The FINANCIAL — Giorgi Gochiachvili is the Regional Manager of FLO Georgia, the fashionable outdoor shoe retailer from Turkey; its products designed for everyday adventure. In this interview with The FINANCIAL Gochiashvili talks about the brand’s Georgian experience. Entering the Georgian Market in 2015 Flo offers over 60 shoe brands and is represented by 6 of the biggest shoe stores in the country.
Q. How would you describe the Flo brand?
A. Flo Retail is the footwear sector leader in Turkey that was established in 1960 by Ahmet Ziylan in a small workshop. 10 000 employees work at Flo directly, and 30 000 indirectly. 55 million pairs of footwear are sold each year.
Today, Flo has nearly 500 domestic stores in almost every city in Turkey and 100 international stores in 14 different countries.
Flo has two retail sales channels, with each of them the leader of their categories – ‘FLO’, and ‘InStreet’. These retail sales channels are united under the umbrella of FLO Retail. FLO also has reputable own brands such as Lumberjack, Kinetix, Butigo, Polaris, Dockers, and Mercedes, along with licensed products, and all of these brands are sold in FLO stores and wholesale points.
FLO is moving forwards to achieve growing goals with the vision of the company being to become one of the ten global brands coming from Turkey by 2023.
Q. What has been your most popular shoe style?
A. According to our experience as well as the numbers, the most popular shoe style used to be loafers, however nowadays the trendiest style according to customer demand is shoes with neon details. We incorporated this into the SS20 season especially in one of our main brands – Lumberjack – which is an Italian brand.
Q. Can you tell us anything about your new collection?
A. Our Fall/Winter 2019 women’s collection is going to be very popular. Our collection includes shoes with snake, scuba and leopard print with different colours and styles. Trendy high heeled shoes were our one of the main focuses for the FW19 season. In addition, the men’s collection will be very comfortable, affordable and attractive for our customers. Our category team worked closely with our customers in order to achieve things in line with demand, which will be one of the main reasons behind our predicted success this season.
Also, during the ‘Back To School’ period the FW19 kids’ collection was already available in stores, and feedback from customers was very good. According to them: “Kids feel better and more comfortable in FLO shoes”.
Q. How many models are there and which are the bestsellers so far? What’s the price range?
A. During the Fall/Winter season, approximately 2 500 different models will be shown in our collection. We are proud to announce that prices for the products will not be increased despite the devaluation of the Georgian Lari.
The collection itself is very wide-ranging and made according to customer demand. Along with our price policy this season we are again announcing our motto: “FLO – Shoes for Everybody”. Prices start from just GEL 30, going up to GEL 300. All the shoes are made with high quality materials by our designers.
Q. In your opinion, what drives brand growth?
A. In the retail business, the only thing that makes a brand successful is the customer. Everything can be upgraded, everything can be changed, but nobody can change the customer.
Our team works very closely with our customers. We listen and try to act according to their demands. At FLO we are here to make our customers’ dreams come true, which is why FLO became a Golden Brand Award Winner 2018 – Market Leader in Shoe Retail, which our team is very proud of!
Q. What does the production and design of Flo shoes depend on?
A. Our Category and Operation Team works together on this. FLO operates in 14 different countries, and all of the countries’ customer demands and styles are completely different. We always have our eyes open and are always listening to our buyers in order to produce the right product for the right countries. It is not an easy process; but with the team we have, nothing is impossible.
Q. Which are the biggest challenges on the Georgian market?
A. We became the market leader in 2018 and are striving to achieve more success in 2019.
Nowadays the condition of the Georgian currency the Lari is not particularly good and we are focused on not increasing prices even for the next season as well.
Q. Is there a particular type of consumer that your brand targets?
A. FLO – “Shoes for Everybody” – this is our brand’s main idea. So we are producing shoes for every single person, with a wide price range, a variety of styles, and consistent quality – these are our strengths.
Q. What’s next for FLO?
A. We proudly would like to announce that since September 2019 FLO is now the owner of the brand “Nine West.” And from next Spring/Summer 2020 season our customers will be able to buy special Nine West models in Georgian FLO stores.
By Eva Bolkvadze