Founded by brothers Henry & George Graham in 2010 with a small boutique in Notting Hill, Wolf & Badger utilises the high global demand for independent design and replicates the physical retail concept in an online platform. Here, RLI speaks with George Graham, Co-Founder of Wolf & Badger to learn more about the concept behind this ambitious company.
The company was founded with the intention of disrupting a deteriorating high street and to solve the problems of physical retail in a digital world. Wolf & Badger provides a platform which takes the effort out of finding and sourcing sustainably and ethically produced jewellery, fashion, accessories, homeware and beauty, without compromising on quality and design.
Primarily the business operates through its online marketplace where they connect over 900 ethical bands with customers from around the world. They also have stores in London and New York which are used to host events and engage with local communities and the two storefronts also serve as content hubs to help boost its online presence.
“Like most businesses, we have had to radically reassess our plans and priorities because of the coronavirus,” explains George Graham, Co-Founder of Wolf & Badger. “Notably, we were mid-way through planning some further physical expansion with a store in Los Angeles to help scale our California operations. However, because we have not been able to travel to the US during the last few months, this has been put on hold for the time being.”
The safety and wellbeing of its staff and customers is paramount to Wolf & Badger, and because of this they actually closed their stores before being mandated to by government guidelines. When it did come time to re-open their locations, they put in place all the necessary new processes along with many more to ensure they were able to operate in a safe and compliant manner.
“Our head office team continues to work very effectively on a remote basis and we are adapting our overall company policies to reflect the new normal. While it has been a difficult few months for everyone, we have really come together as a team and community to make things work,” explains Graham.
Most recently the brand’s two London stores have been consolidated into one flagship London location in the vibrant new Coal Drops Yard area of King’s Cross. The entire premises has been transformed into a dynamic and exciting space where people can go and spend the entire day, meet friends, shop, eat, drink and experience something new.
In the coming months the business will be resuming its plans for Los Angeles as well as continuing to scale its online reach in the US. They are also looking at some additional opportunities in the EU, particularly Germany where they now have a significant online presence.
Graham feels that there is still plenty of room for growth in the UK, alongside substantial additional potential in the US and Europe. Away from these markets, he feels there is growing potential in China and the South-East Asia region, and that the company is already beginning to see some strong online sales in these regions.
Innovation is one of the core values of Wolf & Badger and this is demonstrated by the range of proprietary technology solutions they have built over the last few years to help independent brands scale internationally with ease.
“We are rapidly growing our engineering teams to ensure we continue to deliver the very best solutions for the brands we work with, to help create a seamless customer experience when buying from these brands, regardless of where in the world they are based,” says Graham.
From day one the business had a global outlook and mind-set of working with designers from all around the globe. Whilst its website is global, they tailor their offer to different markets and in the case of its New York store it carries a different selection of products and brands to suit the local market. Whilst they of course cater to a global customer base and carry brands from all around the world, it remains hugely important to them to be conscious of local nuances and adapt their product offering accordingly.
“We offer something very different and unique to any other retailer, with over 35,000 products across not only apparel and accessories categories but also now homeware, beauty and other lifestyle verticals. This broad yet curated selection of products and brands combined through our technology solutions and augmented with traditional retail customer service and experience really attracts customers and continues to bring them back,” Graham points out.
He goes on to explain that ultimately, they are only as strong as the incredible independent ethical brands that they carry through the platform, and the truly innovative and individual nature of the brands is what really makes Wolf & Badger what it is.
“Our vision is to innovate and disrupt distribution for global commerce, sustainably,” Graham explains. “We are just at the start of our journey, so expect to see a lot more from Wolf & Badger over the months and years to come.”