In an era when clothing retailers send out much of their manufacturing to developing countries, one Spanish company, Zara, is having enormous success doing things differently. What is Zara's secret? The company's success lies in it having total control of every part of the business: it designs, produces and distributes itself. It has never run an advertising campaign, yet it has more than 1,000 shops worldwide. Everything is coordinated from its headquarters on an industrial estate in Arteixo, outside A Coruña, in Spain.
By controlling the entire process from factory to shop floor, Zara can react quickly to changing fashion trends and customers' tastes, providing a "newness" that has been extremely successful in Europe. The clothes are finished off at A Coruña before being shipped out twice a week to all its shops.
Shoppers addicted to the Zara brand know exactly when the deliveries will be arriving at their local shop and some even get there before opening time on delivery days to be the first to pick up the latest lines. Zara shop managers report back every day to designers in A Coruña on what has and has not sold. The information is used to decide which product lines and colours are kept or altered and whether new lines are created. All this happens in the space of just a few days.
Have you ever seen a Zara commercial on a billboard or on TV? The company's founder, Amancio Ortega, believes advertising is a pointless distraction. All the advertising the company needs is its shop windows, the contents of which are also decided in A Coruña.