July 6, 2018
Previously, we studied FashionValet’s Raya collection, and it gave a quick glimpse of the Raya scene in Malaysia. The household name carried a wide array of brands, offering trends like statement tops and stocking up on the colour pink for this year’s Raya season. However, FashionValet is just one of the many retailers competing in the arena. How did smaller brands navigate one of the biggest festive seasons in Malaysia?
In fact, a better question would be: how did smaller online Muslimah fashion brands in Malaysia strategise their Raya collection this year?
A Closer Look
Generally, smaller businesses – boutiques, clothing stores, fashion designers – operate in a slightly different manner. They are smaller in company size and have a lower monetary expenditure than larger retailers. This affects the business decisions taken. They would have to be precise in every available choice, and make the best decisions that not only benefits them, but appeals to consumers too. For the fashion and retailing business, this includes selecting the right colour assortments, setting ideal price points, as well as implementing prevalent trends.
In order to obtain a better understanding of Raya 2018, it is necessary to compare the big names, as well as small players in the industry. From best-selling colours to the discounting strategies utilised to attract consumers, understanding the shift in trends and adoption of pricing in smaller brands will help enlarge the scope of consumer purchasing behaviours – especially during festive seasons.
This article will be divided into two parts: one on Muslimah clothing brands, the second on hijabs. A total of 10 brands are used throughout this article, stocking up on their own unique product offerings in preparation for the Raya season.
Part 1: Muslimah Clothing Brands
Poplook, Zefiks, Calice, D’yana and Calaqisya are popular Malaysian SMEs that have loyal consumers. From as early as March, each brand released their own Raya collection, filled with baju kurungs, baju kebayas and dresses that suited the theme. Derived from the timeline of 1st March to 14th June, the trend assortments, best-selling colours and discount strategies are analysed below. The categories taken into account are popular choices for the season: Muslimah Tops, Muslimah Dresses, Muslimah Skirts, Muslimah Pants and Jumpsuits & Playsuits.
Across the world, trends are generated through many verticals including the fashion runway, social media and celebrities. While the origin of trends for the Raya season is unknown, the process of creating them is likely the same – from designers who drew inspiration from various sources. For Raya 2018, the trending prints were evergreen styles that adds a feminine touch.
Image Sources: Zainab Kurong 2.0 in Purple (Calaqisya), Baju Kurung D’YANA Thea (Dyana), PREMIUM Lynne Embroidered Tulle Dress (Poplook)
Florals are an evergreen trend that encompasses the entire industry. Therefore, it is no surprise that the delicate yet romantic print made quite a number of appearances in the fashion SMEs assortment. This year, florals weren’t just printed on the baju kurungs (pictured on the left), but they were embroidered and stitched in glittery fabric too (pictured in the middle and the right).
Image Sources: Braided Peplum Kurong in Soft Blue, Lily Dolls Kurung D34 (Calice), PREMIUM Palmer Poet Sleeve Dress
While statement sleeves were a popular trend last year, the eye-catching design has shifted to tops this year. In fact, the exact trend was popular amongst the brands in FashionValet as well. Ruffles, pleats and colour-blocking styles were used to frame the hem of the tops, which adds an extra flair to the baju kebayas or tops.
Colours are an important ingredient in every clothing category in Malaysia, especially during an important festival such as Hari Raya. As seen on Instagram, families that celebrate usually colour-code their outfits during the first and second day of Hari Raya. As such, brands and retailers conceded by stocking up on the best colour of the year for them. For example, 53 brands from FashionValet opted for pink, while the five SMEs went on a different route.
Three out of five brands – Poplook, Calaqisya, D’yana – had the same best-selling colours during the same time period, albeit in different shades. The blue from D’yana was a vivid hue, while Poplook and Calaqisya had a slightly darker tone. The colour pink came in second for all three. Poplook and D’yana had the most similar palette, with the exception of it’s fourth colour, which was green and brown respectively. Calaqisya, on the other hand, had a different popular colour assortment: an earthy blend of reds and browns.
While blue and pink were in the top five best-selling colours, their best of the best were completely different colours. The colour purple sold out more for Zefiks, while fans of Calice went for the colour brown. The rest of the palette bore similarities: grey, white, blue and pink. Since both are boutiques, the assortment offered could resemble one another, leading up to the same colour sellouts.
Discounting practices are a strategy used by brands to entice consumers. After all, festive occasions are associated to sales in Malaysia. However, the right balance has to be achieved, as too much of a reduction – in hopes of clearing out stocks – may lead to loss in profit margins.
In this case, all brands released discounts during the period of 1st March to 14th June, some more so than others. Zefiks and Calaqisya set the most discounts, a whopping 100% and 69.70% of their SKUs respectively. Both brands could have carried out the marketing strategy of having one or two-day sales, whereby all or selected products were put on a markdown. However, the common discount range was relatively low, signifying that while a lot of products were on sale, the percentage of reductions was not high. Similarly, while Poplook had a lower number of discounted SKUs than Calice, the former’s discount range was much higher. Out of five brands, D’yana had the least amount of discounts. However, most of the sellouts were actually derived from the 5.39% of SKUs.
Part 2: Hijab Brands
The hijab is more than just an accessory in Malaysia, it is a religious practice adorned by Muslim women. With that said, the head covering has been stylised by brands and retailers, offering different types and fittings for the average consumer. Five popular hijab brands in Malaysia – Naelofar, Benang Hijau, Qaira Hijab, Shawls House and Bokitta – tapped into the market, and delivered variations of hijabs for the Raya season.
Image Sources: Sweet Helena Swarovski (Naelofar), Kate Moss L (Qaira Hijab) , Lily Plain Instant Shawl (Benang Hijau)
The instant hijab is a popular form of head covering, especially from celebrity brand Naelofar. As the name suggests, consumers are a fan of this due to its convenience. Since the styles are already sewn and folded, different variations are designed by the brands, such as the side tied hijab by Naelofar (pictured on the left) and the multiple layered one by Benang Hijau (pictured on the right).
Image Sources: LRJ 104 (Shawls House), ADELLIA-AD85 (Qaira Hijab), Maira Square Luxe Scarf (Benang Hijau)
The scarves are traditional hijabs, in which consumers can wrap the piece of garment in any desirable way. The quality, colour and prints are important factors for a typical scarf. The pink scarf from Shawls House, made of chiffon, went out-of-stock three times in the span of two months.
While blue was a popular colour choice for baju kurungs and Muslimah dresses, the most out-of-stock colours for hijabs were of a different spectrum.
The most popular colours for Qaira Hijab had a little bit of everything. It had earthy tones like olives, reds and blues, monotone colour of white, and feminine colour of pink.
Bokitta went for a different route altogether. The colour palette had pastel hues attached, with pink, purple and blues in its top five. The interesting factor, however, were not the colours, but the prints.
Image Sources: Jardin, Color Paisley, Sketches from Bokitta
Prints were a popular choice in Bokitta: there were more printed SKUs sold out than the top five colours combined. The prints had different designs, and three of the products pictured above were examples of the bestsellers.
The remaining three brands, in contrast, had the same top best-selling colour. All three brands sold out most of its pink-coloured hijabs. The rest of the colours did not match in ranking, even though the colour palettes bore a resemblance. For example, the only colour difference between Naelofar and Benang Hijau was red and brown: Naelofar sold out more reds, Benang Hijau in brown. The rest of the colours were the same, albeit in different rankings. Shawls House had a little bit of both Naelofar and Benang Hijau, it sold out more browns, reds and blues.
Discount Strategy by Muslimah Hijab Brands
As mentioned in our article on discounting strategies, brands can set a high discount range, but for fewer products – in order to maintain a level of profit, and vice versa. Naelofar and Qaira Hijab are examples of brands that set low discount ranges for the majority of its products. Naelofar’s discount range was only 20-24%, while Qaira Hijab released just 10-14%. On the contrary, Benang Hijau and Shawls House had lower discounted SKUs, but a higher discounting range.
The Raya Roundup
While there were differences in the implementation of strategies across the local Muslimah brands, there were also similarities, regardless of company size. Most local brands stocked up and sold out of mostly the same colours, as well as similar trends. Some of the discount strategies utilised were also synonymous, as expected, given that each brand would aim to generate as many sales as possible. One thing is certain: it is evident that brands are always on the lookout for ways to attract consumers during this highly competitive season and they should react accordingly with data.