Charles & Keith, established in 1996 in Singapore, is a fast-fashion retailer offering fashionable and high-quality footwear, bags, eyewear, and costume jewelry specifically designed for contemporary Asian women. The brand is renowned for its well-curated collections of fashion-forward designs that are both affordable and easily accessible. In just 22 years since its establishment, Charles & Keith has expanded its operations to include over 600 stores with a workforce of over 5,000 employees across various regions including Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
Pioneers In E-commerce Marketing
Back in 2004, when e-commerce was still a new concept, Charles & Keith stood out as a pioneer, becoming the first retail company in Singapore to launch an online store. This first-mover advantage allowed the brand to leverage the fast-growing online customer segment and generate revenue from countries where it had no physical presence. The brand’s commitment to e-commerce was evident when it decided to close down all its stores in Japan in 2016, choosing to focus solely on its e-commerce strategy.
Today, Charles & Keith delivers its products to more than 70 countries worldwide, managed by a dedicated e-commerce team that ensures efficient packaging and shipping. With a user-friendly website, shoppers can easily search and filter products by size, color, material, and price, quickly finding the style they desire. The website’s zoom feature allows shoppers to closely examine the details of each item, replicating the in-store shopping experience.
Using Sustainability to its Strength in Marketing
Charles & Keith is committed to sustainability, focusing on humanity, people, and the environment. The brand collaborates with international organizations such as UNWOMEN and Breast Cancer Foundation to support philanthropic causes. For example, for International Women’s Day in 2018, 20% of the proceeds from the sale of an exclusive collection went to the Singapore Committee for UN Women. The brand also collaborates with fair-trade business, Freeset, to create products using 100% organic cotton, supporting marginalized women in a fair and healthy working environment. To reduce its carbon footprint, Charles & Keith has been using FSC-certified paper since 2010 and participates in environmental initiatives such as Earth Hour.
Early Adopter in Social Media Marketing
Just like e-commerce marketing, Charles & Keith was an early adopter of social media marketing. The brand possesses a strong following of over 2.8 million on Facebook, 1.9 million on Instagram, and 9.25K subscribers on YouTube as of March 2023. The brand’s Instagram feed features fashion-forward images of models wearing its merchandise in various settings. The brand engages with its followers by responding to comments and featuring influencers wearing its products on its blog and social media using hashtags such as #ImWithCharlesKeith and #CharlesKeithCurates.
Charles & Keith’s seasonal brand campaigns, similar to luxury fashion brands, establish the brand as high-quality and in sync with couture trends. Each campaign includes glossy magazine-worthy photos and a video, often inspired by social issues relevant to their target consumer. The brand blog, “Charles & Keith Says,” supports the campaigns with style write-ups and fashion advice from influencers, product features, and visuals. The brand has hired celebrity photography duo Chuando & Frey for its ad campaigns, elevating its perception. An example of a campaign is Spring/Summer 2018’s “Garden State,” examining society’s dependence on mass media while emphasizing a desire to return to nature.
The Singaporean brand has always had the advantage of adapting to new tools and techniques of business and marketing. This has immensely worked in its favor for years. Moreover, its well-rounded efforts in using various channels to create the brand’s presence and elevate its stature have been widely accepted and encouraged by its audience.
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