CHARLES & KEITH, the Singapore-based fashion brand known for its premium women’s footwear and accessories, has selected Bleckmann – experts in supply chain management for fashion and lifestyle brands – as its exclusive third-party logistics (3PL) fulfilment partner in the UK and Europe. CHARLES & KEITH required a 3PL solution that could support its rapid expansion, and the partnership is expected to be a key pillar in the brand’s growth strategy.
Founded in 1996, CHARLES & KEITH has established itself as a firm favourite in Asia, with over 700 stores across the APAC region. More recently, the brand has experienced significant growth in the UK and Europe, with strong direct-to-consumer sales and several prestigious B2B partnerships. To support this growth trajectory, the brand was looking for an end-to-end fulfilment solution from an experienced 3PL partner with both a UK and European footprint.
CHARLES & KEITH was previously fulfilling the majority orders for the UK and EU from its Singapore warehouse, but the long lead times involved were proving to be a barrier to growth. “We were looking for a 3PL partner with a strong track record of helping fashion brands scale up their logistics operations while consistently maintaining the highest standards of customer service,” said Roisin Henry, Senior Regional Manager at CHARLES & KEITH. “Bleckmann was the ideal choice due to the scale of their operations, their in-depth knowledge of our target markets, their impressive existing client list and their excellent transportation network.”
Bleckmann will provide an end-to-end logistics solution, delivering CHARLES & KEITH products from the factory to the customer. The solution includes freight forwarding, customs clearance, warehousing, last-mile distribution and returns management. The brand will initially occupy 1,500 square metres at one of Bleckmann’s fulfilment centres in Swindon. Operating from this location will enable the brand to offer next-day and express delivery to its UK customers, as well as reduced delivery times for customers in continental Europe. Thanks to Bleckmann’s European presence, there is also the possibility of setting up operations in a strategic EU location for even faster delivery times.
The solution went live on 1st November, well before the start of the all-important Black Friday sales period. This fast turnaround was achieved thanks to close cooperation between the brand and the Bleckmann onboarding team to ensure that the finished solution met their exact requirements. “We couldn’t be happier with the service we received from the Bleckmann team,” continued Roisin. “From the initial consultation to the go-live and beyond, we knew that we were entering into a true partnership. The team listened to our every request and always went the extra mile to deliver a customized logistics solution.”
Bleckmann implemented a number of bespoke features tailored to the brand’s requirements. These included custom racking designed specifically for shoes and handbags, and precision value-added services (VAS) such as cleaning, polishing and refinishing. Another feature is the dedicated order tracking platform, which is linked to Bleckmann’s transportation management system (TMS) and warehouse management system (WMS). This provides superior supply-chain visibility, allowing CHARLES & KEITH customers to track the progress of their orders. Whilst also allowing C&K ‘s Team access to various WMS functions to manage and monitor day2day transactions and stock positioning at all times.
Targeting future expansion
With the new logistics solution up and running, the CHARLES & KEITH team is already looking to the future of the Bleckmann partnership. On the horizon is an expansion to one of Bleckmann’s European sites in 2024, enabling next-day delivery to customers across the continent. Other projects in the pipeline include the implementation of RFID tags on products for tracking and authentication, and the potential launch of a re-commerce offering, courtesy of Bleckmann’s circular fashion experts the Renewal Workshop team.
“Bleckmann is well known for offering fast-growing fashion brands a high degree of flexibility to support their expansion ambitions,” added Leon Pepper, Sales Business Development Manager at Bleckmann. “We do everything we can to ensure that our clients can deliver a consistently excellent level of customer service by providing both the scalability and the customisation they need. We look forward to taking the next steps with CHARLES & KEITH.”