<Case Study>

The digital transformation of GYMP: From tailor to online brand

GYMP, the brand of the Anckaert family, can be found in more than 400 specialty stores throughout Europe. With its own production facility and its own patronage, the brand is interwoven with beautiful traditions. In the meantime, hard work is being done at the back to make the shift to online. How do you make smart choices about it? Geert Anckaert, CEO, can talk about this with great enthusiasm.

A piece of family tradition

The three brothers and one sister who together form the management of GYMP are the second generation of this family business from Desselgem. Their parents were confectioners (manufacturers of clothing) with their own studio in Belgium. The company has been around for more than fifty years and used to make private label products for large fashion houses such as C&A and Inno. In the early 1990s, these types of production companies moved to Tunisia and the Far East due to the high wage costs. The Anckaert family decided to follow and opened their own production facility in Tunisia, with one of the brothers in charge. A good move, because this location is still a wholly owned subsidiary, specializing in clothes.
Anckaert: “We are one of the last remaining ‘confectioners’, who have grown from confection as a business to fashion, with our own brand. If we hadn’t done that, it would have gone like many colleagues from then, they are all gone. Replaced for production in the Far East. And we made our own brand in time and produced it ourselves in order to survive.”

GYMP: Gorgeous Young Misters and Princesses

GYMP arose fifteen years ago from this own brand, with a small reference to the four first names for the observant reader: Geert, Yo (Jo), Marianne and Pol. Today GYMP stands for: Gorgeous Young Misters and Princesses. “And that also expresses exactly what we do: make children look beautiful,” says Anckaert.

From ceremony, baby & kids to newborn collection

GYMP works with three product lines, all of which are designed and conceived in the Belgian atelier. Commercially, the ‘baby & kids’ collection is the largest product line. There is also a separate ‘newborn’ collection up to size 68. These products go to specialist stores in the home market and, furthermore, mainly to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, Ireland and Scotland. The smaller ‘ceremony’ collection is intended for communion, spring party, wedding or other festive occasions, and is strong in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

“The ceremony collection is the only one that is not publicly available online. The added value of retail is too big in this regard. We don’t have closing sale in the ceremony either, it’s too beautiful and durable for that. And the good news is that our new B2B portal makes it easy for retailers to order additional items.”

When it comes to online sales, we touch a sensitive point with Anckaert. As a CEO with an IT background, he is well aware of the digitization he must make to survive in the current market.

Fast implementation through out-of-the-box connectivity

After a failed attempt to optimize all backend systems for his digital transformation, Anckaert has a gloomy outlook.

“We had been working on an ERP implementation by an external party for two years with long lead times, high consultancy costs and a lot of programming work, it became unaffordable.”

Until he comes across Itsperfect in November 2021 after some online searching. “The first thing that struck me about this ERP package was the out-of-the-box connectivity with a lot of parties. From Exact Online and carriers we work with, such as DPD and UPS, to Stockbase.”

After the first contact, the decision was quickly made. “It had to go fast, otherwise we would have lost another season. There was 2.5 months between the decision and our go-live. The biggest plus of Itsperfect for me is that you hardly need any customization. That saves a lot of programming, and therefore enormous costs.”

Anckaert can be brief about the implementation itself: “It went smoothly and quickly. What I find so perfect about this solution is that you can import and export everything. With a little knowledge of Excel. Virtually no data input was required. We gained a lot of time with that.”

GYMP’s target was to have the B2B and B2C open for the summer collection, and they succeeded exactly, on February 1st all systems were live for direct sales. In addition to the ERP system and the B2B portal of Itsperfect, there is a link with the Shopify webshop and with Stockbase of FashionCloud.

Anckaert is therefore positive about the future: “Now that the basis is in place to continue digitally and online, we have a good outlook post-corona. We are going to make more of a shift to online. Our biggest goal now is to get the connectivity with our retailers and POS systems at the right point. And of course we want to increase our online visibility and build a community. A great task for our marketers.”

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