Interview with Penny Rodenhurst

Penny Rodenhurst
Penny Rodenhurst

Girls will always want to be made like little princesses
Precioux is a retailer for kidswear, especially of girls, based in South Africa. Launched in 2008 by Penny Rodenhurst, the company has six concept stores in South Africa, one franchised store in Botswana and more franchise programmes lined up. Penny Rodenhurst, MD of Precioux reveals their growth and strategies for growth in an interview with

Please throw some light on your market penetration strategy.

Strategy has changed quite dramatically for Precioux. The brick-and-mortar stores are difficult in such a small market with increased competition and choice. The market is smaller. But offering from imported brands is triple of what it was three years ago. So clearly, same size of the pie, but with so much more on offer! All the kids' brands are sharing the same pie and getting smaller. Precioux is an amazing brand with great values, and is on trend for our girls. Our new strategy is to wholesale to smaller boutiques in Africa plus overseas in all countries. To export our brand, as the ZAR (SA Rand) is so weak and getting weaker, we have been offering amazing quality products at great value. We have also franchised physical stores, and have a franchisee opening for a Precioux Concept Store in Kuala Lumpur. Our strategy is to grow our concept stores through the franchise model worldwide where there is a larger children's market.

What are the new styles, designs and product innovations that we can expect in this industry?

Kids will always be kids, and girls will always be girls. Yet, the style and age readiness for fashion is ever changing. Precioux focuses on age-appropriate on-trend fashion. 1. Baby - will always be cotton-based for softer skins and cute for that ever-so precious baby feeling. 2. Girls aged 3 to 10 years - feeling is for young fashionistas; little girls, not too grown up, practical fashion with a girly twist. 3. Tweens aged 7 to 14 years - are our main focus. We have developed this range for over five years with a focus on young teenagers; age-appropriate, nothing sexy, making this girl tween feels like she is not a little girl any more, embracing the tween age. A massive concentration is on great fit with something for every shape and an awareness of the changing body shapes between these ages. There will be a growth in digitally printed fabrication for uniqueness and designer identity in this age group, particularly keeping an eye on their trends through social media and bringing it into the print designs.

Which fashion category occupies the most retail shelf space? For which fashion category has demand increased in space and by what percentage?

Here, I can only speak for Precioux. We focus on girls not boys. We did introduce a boys' brand, but ultimately it was not the best return on investment for the space it required. For us, tweens is 65 per cent of our market share, and therefore 65 per cent of our physical space.

What has been your growth story last year, and what is the target set for the next fiscal?

Last year was a tough year with physical mall-retail slowing down in South Africa. In this category, we have a strategy to grow in the areas already mentioned. 1. Online shopping is still in early days here in South Africa, but on a massive increase curve; 2. Franchise for physical stores overseas in new markets; 3. Wholesale for the first time: Our brand is offered on wholesale with high concentration from 2016 onwards for overseas distribution into new markets as well as the fun physical concept stores.

What is the pricing strategy for your brand?

Our pricing strategy is great value quality, great fit and great fabric quality at a price that is affordable - so, not pitched at high-end designer prices, but not trying to compete with the mass produced arena either. Our strategy is to offer uniqueness. When it is gone, it is gone. Wait for something new. Be individual and unique. Know that only so many are made in your area, yet a tag price. You can keep coming back for more. We do not agree with the throw-away fashion mentality. That is just an excuse to cut corners, and an excuse for substandard quality. We believe families will still pass down our fashion pieces and basics to the next generation, and value the fact that they can add to their collection rather than replace it.

How do you envisage this so-called battle between brick-and-mortar and e/mobile-com to pan out?

I believe it will depend on the country and the environment. Brick-and-mortar stores are still essential for a brand presence, yet may become a loss leader in many markets for a brand. Ecommerce is clearly the way forward for online shopping. In the kids market, especially girls and mums, we hope that 'The Day Out' and 'Let's Go Shopping - Mother and Daughter Time' will continue to be important. It is up to us to provide some reason to choose to rather shop in our environment than in one that is the same old and boring! We create a fun environment. Our staff are stylists, and help girls put outfits together - taking photos for social media, interacting and creating a wonderful personal service. This is our key - an area through the franchise model where we can work on with passion. Physical stores will integrate with online, with i-pads available for ordering online. For items not in store, it is going to be an interesting, ever-changing environment. But kids will be kids. And girls will be girls, and will always want to be made to feel like princesses.
Published on: 13/08/2015

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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