For myriad reasons, it is difficult for a small fashion enterprise to enter a foreign market. It is especially difficult when that enterprise has yet to tap into all its domestic retail options; however, it can and should be done as “small businesses in the United States can no longer afford to ignore the challenge of international commerce” (Rowden, 2001).
The global marketplace is constantly changing and therefore entrepreneurs must adjust. Historically, emerging entrepreneurs would first develop new ventures in their domestic marketplace before expanding globally. Today, those same entrepreneurs have the opportunity and challenge of “a highly internationalized market from the moment they are founded” (Karra, Phillips, 2004). If an entrepreneur in today’s complex and fast-changing world of international business wishes to remain competitive and thrive, he or she must consider the global expansion (Rowden, 2001).
Because domestic fashion retail markets have become over-saturated, SMEs have a major motivation to globalize. Innovative products are another key incentive for fashion internationalisation, which is attractive to retailers operating in niche markets such as high-end accessories (Portolese Dias, 2003).
Identifying new markets to expand into is essential for growth (Rowden, 2001). But it is critical the market is researched and components of the business model reviewed and revised before entering. This literature review explores a US-based SME, recent buying behavior, key changes in the luxury accessories market and insights on entering the Japanese marketplace.
Founded in 2008, Meredith Wendell is a New York City-based luxury diffusion-priced fashion accessories start-up/SME owned and operated by husband and wife team, Meredith and Ross German. Meredith started her career in fashion as a “window dresser” at the NYC luxury department store, Bergdorf Goodman. She later went on to design accessories for the Marc by Marc line at Marc Jacobs after starting her career there as an intern, working her way up. Ross came from a graphic design background, working for boutique advertising agencies and freelancing. Both have a flair for fashion and a quirky style that is most definitely reflected in their designs for Meredith Wendell.
The line includes belts, purses, handbags, totes, clutches, satchels, wallets, backpacks, small hand luggage, jewellery (rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces), camera straps, funky little baubles (a-la Marc by Marc) and collars; ranging in price from $40-$2700 USD. Currently, the line is sold in nine different states and 17 markets in the US, including: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas; with stockists at numerous boutiques, Bloomingdales, Scoop NYC, Matches and Shopbop.
Visibility in print and online is and has been fairly high for a brand that is so young and, at this point, still small....