This Is How Zara Gets New Merch On Shelves So Quickly

Photo: Courtesy of Zara
It seems like Zara's always on top of the trends, and it's not just because they're mind readers. A profile in the Wall Street Journal revealed that the retail giant manages to design, create, ship, and sell their merchandise at record speed — as fast as 25 days.

This whip-fast response to trends is what keeps the designs fresh, and when it comes to their retail locations, the walls have ears. Take this coat. The Wall Street Journal tracked its journey from conception to shelves, including where it all began: customers' desire for hardware. Store managers relayed this feedback to designers, who came up with the coat in just five days. Thirteen days later, manufacturers had created 8,000 of the piece, shipping it out to Spain and then New York, where it ended up on shelves less than a month from when a desire for that very item first left a shopper's lips.

A fast-acting ethos gives Zara a significant leg-up in the fashion world. Often, retailers are taking a gamble, designing styles months in advance of their debut. By the time they hit shelves, the world may have moved on, or never ended up gravitating towards it in the first place.

Plus, 60% of Zara's clothes are manufactured close to its headquarters. This means there's less of a middleman, allowing for close relationships between designers and manufacturers. The best relationship, however, is with the customer. Zara moves so quickly because they're listening — and if they're listening now, I'd love that coat in gray.
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