With COVID-19 disrupting traditional retail avenues more quickly than we could have imagined, brands the world over are turning their attention to new channels and new pathways to growth. With Australians shopping international fashion, beauty and lifestyle products more than ever before, now is the time for US-based brands to take advantage.
Flaunter sat down with four incredible guests from across all sectors of the Australian fashion industry to share their insights on how international brands can break into the lucrative Australian market.
- Australian audiences value authenticity, providence and story more than a label or name. Australian audiences look for quality first, as well as how a brand will fit into their lifestyle.
- Having a team on the ground to help you navigate the nuances of the market will be invaluable, as well as provide faster access for editors who need to pull product for shoots or who are working to a deadline. Taking 10 days to ship samples from overseas will likely mean you’ve missed the deadline! Understand that the Australian market is in a different timezone, up to a day ahead.
- The same approach applies to influencer activity. The Australian market is smaller and there is a lot of cannibalisation amongst luxury influencers. Find a local guide to help you navigate the Australian space to prevent wastage.
- Australians are much more laid back in our lifestyles and our fashion sense. While we follow trends, we’re less likely to live and die by them. Australian fashion media always come back to, “how would she wear it?”
- Have a hook to the Australian market (or at least make sure you ship here). E.g. when Everlane launched in Australia, the founder could talk to the fact that Australians were very vocal on social media calling for shipping to our country, and to the design sensibilities of ease and comfort that appealed to an Australian market.
- Australia has a number of markets-within-markets. For example, the domestic Chinese audience spend big on luxury items, and there is also a wealthy, blue-collar middle class that typically can’t be reached through traditional retail channels (e.g. a luxury flagship boutique). Try accessible pop-ups that still maintain the essence of the brand to reach them.
- Make returns easy and inexpensive. Remove the barriers for international shoppers.
- Localise your content to remove the Z’s – Australians spell words differently to the US (e.g. colour instead of color). Consider an .au site with localised content, including localised information about delivery or distribution and a customer care line that’s in the Australian timezone.
- Leverage Australian retailers with existing channels who will do the PR work for you, e.g. Mecca.
Brands like Everlane, Glossier and Anine Bing have done a great job at infiltrating the Australian market by really understanding what Australian consumers want.
Lauren Sams is one of Australia’s leading fashion commentators, covering everything from the international haute couture shows to Australian design start-ups. She has written for Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Marie claire, Sunday Style and Daily Life and is currently the fashion editor of prestigious Australian publication, the Australian Financial Review’s Life & Leisure supplement and the AFR Magazine.
Alyce Tran is an entrepreneur who co-founded the highly successful accessories brand The Daily Edited (“TDE”) which gained significant commercial traction in the Australian market and globally with stores across Australia and in New York. Since exiting TDE she is off building new businesses including lifestyle brand In The Roundhouse, a new beauty brand as well as working with US fashion tech business LTK.
Prue Thomas is the General Manager of Marketing and Digital for Oroton, Australia’s only luxury accessories brand. Oroton is undergoing a successful resurgence domestically and has just launched internationally during the COVID period.
Prue’s career spans 20 years in fashion retail, communications and brand management. She has held senior positions at some of the most innovative global retail organisations, including globally renowned UK department store Selfridges, Topshop (London) and ASOS. She has also held senior leadership roles at some of Australia’s leading retail giants such as David Jones, Sportsgirl and Westfield (Scentre Group).
Emma Read is a Stylist, Writer and Creative Consultant and has worked as Fashion Editor across RUSSH, Grazia, ELLE Australia and L’Officiel Australia. Emma is also the style-mind behind advertising campaigns, wardrobe workshops and runway shows for some of fashion’s biggest names, including Hermes, Myer, Westfield, Crown Hotels, and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. Her eye for style stretches into her written work, having featured as a regular columnist.