Senior buyer, Teneille Ferguson, gave us the lowdown on getting stocked. Now hear from Australian fashion royalty, Aje.’s Edwina and Adrian on their own experience from design studio to department store.
Aje. was founded nearly eight years ago and our label achieved steady growth year on year.
The last two years have been incredibly successful for our brand as we strengthened our own retail platforms and concentrated on a widespread Australian presence. We’d been in talks with Myer for some months and the timing was perfect to join their designer portfolio and commit to our only wholesale partner.
We had been in talks with Myer for some time, and felt that we’d reached the stage in our business where we could create a strong and cohesive offering for a large department store.
The timing was crucial for us – many labels make the leap into a department store early on and that can put a strain on logistics and finances that, in turn, can cripple the business. We were aware of this and wanted to be in the strongest position before we signed a deal to ensure the retail partnership was a success.
There’s years of planning that go into a meeting like that – literally. It was a full presentation, we talked through our styles for the first three months that they purchase for and we explained what we were doing with our stores and which direction we were going in, and then we showed that to her. We loved Teneille’s vision for how she wanted to profile Aje. in Myer. Considering what a huge moment this was for our label, it was stress-free and enjoyable.
We’ve spent the last few years streamlining our internal design and manufacture processes, to allow us to move into the department store model with ease and mitigation of financial risk. This meant everything was in place for Myer and we didn’t have to make any major changes – which could have triggered delays and increased the pressure on our team. Again, it was all in the timing and our careful preparation for this moment paid off.
The only limitation to being stocked in a department store is if the brands’ own internal operations or positioning are not perfect. In this situation brands may find themselves at risk of suffering financially as mistakes will be magnified when working with such a large customer as a department store.
Many of our bestsellers are signature Aje. pieces that we include in our collections with a seasonal twist each time. These already translate well online and we hope that the current best-sellers in our stand-alone stores will translate to the wider consumer audience and become top-selling pieces in Myer.
At the moment Myer receives their ‘buy’ from our forthcoming collections. We would design bespoke pieces if it was a case of offering a Myer exclusive and this is something we’re working towards. This would be based more on customer demand rather than be determined by cost and volume.
Our advice is to firmly establish your own brand identity first and work towards streamlining your own business before venturing into a large retailer. Your business has to survive and flourish through your department store partner and you only have one chance to prove yourself.
Aje. presented their next collection to hit Myer stores at the Myer Spring Summer 15 fashion launch last week. Watch here…