Apparel Import Intermediaries' Secrets to Success: Redefining Success in a Hyper-dynamic Environment
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to obtain an immediate and deeper understanding of apparel import intermediaries' (AII) secrets to success in the hyper-dynamic US apparel market environment. Design/methodology/approach: Personal in-depth interviews were conducted with 13 US apparel industry experts who provided an insider's lived experience of the industry. Within a holistic hermeneutic analysis, emergent themes were classified into two broad theme categories: the meaning of success and secrets to success. Findings: The study's informants defined success as a long-term presence, a platform from which they could impact the industry through creative expression. AIIs' secrets to success emerged as (1) immersion knowledge management; (2) simultaneous dual relationship management; and (3) flexibility saturation. Research limitations/implications: Although qualitative research methods are designed for a deeper understanding of the topic of interest, the study findings of an immediate and lived experience within the apparel industry should be viewed within a narrower context than survey research. Practical implications: These findings offer timely best practices for apparel firms' success and furnish insights into some of the rarely accessible elements of firm management. The study's results may also offer guidelines for firms in other industries moving toward the apparel industry model of hyper-dynamism. Originality/value: The study offered a definition and description of a new type of industry environment—hyper-dynamism. The study also revealed for the first time the reality of AIIs, especially how these firms defined success and took action to achieve it. Finally, the findings suggested a possible extension of resource-advantage theory.
Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 12 No. 1, 2008 pp. 51-67.