This week's episode of Britain's Next Big Thing brought new developments for some contributors and more insight into the sometimes strange world of big retailers (and business sense of some).
Dressing down the products
It really seems there's a big difference between how the three participating retailers work with their brand new - or soon to be, and for some hopefully soon to be but still unsure - designers and suppliers.
Besides Catherine Gray (of the ceramic brightly coloured vases) it now also became clear that Laura Wellington's Hula would be licensed to Habitat in a dressed down version of only white plastic strips for the light instead of the multi-coloured strips.
In one of the earlier posts on #bnbt (License to sell) showed that Catherine was happy to take around £900.00 for the pleasure, instead of a higher profit. In this week's episode she told Theo she realised now that in fact she was getting "paid" for high buzz exposure (my translation of what was said).
The same is now happening with Laura.
Both dress down their product to make it an unique item for Habitat, while staying in control over the other versions and where the big retailer takes the risk of the production and the sale of the "unique item". Both are being paid of the numbers produced, not on the numbers sold.
Who's got more control?
Two other Habitat potential new suppliers (although if you check Habitat's online site you know who's made it) plan to supply the retailer with their own produced products.
Take the Beeble - the best example in this case. Steven Biddulph started by asking £ 85.00 for his foot stool, Habitat is still expecting to pay no more than £ 30.00 per Beeble.
So, Steven keeps tweaking his design - dressing down - to accommodate their demands.
Contrary to the two ladies who take a royalty, will he be able to produce the normal Beeble once the product meets Habitat's purchase price? Where will he find reasons to ask "private" clients a higher price. The only way I can see is varying the cover fabrics, but would that make a sufficient "different" beeble?
My guess is next week we'll see the two parties part:
The Frog Brackit has made it into Habitat without being dressed down too much. Habitat only wanted a very small change in the frog it self and possible coloured ones (green and brown frogs were being tested during the episode, specially the green one I thought looked quite nice). Debbie Evershed stays firmly in control, and is in my opinion one of the winners of the program.
Richard Weston traveled to Como to watch his exquisite scarves being produced next to products of well known brands. He's getting ready to supply Liberty with his scarves and keeps a close eye on the quality and quantity.
Don't think so Richard. Think it is more down to the authenticity the Italian visit portrait.
Looking forward to next week's episode, the last one in the series. Who will end up in the winner's team, who will fall at the last hurdle? (Of course, this program has been made way before the first episode was aired, keeping your ear - and eye - out on Twitter and Facebook or on the various contributor's websites gives you a decent guess already).