What Makes Zara Special?

1. It’s just called Zara, as it’s spelt. 
Yes it’s true that in Spanish, the ‘z’ and ‘c’ are pronounced as a ‘th’. Hence Ibiza isn’t ‘e-bid-zah’ but ‘ei-bee-tha’. Same goes for Barcelona and Valencia. And even though some do call it ‘Thara’ at its headquarters, it’s really just Zara to even those in its offices and the general public, despite what all those blogs out there insist is insider knowledge. Don’t be fooled.

At Zara, some things are still done by hand, even though the volume of work is massive.
At Zara, some things are still done by hand, even though the volume of work is massive.

2. Zara produces around 800,000,000 items of clothing in a year.
That’s a lot. It’s over 10% of the entire world’s population. Yet some things at Zara, such as delicate stitching or unique details (pearl buttons on a lady’s jacket or embroidered details on a souvenir jacket) are still done by hand. How is that possible? It’s simple. Zara generates some 30,000 designs a year, so that averages to around 26,000 pieces of clothing a design. Not all of them require hand-work, of course. By combining small production runs with large volumes of designs, it ensures maximum interest and appeal to one consumer or another. Even if design A didn’t speak to you, design A1000 might.

Jesus Echevarria Hernandez, Chief Communications Officer at Inditex SA
Jesus Echevarria Hernandez, Chief Communications Officer at Inditex SA

3. It has the lowest wastage in any major fashion label in the world.
This is pretty much a guarantee and a requirement from its parent company. On average, most fashion companies tend to discard or destroy around 10 to 20% of their production at the end of a season, after post-season sales and not counting outlet retail. Zara stands at 1%, which is really incredible. Few companies can claim such standards. What that means is, products are sold generally at full price guaranteeing they won’t have to do clearance retail and make less profit. Obviously not all products sell as well, but on average, 1% of stock is left over, and this always goes towards a charity cause.

Zara's stocks are highly limited
Zara’s stocks are highly limited

4. Stocks are highly limited. 
Zara has over 2,213 stores around the world, and it’s expected to increase that by a good number this year, particularly in the North Asia region. With small production runs of 25,000 or so a design, that means each store only gets limited numbers of products. What that means for the consumer is that when store staff tell you something isn’t available, it really isn’t. So buy it on the floor when you can. The odds of it going to sale is low.

5. Data comes first at Zara. 
Within the headquarters of Zara and on every design floor sits a huge row of computer terminals. Analysts look at information that pours through from every single store in the world, giving details on which products sold well and which did not, and general interests of consumers. That information is delivered to designers, who then proceed to design with that information in mind. Zara allows their designers to do pretty much what they want, but ultimately, successful sales translates to a good record for designers, and that follows trends customers are interested in.

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