For the last 10 or so years (derived from Couture) personalisation it’s been a great way for luxury brands to differentiate themselves from fast fashion and mass retailers.

You had Burberry launching their trench program ‘Burberry Bespoke’ (setting you back anywhere between $3000 – $9000),  Louis Vuitton with their ‘Mon Monogram’ bag, where you can have your initials printed on an LV bag; then there’s Mulberry’s monogramming, Gucci’s embossing, La Perla’s made-to-measure and most recently Prada with their custom Brogues.

(from left to right): Burberry Bespoke, Louis Vuitton Mon Monogram and Prada's bespoke brogues.

Personalisation adds a level of exclusivity to these brands and it’s a nice defensive play against mass retailers like Zara, H&M or even Ikea. Personalisation is not financially or operationally viable for these lower-cost operators (at the moment). Plus, it’s just not the business they are in.

But this is where things get interesting. Enter the internet and some people with (some would say ‘too much’) time on their hands….and what we’re now seeing is the customer ‘hacking’ mass retailers goods to make it their own.

This ‘hacking’ has become some what of a cult with websites like ikeahackers.com and pinterest boards full of ways to customise mass market goods popping up.

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We think this is an interesting trend to note, because it’s so heavily being driven by the consumer and access to technology. They have created a ‘workaround’ for these brands that operationally (currently) can’t customise and they’re spreading their knowledge on a scale that has never been seen before.

 Now the trick if you’re a mass retailer is to work out how to take advantage of this…

Author Pippa Kulmar

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