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Whistles

Since 1992, Clipper has been working in partnership with many leading and high-value retailers in the UK. In January 2011, Clipper won a four-year contract to receive and distribute all clothing and accessories for Whistles, the cutting edge, womenswear fashion brand.

The Customer

Founded in the early 80s by Lucille and Richard Lewin, Whistles has recently reinvented itself under the helm of Jane Shepherdson, who was appointed Chief Executive in 2008. Credited with having transformed Topshop into a global success, Jane initiated the launch of a new brand identity leading to an overhaul of its collection. Whistles now offers an affordable, high-quality, fashion-forward clothing range that is popular with high-profile celebrities and fashion icons, such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Louise Redknapp and Fearne Cotton.

Whistles has 37 standalone stores across the UK and Ireland, and 49 concessions, including upmarket retailers Harvey Nichols and Harrods. Internationally it has links in Paris and Dubai, and is increasingly popular online, with a very strong presence on ASOS and JLP.

The Challenge

Historically, Whistles logistics was handled by Aurora in shared facilities with four other brands. Due to the increase in popularity and growing demand for the clothing range, it became necessary to look for an alternative logistics provider with the flexibility and facilities to accommodate the brand’s future growth plans.

Whistles approached Clipper in 2010 to manage their complete logistics solution, with cutover from Aurora planned for the end of January 2011 and a ‘go-live’ date of 2nd February. The ‘go-live’ was to include being fully operational on Goods In, Pick and Despatch, and e-Commerce.

The Solution

Based on its ethos of ‘agility matched by ability’, Clipper quickly set about working in partnership with Whistles to understand their exact requirements, appointing Ross Lee as General Manager. Ross worked alongside Whistles’ Director of IT and Logistics, David Mold, to facilitate the cutover from Aurora to its dedicated Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes.

At the beginning of January 2011, Clipper appointed Sam Clark as Contract Manager to oversee the warehouse that would house the Whistles contract next to an established client. The plan was to make use of the many synergies between the contracts, while ensuring that both customers were treated individually.

Whistles used the move over as an opportunity to change their warehouse management system, drawing on Clipper’s valuable experience with their chosen WMS supplier, Retail Assist.

The Result

The ‘go-live’ launch was a great success and was completed within four weeks of taking possession of the warehouse space. The new systems were implemented and warehouse facilities completed, and the first store despatches left the building as scheduled, on 2nd February 2011.

Despite the challenges faced, such as a new IT system and a completely new team, everyone rose to the occasion admirably, working closely with the customer to meet their expectations and quickly adopting ‘The Clipper Way’.

In order to service this contract, Clipper employs a dedicated team supported by administration, QC and supervision. The team is able to fulfil all of the intake, store picking and despatch, e-commerce and returns by flexing staff between departments throughout the day.

Whistles has now revealed plans to expand its e-commerce operation and Clipper is supporting them throughout this process.

Since ‘go-live’, Clipper has also supported the store build for two new Whistles stores.

Client Testimonial

“We are delighted to be working with Clipper. Clipper’s extensive knowledge of both the clothing and e-fulfilment markets has proved invaluable, and has provided us with a tailor-made solution that meets the specific requirements of our business and also the ever-changing demands of our customers. We look forward to a continued successful working partnership.” David Mold, Director of IT & Logistics, Whistles

Clipper Testimonial

“We are very pleased to have secured such a significant contract and to have assisted the retailer with creating an independent system and logistics platform, which ensures flexibility and facilitates the brand’s future growth plans. We look forward to building our relationship with Whistles moving forward.” Ross Lee, General Manager, Clipper

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