When Sofearose first launched in 2014, founders Zaki and Farrah were new to the fashion industry. They left the pharmaceutical world to pursue their dream of starting a Muslimah hijab brand, with little knowledge of the retail landscape. The market, however, was – and still is – extremely competitive. After all, outside the Western countries, Malaysia is one of the leading growth drivers for Muslimah fashion.
Afraid of losing out, the founders resorted to the age-old methods to make business decisions: gut-feel. It was a quick and easy solution, but one that comes with a price.
“It became common to spend more resources to fix what could have been prevented in the first place.”
“We did what felt right,” says Zaki, the founder and CEO of Sofearose. “We reacted to the market based on instinct. What to stock, how much to stock, what colours to produce, what price to set – there wasn’t any validation to it. However, what we didn’t realise at the time is that these decisions don’t deliver consistent results.”
It was often a hit-or-miss scenario. There were times where a collection would sell really well, but more often than not, Sofearose found itself with more problems than it did before.
“Over time, this led to overstocking issues, times where we set high discounts to clear stocks. It became common to spend more resources to fix what could have been prevented in the first place.”
That’s why Sofearose now uses Omnilytics in every part of the retail journey, incorporating real-time data to support decisions at all levels.
From trend validation to design & development for festivities
Farrah, the Creative Director of Sofearose, always starts her designing process by brainstorming concepts – the look and feel of a collection. This part requires heavy research, as it involves understanding market trends and consumer demand. Before Omnilytics, Farrah would have to comb through online websites, social media and customer feedback, narrowing it down funnel-by-funnel.
However, she found that not only was this method extremely time-consuming, but it was also highly inaccurate. She would take days to curate and select the concept, spend weeks designing and producing the pieces accordingly – only to realise that they aren’t trending anymore. What’s more, as the hijab brand operates on a weekly product launch timeline, the extra burden was hard to bear.
With real-time data from Omnilytics, Farrah eliminated that issue altogether.
“With the right styles, colours, fabrics and silhouettes, their collection sold out within days. What’s more, unlike the rest of their competitors, they didn’t even need to run post-Raya sales.”
“With Omnilytics, I’m not only able to accurately identify uptrending styles that I can incorporate immediately, but also dive deeper into important granularity. I can see best-selling colours, fabrics, silhouettes – it gives me a clearer idea of where to channel my focus on.”
What used to take at least three months, Sofearose is now able to do- with accurate market insights – in just a few weeks.
Seeing high success from their usual weekly launches, Farrah then incorporated Omnilytics into their Raya collection, an important season that fuels the highest sales.
With the right styles, colours, fabrics and silhouettes, their collection sold out within days. What’s more, unlike the rest of their competitors, they didn’t even need to run post-Raya sales.
Right price, fewer discounts
For Zaki, Omnilytics helps him build the right pricing strategy by allowing him to monitor the market pricing movement. In the past, their pricing architecture wasn’t aligned with market expectations – another issue caused by operating with gut-feel.
“We noticed that most of our customers often only purchased our hijabs when they’re on discount – rarely at full-price,” says Zaki. “This was a clear indication that we’re not pricing right.”
Now, to avoid pricing too high (or too low), Zaki and his team refer to Omnilytics to study the market bestsellers and their price points. This gives them a better understanding of market expectations, and the price range they can play with.
“This is where Omnilytics has been really helpful because we can see all of the best prices by categories and sub-categories. Furthermore, we can see our competitors’ every move, helping us to further understand our competitors’ positioning too.”
Now, Sofearose no longer needs to rely on discounts to clear stocks – they’re already cleared at the right price. With the right pricing, their customers no longer have to wait for a discount to enjoy the new designs.
Entering a new market with confidence
In 2019, Sofearose’s growth strategy is to expand into Ready-to-Wear (RTW). The hijab brand would still produce scarves and shawls but they want to tap into more markets to expand exponentially. This, however, is an entirely new segment for Creative Director, Farrah.
“Designing for RTW is more challenging than designing for a hijab,” says Farrah. “RTW involves much more “moving” factors, which includes silhouettes, cutting and fit; these are areas that are new to me.”
To ease into the transition, Sofearose turned to Omnilytics to have a better grasp of the Muslimah fashion market.
Farrah first used Omnilytics to identify both international and local market leaders. This gave her a clear insight into their assortment strategies, pricing architectures and bestselling trends. After having a market overview, she then deep-dived into the specifics: subcategories, silhouettes, shades, patterns and prints. In a matter of hours, Farrah was able to gather these market insights at her fingertips, which otherwise would have incurred higher costs and inefficiencies.
From there, she adopted the strategies that best fit Sofearose’s target market.
2X in Sales
With data-backed decisions, the brand’s first-ever collection sold out in a matter of minutes. What’s more, their brand image grew even stronger, as they were known to provide the right products, with the right design, at the right time.
The brand saw a 2x increase in sales since they started using Omnilytics – and it’s all through the right decisions derived from the Omnilytics Dashboard.
“We used to operate based on instinct and hunches but with Omnilytics, we can now analyse our market and predict demand.”
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