Hype is a British streetwear brand catering to a wide range of consumers, creating distinctly bold, bright colours for a decidedly ‘hip’ image. Its brash, in-your-face impressions adorn t-shirts, kidswear, backpacks, hoodies, intimate apparel, and other pieces, and are sold via the company’s own website and a growing network of retailers, including Next, Zalando, BooHoo, John Lewis, and The Very Group.
“We like to see ourselves as a lifestyle brand,” said Jade Bell, Marketing Manager at Hype. “Hype is all about showcasing your individuality and personality, so we like to make sure our core band DNA values are showcased through our products. We have the Gen Z audience, the Millennials, the younger generation and also adults – a huge range of customers.”
The company’s marketing strategy reflects the boldness of its apparel, regularly including collaborations and public relations stunts involving such brands as Lego, Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and KFC.
Hype saw great opportunity to expand its market share and fulfilment capabilities by tapping into the growing KornitX Global Fulfilment Network, which offered fast, sustainable, on-demand digital fulfilment nearer the end consumer – a lean, low-risk mechanism for producing consistent, high-quality gear with limited upfront technology investment.
Long-term, the goal is to create a global print-on demand network. We could print in multiple locations while maintaining our high quality standards.
“Kornit allows us to respond a lot faster to trends,” said Jake Paling, who oversees art and data handling for Hype. “Historically, if something gets really popular, we take two or three months to react to it, and it’s already gone. Direct-to garment is a great tool for this, and allows us more flexibility. It gives us a lot more freedom with our designs – we can create.”
“We can explore avenues that we possibly wouldn’t have explored before,” added Luke Russell, Head of Design at Hype. “We can take a few more risks in terms of the designs we’re creating. We can put five designs onto a website and see if it sticks, instead of having to commit to one with a queue of 300 or 500, whatever that might be.”
Not only is Kornit technology helping Hype to become a more prolific creative engine, but it’s revealed a streamlined pathway to answering the sustainability imperative, a challenge that has brought increasingly strident regulations throughout Europe and the fashion industry more broadly.
“When a product comes to the end of its shelf life, it’s been there long enough to discount it, get it off the shelves and into the customer’s wardrobe rather than sticking it in a landfill,” said Mark Ford, Hype’s Head of E-commerce Operations. “We don’t want to take it to the landfill. We’re very conscious of the environment. We won’t just work with anybody; we look at the CO2 emissions of raw mail, DPD, and everything else that goes on inside the business, rather than just fast fashion, throw it out as quick as we can.”
“I think there’s a lot of greenwashing within the industry,” said Russell. “In this modern day of social media, content is so quick to market, and it means the consumer is expecting newness constantly. The consumer wants to see new designs on a website every day. It’s a real struggle for Hype to keep up with that and keep the sustainable message present. Introducing direct-to-garment into the business means we can print on demand to cut inventory within the warehouse.”
Hype is able to meet this challenge by establishing a localised fulfillment strategy and working with an array of retailers who are eager to bring new products that appeal to all age groups.
“The long-plan goal would be to open up a global network for print-on-demand,” said Russell. “We could print garments in multiple locations, while ensuring each product met our quality standards. But we wouldn’t have to hold stock in multiple locations across Europe, Asia, and the U.K. We could sell an item and distribute it with no inventory. We’re going to be able to really reach a mass audience, and the money we were spending on inventory can be dedicated to other areas within the business.”
Back-to-school, Black Friday and other peak periods are a time of high demand for many apparel brands. Being able to produce real-time, in line with what’s actually selling, is a powerful way to eliminate overproduction and ensure a healthy bottom-line.
Ford claims to have offered up to 40.000 unique SKUs in peak periods. This can be equivalent to over 250,000 different items.
“We were storing (our inventory) in a warehouse, so we were sitting on a lot of stock, about 30% of which doesn’t sell within the time window,” said Shiv Arora, Project Manager at Hype. “It’s not great for the business, and it’s not great for the environment, either. And another thing is, obviously, to get that stock, it needs to come through their supply chain and it’s coming from China or Turkey or Pakistan, so it has its own carbon footprint as well.”
KornitX can eliminate a lot of these risks. It allows Hype the freedom to integrate with fulfillment providers and marketplaces as they please, and create only what’s being sold.
“This technology has opened the door for us for these marketplaces and benefits like not having to worry about inventory sinking,” said Arora. “Using Kornit we can just launch our designs overnight, and it works for us and it works for them. It’s all automated, so as a customer you’re placing an order on Next, and you simply get the order from us. We literally pick, pack, and ship the order same day or next day, and you have nothing to worry about.”
Hype currently operates in 27 countries. Although the UK is its largest market the company’s growth has been significant throughout Europe and in the Far East. It is currently integrating with Walmart and Costco, as well, to expand the brand’s footprint in the United States.
Watch the Hype video testimonial…