Home Retail Q&A: Joe Irons, chief marketing officer at Charles Tyrwhitt

Q&A: Joe Irons, chief marketing officer at Charles Tyrwhitt

by Ozva Admin


Here we chat with Joe Irons, Marketing Director at Charles Tyrwhitt, about the recent launch of the menswear brand’s new store concept at Centre:mk in Milton Keynes.

What is the strategy behind the new store design format?

We know that our customers make conscious decisions each morning about how to dress for the next day. In days gone by, work wardrobes for many men were simple: a nice suit and a formal dress shirt. We’ve done a lot of work to make our product offering more relevant to the way men dress now. We can see that men’s workwear trends are changing and the lines between weekdays and weekends are blurring.

Increasingly, we know that our customer is varying their workwear wardrobe with chinos, more casual shirts and polos, knitwear and jackets, all of which are on the cutting edge; and, in fact, this carries over to the evening and weekend wardrobes. Our new store design is very focused on how to best present the modern man’s wardrobe, while still showing off our Tyrwhitt charm.

Their new debut store design was opened at Centre:mk in Milton Keynes. Can you tell us why you chose this place?

We chose Centre:mk because we were confident that it would appeal to our target customer and we were able to agree on a reasonable business model. On top of that, we’ve always had a soft spot for Milton Keynes as it’s home to our UK distribution center and customer service team.

How is your Centre:mk store performing so far?

We are delighted with the customer reaction and pleased with our initial sales response. We expect trading to strengthen further as we approach the peak trading period.

Can you tell us about the launch of this new store format and what the process is like?

Centre:mk Milton Keynes was the first new location Charles Tyrwhitt opened this year, but we’ve quickly followed with new stores in Reading, London Victoria and Chelmsford. We are also applying elements of our Centre:mk store design to some of our existing stores.

This is the brand’s first new store since 2018, can you tell us a bit about what the future looks like for Charles Tyrwhitt?

Charles Tyrwhitt is a multi-channel retailer operating in various international markets. Our focus is largely on further increasing our brand footprint and customer reach, continuing to make our clothing relevant to our customers, and attracting new customers to the brand.

What is the most exciting in-store experience that Charles Tyrwhitt offers his customers?

Without a doubt our personalized t-shirt service! Customers have one-on-one time with our in-store experts, and they design the entire shirt, from bean to mug. We bring that design to life, from the selected fabrics to the smallest aesthetic details. It is a super satisfactory process for our team and clients as well.

Tell us a bit about some of the brand’s sustainable initiatives.

We are proud to have implemented our shirt recycling plan and our customers are really making the most of it, which is great to see. Customers can simply bring in their old shirts and polos, Tyrwhitt or otherwise, and we send them to The British Heart Foundation for resale if in good condition or for recycling. Either way, we are saving shirts that were destined for landfill and as a retailer we need to be responsible for avoiding waste to the best of our ability. After all, our shirts are built to last, so they deserve a second life.

As a thank you, customers get money off a new t-shirt, so it’s the definition of a win-win. We have also partnered with Planet Mark and Ecologi to first measure our carbon footprint, then design a plan to reduce our carbon emissions, and finally offset the balance. As a result, we are pleased to have become a carbon neutral company.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities you see for the business in the coming years?

Clearly, there are a number of macro headwinds for retailers to navigate at the moment and there are no signs of this abating in the near future. That said, strong and differentiated brands that are close to what their customers want will be well positioned to weather the storms. We see many opportunities both in domestic markets and internationally in stores and online.

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