Our handbags range from £1,500 - £1,750 and we need to target a niche upscale consumer market. Now at the point that we need stockists or buyers onboard and the press. Any advice? (We actually have a very prominent UK retailer in the pipeline - but they will not 'go first')
There are agencies that have relationships with major social media influencers with certainly some that are followed for their fashion sense and tips. Reach out to these agencies to target. You can target those influencers within your budget (obviously, the more "sway" the more expensive). Of course, they take in-kind compensation, so you may be able to "pay" the influencers compensation strictly with merchandise. It is not traditional "press," but is a lot more relevant.
Retailers always want a proven product with an existing demand. Even if you do get it on the shelves, if the handbag doesn't sell, they won't keep you on the shelves very long.
Depends on your marketing budget, I think your best bet is partner up with social media influencers (especially instagrammers with a large following in UK), get them to endorse and showcase your products and drive them to a simple ecommerce funnel.
Once you have a proven sales record, then you can take your numbers to the retailers.
Now you are not begging them to take your products, you are saying, "Hey, I've got this handbag that's selling so well online, I think your customers would want to buy it in your store as well. How many do you want to carry?"