FEATURE: Triumph and the Makers

As the winner of Triumph’s Supporting Women in Making competition is announced, and with the brand’s West End pop-up shop due to close, Jessica Dudley talks to Sarah Blackman about where the idea for the campaign stemmed from and the brand’s plans for next season.

Venerable brand Triumph International has revealed the winner of its ‘Supporting Women in Making’ competition, an empowering project which sought out to champion female ‘makers’ in a number of creative fields.

Milliner Lizzie McQuade was awarded a £10,000 bursary to help start up her business, and will receive year’s worth of mentoring from the celebrity ‘Makers Collective’, including Serbian fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic, who can count the Duchess of Cambridge and Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow amongst her A-list fans, along with singer Paloma Faith, food writer Gizzi Erksine and fashion stylist Grace Woodward.

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As well as the winner, Triumph has supported a number of women in making through its pop-up shop Maison Triumph in 7 Dials, Covent Garden, which will close in January. From there, the brand selected the top 20 finalists, including a skull artist, shoe maker, chocolatier, jewellery maker and furniture designer, who were able to showcase their work, retail from the store and share their skills with the community by hosting a series of workshops.

So where did the idea for the campaign stem from? Brand marketing manager Jessica Dudley explains: “Triumph is a brand that really cares about your body – that’s why we put so much innovation into the product detailing and the fit detailing, but actually the connection goes a bit deeper than that. Triumph can connect with women on lots of different levels.”

“The Makers idea came from us really looking at the Triumph brand pillars, which talk about feminine confidence, integrity and empathy and we really wanted to do something that built on what that brand ethos is, as well as staying true to the product,” explains Dudley.

With a brand story in mind, Triumph’s first task was to reach out to inspirational women, who were already at the top of their creative fields and who could champion the campaign. This is where the Makers Collective came in.

“Paloma, for us, is really imaginative and inspirational. She has pushed and pushed to make it on her own and she is obviously highly creative as well. She has a great story to tell because she has always had her own mentor and her own champion – her mum – who has always kept Paloma inspired,” says Dudley.

Gizzy Erksine, who previously held a career as a tattoo artist, was also helped by a mentor while she was training to be a cook at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London.

“It came to a crunch point where she thought she might not be able to afford to continue her studies, but the head of the school actually offered to sponsor her because she is so talented,” Dudley adds.

“So that’s how she managed to complete her culinary training – through a mentor. It’s these kinds of stories that really resonated with us. So that’s why we wanted to use our mentors to help other women.”

Triumph then decided to use a pop up space as a platform to support ‘new’ makers.

Opened on September 13, Maison Triumph began to offer three workshops a week where consumers could gain new skills and designers could learn from like-minded individuals.

As well as the community aspect of the campaign, there is a commercial one as well, says Dudley. “We’ve had one of our finalists sell a piece of work for £2500 in the space. That actually happened at the launch party. Also, some of the jewellery designers we are working with have seen an uplift of about 30% in their sales since they started taking part in the project.

So it’s great that we are able to offer this platform and really show that Triumph is a brand that communities and cares about women in more than a one-dimensional way,” she explains.

Maison Triumph – the brand’s first stand alone W1 location – has also performed well as a retail space for lingerie; at the time of writing, it was 160% up on sales targets.

“It’s been received incredibly well from every level, from the press, consumers and buyers. It’s a great showcase for us to tell the story of Triumph, retail and it’s an organic community space – there’s always something happening in the space,” says Dudley.

So are their plans in the pipeline for a permanent Triumph boutique in London’s West End? “It’s not something we’ll be looking at next year,” states Dudley.

“The pop-up is a really great platform for us because Triumph is a really evolving, progressive brand and the pop-up allows us to tell a variety of different brand stories. It’s almost a lot quicker and a lot easier to turn around a campaign in a pop-up than it would be in our own retail unit.”

Triumph will continue to support Women in Making next year, but the project will evolve in ways that cannot yet be announced. The brand will also continue its London Fashion Week sponsorship for the fourth season in a row, Lingerie Insight can reveal.

“London Fashion Week is an incredible platform and it’s also a great way for us to show that the Triumph product has so many uses. I always think of Triumph as a true lingerie wardrobe because we don’t cater to a one-dimensional woman. Women don’t wear super sexy lingerie every day of the week and similarly, they don’t wear their basic lingerie every day of the week,” says Dudley.

“Our seamless, invisible styles are perfect for London Fashion Week showcases, but actually more and more, people are asking for a high waist shapewear styles because they want the product to be visible on the catwalk as well. This season, we had a number of visible pieces on the Roksanda Ilincic catwalk. Because she uses so many chiffon layers, she actually wanted something really high waisted and really embellished to wear underneath her garments.”

Triumph will also continue to work with independent retailers next year. A sponsor of the Independent Retailer of the Year category at the 2013 UK Lingerie Awards, the brand is about to complete its most successful season with this group of stores.

“Normally we would place around 50 window campaigns, but this season we executed over a 100 window campaigns nationwide. On average, you see around a 25 to 30% uplift in sales when you place in a window kit, so it’s great that we’ve been able to support them in this way,” explains Dudley.




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