Classy, spontaneous, and a bit bold. That’s the best way to describe Dstrezzed’s style. As the ‘brotherhood of the modern gent’, they have been allowing the modern man to enjoy the finer things in life for about 13 years. An exciting philosophy that we would like to know more about…
We speak to Michiel de Rooij, who is co-responsible for strategic development of the organization at Dstrezzed, about the shift from wholesale to omnichannel, growing with the right software, brotherhood, sustainability, as well as the brand’s challenges and ambitions.
The origin of ‘the brotherhood of the modern gent’
In 2010, when founder Eric Aarden sees that the retail industry is changing dramatically and retailers are struggling due to the rise of fast fashion brands, he identifies a gap in the market. He wants his product to be a life-saver for retailers. Under the guise of “Don’t stress, we’ll do it together”, the brand Dstrezzed is born. The spirit of collaboration is still deeply woven into the brand and its octagon symbol.
Michiel: “The shape of the octagon is our symbol of brotherhood. We create a brotherhood of retailers, suppliers, employees and consumers, who are connected by honest and authentic relationships, as well as the mindset that life is an adventure that we all need to make the most of.”
Meanwhile, as a full-loop brand for about 13 years, Dstrezzed has been designing everything that a modern man needs, from chinos, jackets, sweaters, pants and shoes to perfume and laptop sleeves, with the latest collaboration even featuring wall paint in the exact same style.
“We believe that enjoying the finer things in life can be more easily enjoyed in clothing that is comfortable and high-quality. Our designs combine two worlds of style, and we like to be a bit rebellious. By creating classic and sophisticated items with an unexpected twist, while still paying attention to style, comfort and quality, we continue to surprise and give the modern man the freedom to enjoy life.”
From traditional wholesaler to omnichannel brand
From the head office in Badhoevedorp, near Amsterdam, and the distribution center in Roosendaal, everything is prepared for all the countries, in which Dstrezzed operates. Originally starting with retailers in the Netherlands, the focus has now shifted to the entire Benelux, DACH region and France. An in-house sales team is also surrounded by a network of international agents. Dstrezzed’s role as a purely wholesale company has also changed toward an omnichannel brand in recent years.
“Originally we were a real wholesaler. We made a collection, went out and sold our brand at different retailers. From day one, we did our best to reflect beautiful images and a good story in our content, but in the end that wasn’t enough. And to really get your brand across, you have to be visible. And add value and experience. And, therefore, also connect with the consumers yourself. Ultimately, you want your brand to stand out in a multi-brand environment. That is why we have worked hard in recent years to add other sales channels. So we started opening our own stores and adding online channels, such as our own webshop in the Netherlands and Germany. And Marketplaces like Zalando in order to create more visibility as well.”
In addition, the brand has significantly invested in marketing to support retailers and strengthen the brand experience in the eyes of the customers. Over the past year, the web shop has received a complete redesign and reorganization to support retailers with sales.
“We also always shoot our campaigns in special locations. For example, we went to Norway for the winter collection and to the US for the new summer collection. We sponsor all kinds of events to create a little fun and excitement for our wholesale customer. And we even have our own Jeep Wrangler, completely in Dstrezzed style.”
From separate tools to one complete software solution with Itsperfect
The transition from wholesaler to omnichannel player also created the need for a different IT architecture. That’s where in 2017 Itsperfect’s fashion ERP software comes in.
“We were working with a tool for sales orders, in which purchase orders were still a manual process. Itsperfect was able to connect the wholesale module to a good purchasing module. This allowed us to streamline our inventory much better to the sales forecast we had made and ultimately better deliver on our promise to our customers. With insight, with the ability to learn and do it a little better next year, that’s how we started with Itsperfect.”
Software that supports a multichannel approach
As one of Itsperfect’s early adopters, a true partnership has developed between the two parties over the past seven years.
“We actually took the journey in development together. That was also really fun! Itsperfect had a certain focus to develop things of which we thought: that’s useful, we can apply that too, and vice versa. I think we also shared some ideas that Itsperfect benefited from. That’s how we helped each other grow.”
Michiel adds: “To increase our brand awareness, we wanted to set up our own webshop, add stores and become visible on all channels. Itsperfect offered the ability to unlock all these functions within one application. Over time, the software has become stronger, more complete and even better suited to the needs that we have as a company in those sales channels. In that sense, Itsperfect really helps support our business model.”
Insight across all departments
Dstrezzed uses the whole range of modules and features available within Itsperfect, from the B2B webshop and retail module to Marketplaces, consignment, Intercompany, EDI, budgets, Vendor Managed Inventory and the Warehouse Management System. The biggest benefit of this?
“That everything is organized in one system, allowing a limited number of people to use many functionalities in the application. So insight about different departments can be found in that one solution. And it’s all nicely compatible with each other. That’s really a very big advantage, especially the internal modules.”
In addition to modularity, the user-friendliness of the software is also highly valued within the team.
“The user interface is self-explanatory. It’s very clear, which helped tremendously when we got started. We’re not an organization with a lot of overhead, so it’s nice that someone across functions and departments can easily do their job. And the fact that, on the weekend, our owner can walk through town, go into a store and take a quick look at the Itsperfect app to see how sales are actually going in the country that day… that’s a nice feature!”
In doing so, Michiel also sees the added value of the growing number of ambitious brands that work with Itsperfect on a daily basis.
“A big advantage is that the software is developed not just on the basis of our wishes, but also according to the needs and requests of new customers. A very convincing aspect of the system is that you’re not always the one who has to put a lot of work into one component yourself. Instead, tools are developed that we haven’t thought of ourselves, but can get value from.”
New user-friendly WMS for logical flows
A great example of this is the Warehouse Management System that Dstrezzed has been working with for a long time, which was completely redeveloped in the last quarter of 2023. It’s a module to which Dstrezzed was also able to provide its input, along with other brands, resulting in a complete warehouse solution that is on par with many best-of-breed packages.
The updated WMS was therefore welcomed with open arms at the distribution center in Roosendaal, where the module was extensively tested before going live for all brands. Dstrezzed handles the entire logistics process in-house, from wholesale, e-commerce and marketplaces to retail and franchise, everything is controlled from one warehouse through the WMS.
“The new WMS is really a top-notch feature that is going to benefit us a lot. One of the great things about it is that we work with one stock, which we can deploy across all channels. For the logistics user it doesn’t really matter which channel they are operating for. They are very logically directed by the warehouse to do the work. Though often not seen that way, a WMS significantly impacts a company. For example, logistics has a lot of impact on your performance, your customer satisfaction, the speed of delivery, how the customer ultimately experiences it, and how he receives his goods. This is also extremely important for your brand experience and the way you work with your customers. So you just want to organize it tightly, well and cost-efficiently. We’re tremendously pleased with that development.”
Challenges, ambitions and future plans
While shopping streets are downsizing, Dstrezzed continues to open new stores. That may seem contradictory, but Michiel has a logical explanation.
“Especially during the difficult corona period, we started investing heavily in opening physical stores. We did that consciously for a number of reasons. The opportunity arose business-wise, because it became easier to have conversations with landlords. But besides that, having physical stores is really key to building your brand. It allowed us to show who we are, while also supporting our wholesale partners with their stores.”
That’s not necessarily the easiest path to take, as retail is simultaneously the brand’s greatest challenge.
“Retail is a huge challenge for everyone. Figuring out how to efficiently serve all these different channels with all these different consumers at the right time remains complex. How do you keep growing without compromising your revenue model and your brand during a turbulent time, especially with all the demands and obligations, as well as consumers becoming more demanding? So we made a serious choice in favor of the quality of our products. If you buy from us, you can be sure that the product is really good. We don’t skimp on that, because ultimately our products are the reason to keep people coming back.”
Transparency and sustainability
As a contemporary brand, you can’t talk about a good product without mentioning sustainability. Here, too, Dstrezzed takes its role in the brotherhood seriously by building long-term relationships with manufacturers, reducing carbon footprints and educating consumers. For the latter, they use a production map on the website that shows exactly where products are made and where materials suppliers are located.
And, in the coming years, the brand will continue to focus on transparency and sustainability.
“We contribute to the planet and the environment. Our design team creates clothing that is meant to last longer than just one fashion season because of its timeless nature, and we choose materials that are less harmful. Of course, we must also demonstrate compliance with all new laws and regulations. We even partnered with a number of industry peers to look at what’s coming our way, and what we still need from the software to be able to efficiently report on this. A lot of it is already in there, fortunately.”
Finally, when we ask Michiel about the company’s future plans, he doesn’t even have to think about it. The initiated direction of the brand is an enduring ambition that will be further implemented in the coming years. He concludes enthusiastically:
“Further strengthening the brand, as well as commercial, international growth on the omnichannel front, is where our ambitions and goals lie. It’s not that we want to completely turn from a wholesale company into a retailer, not at all. On the contrary, I think we are convinced that the combination of those parts can strengthen each other enormously. As a result, when we market our brand well and present it as a great experience, this also boosts the sales of wholesalers. That’s what we’ll keep striving for!”