Paris, which is a shop-in-shop of IDEAL of SWEDEN opens.”

To learn more about the expansion and partnership with FNAD, FashionUnited spoke to Jonathan Belson, Director of Sales and Marketing Americas at IDEAL of SWEDEN, to delve into the brand’s goals, challenges and long-term strategy for the future .

Picture: IDEAL of SWEDEN

Why did you choose FNAD as a partner?

Before it was called FNAD, FN, which at the time was very similar to the setup of IDEAL OF SWEDEN in North America, was just a few seasoned professionals trying to build new businesses, all against the backdrop of the pandemic. Best known for its fashionable mobile accessories for consumer electronics and telcos, IDEAL had developed an extensive line of retail fashion accessories for a very different market. Our wholesale department knew we had gold on our hands, but also realized that we needed external guidance to define a go-to-market strategy that was both pragmatic and sustainable. And then came Mark Boloton and Jan Brabers.

My colleague Rich had previously worked with Mark on Beats by Dre Headphones, so we thought FN was a good place to start. Needless to say, we didn’t continue our search and committed to FN’s guidance. Mark and Jan had the experience and expertise in exactly the areas we needed and knew that our joint approach would form a whole. This was crucial for our team, because IDEAL is steadfast in all efforts.

Picture: IDEAL of SWEDEN

What were the goals of the collaboration?

Before using FNAD’s services, IDEAL OF SWEDEN already had a robust infrastructure with global distribution and third-party logistics partners. Our online business alone ships to 100 countries every week and in the social media universe there are few brands that match our reach or consistent growth.

Our initial success with our online fashion range led us to further build up the wholesale and retail business. We had to replicate our existing business to serve those accounts where we previously didn’t have the right product for our relationships. So the goal was quite simple: to find sales offices in certain markets that IDEAL could partner with to gain access to retail.

While I cannot speak directly about FNAD’s methods, I can say with absolute certainty that the partners they have introduced to us are the ones we are doing business with now.

Which countries/regions did you target for international expansion?

While IDEAL currently sells products around the world, we collectively, and quite quickly, identified Canada, France, England and the US as our primary target markets. While both FNAD and IDEAL had the resources to cover a wider area, we felt these regions offered the greatest opportunities in several areas. It’s not that difficult to simply sell a product to a distributor or retailer, but IDEAL is not a product-driven company – we are a lifestyle brand and are now starting to see ourselves as a fashion house. As such, there is so much groundwork that needs to be ironed out even before we approach retailers. Now that we have built the framework for the expansion in fashion retail, we will be targeting other regions selectively and exclusively through FNAD.

Picture: IDEAL of SWEDEN, courtesy of the brand

How has FNAD helped you achieve your goals/strategy?

FNAD is its people, and for me they are Mark and Jan. When we first decided to work together, against the backdrop of a pandemic, where fashion retailing was all but irrelevant, the groundwork both parties invested in the relationship is now reflected in the new partnerships we’ve created.

Although we don’t work as closely with Mark and Jan as we did in the early stages, the business it has already become, and which springs up almost daily, illustrates just how instrumental FNAD was in achieving our original goals. The fashion industry operates on a much more structured schedule than CE and now that we have several accounts on board that live within that universe, IDEAL has become a more inclusive company. We continue to release phenomenal product lines, but now with a wider lens. This allows us to maximize seasonal sales periods across multiple market segments and synchronize our marketing efforts.

Were there any difficult challenges in enlargement?

For starters, we started this collaboration in the middle of a global pandemic. While I now consider Mark and Jan friends, not just business partners, we have yet to meet in person. I don’t see this as a challenge per se, but no video conferencing platform can ever replace what face-to-face meetings can deliver. If we could have met in person, I would have directed that we have several strategy meetings with FN in the beginning where our respective companies became each other’s experts. A game plan was then drawn up and physical visits to those target markets would follow, as one team. Now that I’ve “done” business with our Canadian and US agencies that resulted in our work with FNAD, it’s so clear to me how crucial it is to know your business partners.

I couldn’t be happier with the results, but I know video conferencing will never do what face-to-face meetings do.

Picture: IDEAL of SWEDEN

What is the long-term strategy for IDEAL of Sweden?

Even though IDEAL of SWEDEN was founded 10 years ago, we still consider ourselves a start-up company. When we look at our product journey since our inception, we see no limits to what we can create or even the type of company we can become.

IDEAL of SWEDEN remains the most original lifestyle brand that combines function and fashion. For us, there’s no limit to what that means, and because we really understand that, we always really want to explore all the possibilities. What is certain about IDEAL’s future is our commitment to sustainability, inclusiveness, equality and corporate responsibility. Sweden has been at the forefront of these ideologies as a country and so as a company it is just how we are!

For more information about FNAD, visit: www.fn-ad.co

Contact: Mark Boloten – mark@fashionnet.org Contact: Anton Dell – anton@antondell.com

Picture: IDEAL of SWEDEN

Source: fashionunited.nl by fashionunited.nl.

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