Kornit helps Hype become a more prolific creative engine

Hype is a British streetwear brand catering to a wide range of consumers, creating distinctly bold, bright colours for a decidedly ‘hip’ image. Its brash, in-your-face impressions adorn t-shirts, kidswear, backpacks, hoodies, intimate apparel, and other pieces, and are sold via the company’s own website and a growing network of retailers, including Next, Zalando, BooHoo, John Lewis, and The Very Group.

“We like to see ourselves as a lifestyle brand,” said Jade Bell, Marketing Manager at Hype. “Hype is all about showcasing your individuality and personality, so we like to make sure our core band DNA values are showcased through our products. We have the Gen Z audience, the Millennials, the younger generation and also adults – a huge range of customers.”

The company’s marketing strategy reflects the boldness of its apparel, regularly including collaborations and public relations stunts involving such brands as Lego, Disney, Universal, Warner Brothers, Coca-Cola, Budweiser, and KFC.

Hype saw great opportunity to expand its market share and fulfilment capabilities by tapping into the growing KornitX Global Fulfilment Network, which offered fast, sustainable, on-demand digital fulfilment nearer the end consumer – a lean, low-risk mechanism for producing consistent, high-quality gear with limited upfront technology investment.

The long-plan goal would be to open up a global network for print-on-demand. We could print garments in multiple locations, while ensuring each product met our quality standards

“Kornit allows us to respond a lot faster to trends,” said Jake Paling, who oversees art and data handling for Hype. “Historically, if something gets really popular, we take two or three months to react to it, and it’s already gone. Direct-to-garment is really useful for that, and it allows us to have more flexibility, as well. It gives us a lot more freedom with our designs – we can create.”

“We can explore avenues that we possibly wouldn’t have explored before,” added Luke Russell, Head of Design at Hype. “We can take a few more risks in terms of the designs we’re creating. We can put five designs onto a website and see if it sticks, instead of having to commit to one with a queue of 300 or 500, whatever that might be.”

© Kornit Digital

Not only is Kornit technology helping Hype to become a more prolific creative engine, but it’s revealed a streamlined pathway to answering the sustainability imperative, a challenge that has brought increasingly strident regulations throughout Europe and the fashion industry more broadly.

“When a product comes to the end of its shelf life, it’s been there long enough to discount it, get it off the shelves and into the customer’s wardrobe rather than sticking it in a landfill,” said Mark Ford, Hype’s Head of E-commerce Operations. “We don’t want to take it to the landfill. We’re very conscious of the environment. We won’t just work with anybody; we look at the CO2 emissions of raw mail, DPD, and everything else that goes on inside the business, rather than just fast fashion, throw it out as quick as we can.”

“I think there’s a lot of greenwashing within the industry,” said Russell. “In this modern day of social media, content is so quick to market, and it means the consumer is expecting newness constantly. They want to hit a website and see five, ten, 15 new designs every day. It’s a real struggle for Hype to keep up with that and keep the sustainable message present. Introducing direct-to-garment into the business means we can print on demand to cut inventory within the warehouse.”

By establishing a localised fulfilment strategy and working with a vast array of retailers eager to market compelling new products for all ages, Hype meets this challenge while growing their operation with agility.

“The long-plan goal would be to open up a global network for print-on-demand,” said Russell. “We could print garments in multiple locations, while ensuring each product met our quality standards. But we wouldn’t have to hold stock in multiple locations across Europe, Asia, and the U.K. We could sell an item and distribute it with no inventory. We’re going to be able to really reach a mass audience, and the money we were spending on inventory can be dedicated to other areas within the business.”

As with many apparel brands, back-to-school and Black Friday periods bring peak demand, and being able to produce in real time, in alignment with what is actually selling, offers a powerful vehicle for eliminating overproduction waste, and ensuring a healthy bottom line.

According to Ford, the company has offered up to 40,000 unique SKUs during peak periods, which can equate to 250,000 individual items.

© Kornit Digital

“We were storing (our inventory) in a warehouse, so we were sitting on a lot of stock, about 30% of which doesn’t sell within the time window,” said Shiv Arora, Project Manager at Hype. “It’s not great for the business, and it’s not great for the environment, either. And another thing is, obviously, to get that stock, it needs to come through their supply chain and it’s coming from China or Turkey or Pakistan, so it has its own carbon footprint as well.”

Adopting KornitX eliminates much of this risk, empowering Hype to integrate with fulfillers and marketplaces at will, and creating only what is being sold.

“This technology has opened the door for us for these marketplaces and benefits like not having to worry about inventory sinking,” said Arora. “Using Kornit we can just launch our designs overnight, and it works for us and it works for them. It’s all automated, so as a customer you’re placing an order on Next, and you simply get the order from us. We literally pick, pack, and ship the order same day or next day, and you have nothing to worry about.”

At the moment, Hype is operating in 27 countries. While the UK remains its largest market, the company is experiencing considerable growth throughout Europe and even the Far East. It is currently integrating with Walmart and Costco, as well, to expand the brand’s footprint in the United States.

Watch the Hype video testimonial…