Here we are again - closing out one year and looking forward at what's to come in the next! It's a tradition of ours to share some reflections and make commitments for the future of our community. Brass is what it is because of the constant communication with you, our incredible women, so let's take a look back at our learnings from 2019 and how we'll apply our takeaways in 2020 - it's gonna be a great year!
EXTENDING OUR SIZE RANGE
We started off the year by extending our size range up to 3X (Size 24) for six of our Core styles. In order to do this properly, we invested in a new fit model, new patterns, and more time with our technical designer. We continued to add more styles throughout the year and now currently carry 18 styles in sizes XXS-3X.
- What We Learned in 2019: To be totally honest, we thought the addition of these sizes would immediately bring a new customer to Brass. And while this was true in part, the demand has not been overwhelming - we were naive to think that this would be an easy endeavor. The greatest demand has come from women in the size 14, 16, and 18 size range and we have a lot of room for improvement in the fit and grading of our sizes XL and 1X.
- What We're Taking Into 2020: We’re focusing our efforts on XL and 1X so the fit of these sizes works better. Our goal is to reduce the difference between these two sizes, making a smoother transition. Going forward our XL will be equivalent to a 14/16 and the 1X to a 18/20. This change will allow us to make all new styles work for women up to size 16 (our most highly demanded size) which we are very excited about! And we will continue to roll out more Core styles up to size 24.
IMPROVED MATERIALS & FIBERS
Throughout the course of the year, we worked with more sustainable fibers and formed relationships with innovative mills. While this wasn't an express goal for 2019, it was on our radar and our growth made it possible for us to afford and buy fabrics for which we previously could not meet the minimums.
- What We Learned in 2019: Initially, we were apprehensive to introduce more sustainable fibers, like Wave Weave (made from Modal), because of the wrinkle-factor. We've received complaints from women in the past when we used Tencel and Viscose and we understand how many women rely on Brass to help them look polished and put-together. However, we were blown away by the response to Wave Weave and some of our new yarns (like the Cotton/Modal for The Ribbed Cardigan)!
- What We're Taking Into 2020: We're not afraid of wrinkling anymore ;) We discovered even more incredible mills and cannot wait to introduce you to them and their fabrics. It's an express goal of ours in 2020 to be using sustainable fibers whenever possible and even to try to transition some of our Core products away from synthetics entirely. We will continue to keep performance, quality, and care top of mind as we make these adjustments, but we are also prioritizing our environment in a way that we haven't before.
BETTER PRODUCT ASSORTMENT
We added some really pivotal new categories this year - suiting and denim! The Blazer and Suit Pant were particularly well-received and built on our suiting with The City Jacket and City Pant at the end of the year.
- What We Learned in 2019: More product doesn't always equal more sales. We have found that we do better with a tighter, more focused product assortment and story. When we marry the right silhouettes with incredible fabrics, thinking deeply about the time of year and purpose within your wardrobe - that's when we make magic happen! Also, we learned that you're not afraid of color and neither are we :)
- What We're Taking into 2020: Less is more! Each month we will be launching 3 very specific new styles, making monthly "Kits" and showing how everything works with the Brass you already own. We're looking at the entire year holistically, ensuring that pieces mix-and-match to create a cohesive annual wardrobe. Some months may have a few extra surprises, but we're really concentrating on a less is more approach, where intention and quality are of the utmost importance.
INCREASED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The Guild blew us away this year! We really put time and attention into growing this community and we got so much more than we ever expected in return. This group has brought so much joy and insight into our daily life in the office - not a day goes by where we don't refer to the Guild!
- What We Learned in 2019: You get back what you put in. We set an intention in growing this group at the end of 2018 and we really backed this up with increased engagement from our team on multiple levels. We started talking about the group in more places (like email and on social) and inviting more women to participate. In return, women shared more and made the space their own! We are blown away by the increase in overall engagement and the quality of conversation and help that women show each other in this virtual space!
- What We're Taking Into 2020: Try to figure out new ways to bring the positive energy of The Guild into more areas of the brand. We’ll be thinking of more ways to bring the Guild onto our site and in-person. Keep an eye out as we try to make the Buy/Sell/Trade thread happen in real life at The Beacon Hill Shop in January. Being a part of Brass is about the clothes but it is also about so much more. We’re excited to explore the potential of telling your stories and the values that tie our community together. If you're not in The Guild yet, we highly suggest joining here!
Thank you for another great year! Whether you purchased from Brass, posted in The Guild, opened our emails, told a friend or liked a photo on IG, all of these actions were in support of this thing we are building and we cannot thank you enough. If you have thoughts or feedback, we're all ears and can be reached individually via our emails below (we mean it when we say you'll get a response :) Can't wait to see what 2020 has in store!
With love & gratitude,
Jay & Katie
firstname.lastname@example.org // email@example.com