By-bar achieves growth ambitions with TCOG
It all started with earrings. Now, twelve years later, By-bar has become a full-fledged clothing and accessory label with international ambitions. Transparency, honesty and long-term relationships are the key words of the organization, and they are proving to be extra valuable right now. TCOG helps the fashion company to realize their plans for the future.
By-bar was founded in 2008 by Barbara Brenninkmeijer, former buyer for various retail chains. “During my travels, I often visited small markets and regularly brought products that were very popular with friends and acquaintances,” she says. “That’s how I started selling accessories. Slowly but surely, I expanded the collection further with clothing.”
Massive increase of growth
In 2013, she met her current business partner who focuses on the commercial aspect of the company. This allows Brenninkmeijer to focus on the development of the collections. The growth of By-bar increased enormously when the fashion label first participated in the ‘Modefabriek’ in 2016. A year later, the women’s brand also introduced a girls line. “We now have 250 points of sale in the Netherlands and Belgium, and are about to enter the German market. This is of course now on-hold for a while,” says Brenninkmeijer. “The company has grown very gradually and solidly. Always from the point of view of what we have already achieved and what could be our next step”. The workforce consists of thirty employees: twenty-five at the head office in Breda and five in the fire store in Maastricht.
Partnerships in the chain
The production mainly takes place in Italy, Portugal, India and recently also in Turkey. “We have been working intensively with most customers and suppliers for years, which means we have a very good relationship,” says Brenninkmeijer. “Not only on a business level, we have built up many loyal, friendly relationships over the years”. Partnerships in the chain are enormously important, she emphasises. “Certainly when you, as a sector, find yourself in a crisis situation, as is now the case with the corona pandemic, you know what you gain from each other. This is not a situation that anyone can solve on their own. We can only move forward by working together and being transparent. In this way, we have been able to make good agreements with both our customers and suppliers, so that we can get through this time together”.
Adapt quickly due to Covid-19
Unlike other brands, By-bar sells its winter collection in April. Normally buyers will visit the showroom in Breda. Because of the corona measures this was now difficult. Brenninkmeijer: “Fortunately we could count on our permanent team: the photographer and the model we’ve been working with for six years. In two days we managed to shoot the entire collection so that we could sell it digitally. In addition, we have extended the sales period by one month”. For many retailers, By-bar is an important label in their collection that they just can’t miss. The anomalous sales period, which is closer to the time of delivery, is a great strength. The advantage is that retailers already know how By-bar has performed in the previous season, before they conform to a new order.
Software as an indispensable bible
For a fast growing and dynamic company like By-bar, it is important to have structure and insight in the business processes. Tom Ligtvoet, business controller at By-bar, says: “ItSuitsFashion, TCOG’s phase-specific ERP solution, enables us to have a large part of these processes take place in a single system. This allows us to work more efficiently and at the same time make our processes much less error-prone”. There is also a stable link with the webshop and with Delogue, the program with which the collection is developed. “That really is our ‘bible’ we can’t live without,” adds Brenninkmeijer. “Every garment, even from seasons ago, can be found in it with every conceivable detail – from size charts to used yarns. Our manufacturers all have their own login environment as well”.
Moving on with sustainability
TCOG’s knowledge in the field of fashion wholesale fits well with the vision and growth ambitions of By-bar. Brenninkmeijer’s dream is to become a ‘beautiful international brand’. “Of course these are turbulent times for everyone in the chain, but this is also a moment of rethinking,” concludes the fashion entrepreneur. “Our autumn collection has been halved, but there is still a very nice collection! We can learn our lessons from this: that it’s good to make sharper choices – also for the environment. With us, sustainable entrepreneurship is not a marketing story. We’re on top of that and we’re transparent: we don’t say more than we actually do. Together with our entire team, a motivated group of young people, we are steadily continuing with what we are strong in.”