It’s no secret anymore that terms such as “frugal”, “moderate”, and “resignation” have long been passé when it comes to describing Best Agers. Studies show that this target group sees itself as particularly quality conscious. But even that doesn’t nearly fully describe the characteristics of the 45-plus generation. A major trait that those of us in customer service notice time and again is the distinct sense of responsibility people in our target group have toward other people and the environment. This is something we try to live up to in every respect.
We dress women who know what they want. They’ve found their own personal style. Fashionable clothing is important to them. However, they also value blazers, blouses, and trousers that suit them. "Our customer follows international catwalk trends. She is confident, demanding, and has a keen sense of style", said Madeleine Marketing Director Alexa Volquarts. "For her, having the perfect look for every occasion is an expression of that confidence". Madeleine offers her the elegance, exclusivity, and style currency that she wants. Best Agers are open to the latest trends, but want to know that they look good in the styles and colours that are currently in fashion. That’s why they trust us. Thanks to our experience, we offer fashion trends to satisfy sophisticated Best Agers. Our customers can be true to themselves when selecting their wardrobe, but still remain current – season after season.
Exclusive fashion that picks up on current trends and interprets them for the 45-plus target group – that’s the formula for the success of our labels Madeleine and Peter Hahn. “Of course we look to the big designer names now and then to see where fashion is going”, said Theo Nakath, who has worked for Madeleine for more than 25 years. “In the end though, we have to consider what will work for our customer”. Glamour without the gimmicks. Substance instead of fashion fads. All the labels of TriStyle Group follow the same creed – with success. It’s the key to fulfilling the fundamental requirements of our customers who, season after season, are looking to enrich their wardrobes with new pieces. From basics to high fashion – with our looks, Best Agers can emphasise their individual personality. “We pay great attention to ensure that items we offer can be easily combined with other items”, said Jutta Jung from Madeleine’s purchasing department.
The fact that Peter Hahn is one of the biggest sellers of cashmere knitwear in Europe is something that we see both as a challenge and a responsibility. Our customers are demanding. They’re looking for something special. And that’s what we aim to offer them, season after season. That’s why we accompany our products from their origins in Mongolia, where the cashmere goats are shorn, all the way up to the mailing process in Germany. These two points are separated by a long road – but it’s one that we travel, for our customers.
Since we’re already thinking in terms of the best possible quality when purchasing the wool, we can guarantee a high-grade product. “One of my first business trips took me deep into Mongolia. I wanted to see it all for myself”, said Heike Hillebrecht, head of purchasing at Peter Hahn, where she has worked for more than 15 years. She takes trips twice annually to inspect the production conditions – for the sake of our customers. Because they often want to know exactly where their clothing comes from. For example, a customer recently asked Peter Hahn if the fields where the cashmere goats graze are planted according to the rules of “controlled organic cultivation”. Organic? Yes. Controlled? Maybe not. Because the nomads that move through the Mongolian interior mostly leave the fields in a natural condition, the way they were before people ever set foot on them.
The desire for sustainable, environmentally friendly products is a relatively new phenomenon, but one in which Peter Hahn has almost half a century of experience. With a focus on natural fibres, Peter Hahn was an absolute pioneer in the fashion industry. But that alone isn’t enough: In addition to quality, the company wants to offer its customers exclusivity. That’s why it has expanded its line to include new fabrics to surprise and spoil Best Agers. “Everyone does wool”, said Peter Hahn’s Heike Hillebrecht. So she set out in search of particularly fine fibres, and found them on the Australian island of Tasmania, a few kilometres southeast of the continent.
Australia is known for being one of the world’s biggest wool producers, but that refers to the mainland. The more remote island of Tasmania has long been overlooked on the international wool market, even though the fibres produced there are of an especially high quality. Peter Hahn saw an opportunity and signed exclusive contracts with the wool producers. Our customers can now take pleasure in enhancing their wardrobes with knitwear made from Tasmanian merino wool.
Ceramica and Coolmax are fabrics of the very latest generation. The highly complex fibre connections help to improve the wearability and usage of our clothing.
We’re creating extra added value through the use of innovative high-tech fabrics, because they increase the comfort and wearability of our clothing. Ceramica, for example, has thermal qualities. The fibres keep you warm in the cold, and cool the skin when it’s hot. This effect is made possible by tiny clay mineral particles embedded in the fabric (hence the name Ceramica, from ceramics). It’s no surprise then, that Madeleine and Peter Hahn customers all appreciate this fabric.
The polyester fabric Coolmax, on the other hand, is perfect for leisure and sports wear, because it's so breathable.
Both of these fabrics are easy to care for, and wrinkle free.
There’s no such thing as the typical female body. Even if the media insists that small waists and long legs are the ideal, the reality is a lot different, and thank goodness for that! Just like someone’s personality, the female silhouette is individual. And it changes and develops over the years. The companies of the TriStyle Group respect that, which makes them some of the few manufacturers that respond to the changing needs of mature women. Peter Hahn and Madeleine have developed their own fit that accurately corresponds to the silhouettes of Best Agers. They take into account a somewhat wider waistline or shifting chest measurements, for example, so that the clothing doesn’t pull in the wrong place or create wrinkles.
We offer our customers the chance to literally get a feel for what they’re buying. And not just when their items arrive in the post, but before they’ve even placed an order. Besides our catalogues and mailings, our labels’ online shops are also playing an increasingly important role. “Madeleine’s online shop has undergone a lot of expansion in recent years, and the area of mobile shopping is also continually being developed”, said Managing Director Alexander Weih.
Women who frequently find themselves stuck on hold in customer hotlines only to be foisted onto the next overburdened representative appreciate the telephone service offered by our companies all the more. Firstly, a real person, not a computer-generated voice, greets our customers. “In addition, all queries are answered thoroughly”, said Oliver Geitner, head of business processing at Madeleine. Our consultants are so well trained and informed about every detail of our latest collections that they can provide reliable assistance not just on questions about products, fabrics, and design, but also on questions about what fit is best suited to a customer, which looks might work for her, and how she can combine items from the collections. “We know that the telephone conversation is our salesroom”, said Geitner. This kind of consultation is worth the effort. Our customers are happier, and sometimes they might order an extra item or two, because the professional consultation has increased their confidence in our brands and whetted their appetite for more.
Best Agers don’t just appreciate our styles. They also want to feel they’re being well taken care of. Speedy processing of orders is part of this, as are practical online tools such as the fashion app offered by the Madeleine label. Thirdly, there’s the personal telephone conversation. Our consultation service has nothing in common with the typical call centre experience where callers are dispatched within minutes. On the contrary, we take time for our customers. Many of them have been loyal shoppers with us for decades, and have proven to us time and again just how savvy they are about fashion. If the topic is cashmere knitwear, they want to know the exact thread count in the yarn, says Heike Hillebrecht, head of purchasing at Peter Hahn.
We’re happy about this level of interest and would like to continue to support Best Agers in their fashion questions in future. What’s more, since many customers know the person on the other end of the line quite well, it sometimes happens that personal matters are discussed over the phone. Consultation is a matter of trust, and that’s the manner in which we regard our contact with our customers.
Best Agers aren’t just more selective than younger customers when it comes to fabric and cut. They also consider colour more carefully. Studies show that they have a better sense of themselves than other age groups. For them, it’s more important to consider which colours suit them than which colours are currently in fashion. Trend colours? Of course – but not at any price, according to Heike Hillebrecht, head of purchasing at Peter Hahn.