Lee Cooper: Building a Market for Trendy Jeanswear in Traditional Indonesia

Lee Cooper:  Building a Market for Trendy Jeanswear in Traditional Indonesia

Indonesia’s fast growing consumer market is not new territory for Lee Cooper jeans.  The cutting edge British label has been in the market for 20 years, selling jeanswear primarily through its 90 retail stores.  The brand was a pioneer in running its own retail operations in the local market and using that retail presence to create a ‘brand experience’, as well as to connect with and better understand the consumer.

As an early entrant into the market, one of their biggest challenges was getting the local market to understand jeans as a category.  “Many consumers don’t understand the fit and the feel,” said Jody Dharmawan, President Director of Lee Cooper Indonesia, which licenses the brand for the Indonesian market.  “Jeans are different from dress pants.  Thing like the fabric – how it changes the longer you wear it – this is a relatively new concept in this market.”


Fitting The Market

A primary factor in the brand’s success has been interpreting Lee Cooper’s international style into garments that are tailored for the Indonesia consumer.

“We follow the colors from the international market, but we will change the fabrics.  Since we don’t have winter in Indonesia we don’t need heavy fabrics,” said Mr. Dharmawan.

“Indonesians follow the international fashion trends but there is a segmentation of the market into those consumers who follow the immediate trends and those who are more conservative and tend to be a season behind.  We cater to both segments.”

The company positions itself as up-to-date rather than as a trendsetter.  “We are offering ‘jeans for the majority’,” said Mr. Dharmawan.  “Lee Cooper is known for offering value for money.  ‘Fit’ and ‘value’ are our core strengths.”   

 “One of the main things we modify for the market is the fit.  For example Indonesian’s are shorter than the average European.  Also the hip/waist ratio is different.  Indonesian’s tend to have a smaller waist and then rounder hips, so there’s more contrast between the waist and the hip measurements.” 

We place a strong emphasis on basic fitting. Lee Cooper was the first jeans brand to offer a “ladies fit,” said Mr. Dharmawan. 


Tracking the Trends

Creating the right collections for the market begins with understanding the major international trends.  Mr. Dharmawan and his staff use Inside Fashion to study the new developments in silhouette, fabrics, finishes and trims.  “We circulate Inside Fashion to all of our departments.  It gives us clear and useful insights into what’s happening in world design,” he said.  “It helps us to generate ideas. I also find the business features and market insights very useful.”


Growing With Their Retail Customers

Although most of Lee Cooper’s distribution in Indonesia has been through its own stores, the company is now actively expanding its direct selling to independent retailers.  “The traditional or ‘independent’ retailers are Indonesia’s largest retail format.  Expanding into this channel presents a huge growth opportunity for Lee Cooper,” said Mr. Dharmawan.

While the independent retail segment offers Lee Cooper an opportunity to grow their sales, the company brings these retailers more than just a world-class jeans brand.  “We are able to offer better retail skills to these retailers.  We can educate them about best practices in areas such as processes, visual merchandising and stock ratios which will help make their businesses more profitable.” 


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