Renata Gortan, Daily Telegraph
Local menswear label Venroy has ditched seasonal collections and seen sales soar.
Instead of offering customers two ranges, spring/summer and autumn/winter, at specific times of the year, the brand stocks both seasons simultaneously on the shop floor.
It’s part of a global strategy which has resulted in record sales in the final quarter of the last financial year.
Co-founder Theo Smallbone believes it’s because Australians love to travel and men want to update their summer wardrobe in June before going on holidays.
“We used to do the summer season here and move to the (United) States to sell and we noticed there was a little spike in sales in June and July in Australia, men were purchasing swim shorts to go overseas,” he said.
“Last year, when we didn’t have a store, all our friends would come to our office to pick up a pair of shorts before going away. When it came to opening up the store we offered a autumn/winter collection just for the sake of it. The spring/summer collection in the States was selling so we thought ‘let’s bring it to Bondi for people travelling’ and the sales have been far stronger than we expected.”
Smallbone and his business partner Sean Venturi estimated 20-30 per cent of sales would be summer stock and were surprised at the result.
“The majority of our sales, 80 per cent, in the last quarter was summer stock in a traditional winter period,” Smallbone said.
“We’re moving away from set seasons. We find that our customer will buy a piece from the autumn/winter collection and then pick up a linen shirt from the summer range,” Smallbone said.
Venroy was founded in 2010 with a wholesale business model and over the past six years has built up to 150 global retailers, including Barney’s in New York. The wholesale arm accounted for 95 per cent of the business and last year Smallbone and Venturi took a risk and pulled out of all of them.
“We lost control of our brand and fell out of touch with the end customer,” Smallbone said,
“When you’re a wholesaler, your customer is the department store so you’re trying to please them and slot into their business. You’re essentially another brand on a rack among other brands, so you don’t have a direct conversation with your customer.”
Pursuing that 5 per cent by retailing exclusively through its online store and flagship in Bondi has proven to be a good move.
“It was a gut feeling, we were looking ahead and saw that we could disrupt the traditional wholesale model, which has a lot of mark-ups. We were profitable at selling at a wholesale level and by removing the middle man we are able to offer much better value and maintain quality.”
The price of the brand’s hero item, the swim short, has now dropped from $109 to $85 and Smallbone believes that customers are inclined to spend that saving on another item.
“We’ve seen an increase in revenue and are tracking to make more this year than last year,” he said.
“We launched our new model in the second quarter of the 2016 financial year and are projecting that by the end of the current financial year, 2017, we will increase the revenue from the 2015 financial year by three to four times.”