Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aries - The Old Times Hair Accessories Haven

Aries, a hair accessories chain has been around since forever. I remember it being around when I was a kid, and my mum would sometimes bring me in to shop with her.

Aries sells mostly hair accessories, like a whole wall of hairbands, all sorts of clips, combs, wigs, mirrors, scissors and whatnot. It also carries other accessories like rings, bangles, scarves, belts and more, but in much lower quantity. As well as nail polishes, very obscure and small brands of makeup.

However, over the years, there seem to be sprout in the number of accessories boutique, such as Chameleon, Chomel, and Diva. And all these new brands have chic, bright and oh-so-nice ambience. In particular, I feel the chain that poses the greatest challenge to Aries is Chameleon.

Chameleon is the one that you sprouting up everywhere, and at very eye-catching locations. As compared to slightly higher end boutiques like Chomel and Diva, which only locates at city areas.
I must admit that I am one of those who fell victim to Chameleon. And every outlet I see, I just can't resist the temptation to step in. I particularly like the ultra bright lights, white-washed floors and walls, and the exceedingly neat categorization of items, plus built-on-shelf mirrors on every shelf.

Even if I don't buy anything, it is just so nice for a girl to step in and preen herself like nobody's business.

It really all started when I started to grow my hair long. I had to tie my hair everyday because of the school rules, and as a Gemini, I couldn't stick to one colour or one pattern. So I went to look around for nice scrunchies. And Chameleon always stocks nice scrunchies. I can't find the same thing at the same shine and same quality at other places like May Fashion of Aries.

Though these other places sold everything at much cheaper prices, they didn't bother to restock frequently enough, and update to the latest pretty things. Scrunchies remained at pass level of black and blue.

So the love-hate game with Chameleon began. I can't stand how certain bling bling items could be sold for as much as $100+, and a normal clip would cost somewhere between $5 - $10. But if it is unique enough so that I wear it often, I guess, I just have to go with it.

All these endured until some time last week, when I discovered that Aries carried the latest fashion of hairbands. Those with super-sized exaggerated hats or flowers, like the one you see on the Caucasian model for Orchard Central ad, pasted all over the MRT.

Pretty amazed that Aries is making effort to reinvent themselves.

I am quite interested at marketing and branding, especially of fashion/skincare retail. And I like to watch how people do things, look at why some brands succeed after remake, some brands don't, spot which are the failing brands and think about how they should revamp, etc and etc.

Right now, I think Aries is one of those in need of rebranding. Maybe not renovation, I hate renovation because it means passing on the extra cost to customers. But sales would run faster if they give a counter to more popular and quality items like Rainbow Nail Polish and the latest trendy items, like the hairbands.

Merchandising is a good way to kick off the rebranding. As this means more astute purchasing/sourcing for items that catch on quickly from the New York/Paris runway. Nowadays this becomes easier because of massive remakes and manufacturing in places like China and Thailand. This translate into highly affordable fashion.

Okay, I guess I should end my post here before I go on and on, rambling about marketing theories and strategies. (Geminis can talk all day long... ... :PPP Please pardon me.)

PS: Will upload the photo for my loot soon.

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