Introduction and History
Dorothy Perkins is a British fashion brand mainly for women it offers a range of clothing, footwear, accessories, and beauty products. The brand has a history of over a century, dating back to 1909 when it was founded with the name of “H. P. Newman” and offered Ladies Hosiery and Underwear. The company changed its name to Dorothy Perkins in 1919, inspired by the name of a classic rambling rose.
The company expanded to 12 shops by 1919 and introduced its own range of knitwear and blouses, establishing its value-for-money proposition. The brand grew rapidly in the following decades, opening its 250th shop in 1966 and acquiring its first store on Oxford Street, London in 1977. The company also collaborated with Biba, a famous fashion store in London, from 1969 to 1975. Selling Biba make-up and funding the opening of ‘Big Biba’, an iconic store on Kensington High Street. In 1979, the company was acquired by the Burton Group, later known as Arcadia Group. This group also owned other fashion brands such as Topshop, Evans, and Wallis. The brand continued to innovate and diversify its product range, launching its maternity, petite, and lingerie collections in the 1980s and 1990s. The brand also embraced the power of celebrity, recruiting Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon as the faces of Dorothy Perkins in the 1990s. In 1999, this brand launched its online shopping facility, allowing customers to shop 24/7 from anywhere in the world. In 2012, this company partnered with the Kardashian sisters to launch the Kardashian Kollection. It is a line of clothing and accessories inspired by the style of the Kardashian sisters.
Challenges faced by Dorothy Perkins in the beginning
Dorothy Perkins faced several challenges in its early years, such as the competition from other fashion retailers, the changing consumer preferences, and the impact of the world wars. The brand had to compete with more trendy and fashionable brands such as Lewis Separates and Peter Robinson, which appealed to younger and more affluent customers,
They also had to adapt to the changing tastes and demands of the women, who wanted more variety, quality, and style in their clothing they had to cope with the shortages of materials, the rationing of clothing, and the disruption of trade during the First and Second World Wars, which affected its production and distribution. The company also had to deal with the social and economic changes that followed the wars, such as the rise of the ‘teenager’, the influence of Hollywood, and the emergence of new music and subcultures.
How Dorothy Perkins overcame these challenges and found success
They overcame these challenges and found success by focusing on its core values of offering affordable, feminine, and versatile fashion for every occasion. They also invested in its product development, marketing, and customer service, creating a loyal and satisfied customer base. The company also leveraged its strengths and opportunities, such as its long-standing reputation, its wide network of stores, and its collaboration with other brands and celebrities. The company also embraced technological and digital innovations, such as the introduction of cash registers, the launch of its account card, and the development of its online platform. They also responded to the changing needs and preferences of the women, offering them more choice, quality, and style in their clothing. They also catered to the different segments of the market, such as the maternity, petite, and plus-size customers, as well as the working women and the party-goers.
Key factors that contributed to the success
Some of the key factors that contributed to the success of the company are:
- Its value-for-money proposition offered customers high-quality and fashionable clothing at affordable prices. They also offered frequent discounts, promotions, and sales to attract and retain customers.
- Its product range offers a variety of clothing, footwear, accessories, and beauty products for every occasion, season, and mood. They also offered exclusive collections and collaborations with other brands and celebrities, such as Biba and the Kardashians, to enhance its appeal and differentiation.
- Its customer service, offered customers a pleasant and convenient shopping experience, both online and offline. They also offered customers various benefits and rewards, such as its account card, its loyalty program, and its free delivery and returns.
- Its brand image was built on its heritage, reputation, and identity as a British women’s fashion brand. They also used effective marketing and advertising strategies, such as its celebrity endorsements, its social media presence, and its participation in fashion events and shows, to increase its awareness and recognition.
Customer schemes and loyalty programs
Dorothy Perkins offered various customer schemes and loyalty programs to enhance its customer satisfaction and loyalty. Some of these schemes and programs were:
- The Dorothy Perkins Account Card was launched in 1988 and allowed customers to buy now and pay later, as well as enjoy other benefits such as discounts, vouchers, and invitations to exclusive events.
- The VIP Club, which was launched in 2006 allowed customers to earn points for every purchase, which could be redeemed for rewards such as gift cards, free delivery, and discounts. The VIP Club also offered customers access to special offers, competitions, and previews.
- The Student Discount, offered students a 10% discount on their purchases, both online and in-store, upon verification of their student status.
- They also offer coupon codes with which you can avail up to 15% discount. You can access coupon codes from this website.
- The Refer a Friend Program offered customers a £10 off voucher for every friend they referred, who made a purchase of £40 or more. The referred friend also received a £10 off voucher.
Global expansion and its impact on the fashion industry
Dorothy Perkins expanded its presence globally, reaching over 50 countries and territories, including Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. They also operated over 400 stores worldwide, as well as several franchise and concession outlets. The company also sells its products through various online platforms, such as its own website, as well as other e-commerce sites such as Zalando, Next, and Amazon.
Their global expansion had a positive impact on the fashion industry, as it introduced its British style and quality to new markets and customers, as well as contributed to the growth and diversity of the industry. They also collaborated with local designers, suppliers, and retailers, creating opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and innovation. The company also supported various social and environmental causes, such as Breast Cancer Care, the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, and the Ethical Trading Initiative, demonstrating its corporate social responsibility and commitment to sustainability.
Dorothy Perkins (DP) is not alone in the race for fashionable goods. One of the prominent competitors is ASOS. You can read the full article about ASOS by clicking here. Back to our topic, DP has several competitive advantages compared to other fashion brands, such as:
- Its heritage and reputation gave it a strong brand equity and recognition, as well as a loyal and trustful customer base. They also had long-standing experience and expertise in the fashion industry, which enabled them to anticipate and respond to market trends and customer needs.
- Its value proposition offered customers a combination of quality, style, and affordability, as well as a wide range of products for every occasion, season, and mood. The company also offered customers exclusive collections and collaborations with other brands and celebrities, as well as frequent discounts, promotions, and sales.
- Its customer service, offered customers a pleasant and convenient shopping experience, both online and offline. They also offered customers various benefits and rewards, such as its account card, its loyalty program, and its free delivery and returns. The company also had a friendly and helpful staff, who provided customers with personal and professional advice and assistance.
- Its innovation and differentiation enabled it to stand out from the competition and attract new customers. Dorothy Perkins also invested in its product development, marketing, and technology, creating a distinctive and consistent brand image and identity. It also embraced digital and social media platforms, enhancing its online presence and customer engagement.
The evolution of Dorothy Perkins’ brand image and target audience
Dorothy Perkins’ brand image and target audience evolved over time, reflecting the changes in the fashion industry and society. Their brand image and target audience can be summarized as follows:
- In the 1910s and 1920s, the company’s brand image was based on its value-for-money proposition, offering customers affordable and practical clothing, such as knitwear and blouses. The target audience was mainly working-class women, who needed durable and comfortable clothing for their daily activities.
- In the 1930s and 1940s, the company’s brand image was influenced by Hollywood glamour and the war effort, offering customers more elegant and sophisticated clothing, such as dresses and suits. Dorothy Perkins’ target audience was more diverse, including middle-class women, who wanted to emulate the Hollywood icons, and patriotic women, who wanted to support
Future plans and goals
Dorothy Perkins has ambitious plans and goals for its future, as it aims to grow and thrive in the online fashion market. Some of these plans and goals are:
- To expand its product range and offer more categories and collections, such as activewear, loungewear, and swimwear, to cater to its customers’ diverse and changing needs and preferences.
- To enhance its online platform and offer more features and functionalities, such as personalization, recommendation, and virtual try-on, to improve its customer experience and satisfaction.
- To increase its global presence and reach new markets and customers, especially in Asia and the Middle East, where there is a high demand and potential for its British style and quality.
- To strengthen its brand image and identity, and communicate its values and vision, through effective marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as social media and influencer collaborations.
- To embrace sustainability and social responsibility, and reduce its environmental and social impact, by adopting more ethical and eco-friendly practices, such as using recycled and organic materials, supporting local and fair trade suppliers, and donating to various causes and charities.
Dorothy Perkins is a remarkable example of a British women’s fashion brand that has survived and succeeded in the competitive and dynamic fashion industry for over a century. From its humble beginnings as a hosiery and underwear retailer to its global success as an online fashion destination, they had demonstrated its ability to adapt and innovate, while staying true to its core values of offering affordable, feminine, and versatile fashion for every occasion. Dorothy Perkins has also established a loyal and satisfied customer base, who appreciate its quality, style, and service. The company has a bright and promising future ahead, as it continues to pursue its plans and goals, and strives to become a leading and influential online fashion brand.