Available since late 2015 through its four stores and website, the new range capitalises on the growing demand for this type of clothing line.
The Bondi Active line has been 12 months in the making, with a trade mark registered and the range trialled last summer.
“High performance fabrics are used, with the construction and performance at premium level,” Between the Flags MD, Grant Oayda, said. “But our pricing is probably around 20 per cent less than brands of equivalent quality, so it’s very keenly priced – it’s good value,” he said.
Another level of promotion of this range evolved through local distribution to health and fitness professionals.
“We put together a range of about 12 garments and gave it to around 30 local trainers and people in Bondi prominent in that area, and it went really well,” Oayda said. “We sold the full amount very quickly at full price. The feedback we got from the trainers was used in fine-tuning the next range.”
This resulted in Between The Flags entering into arrangements with a number of personal trainers and gyms within the Bondi area.
Oayda plans to further expand the brand with a menswear range and accessories, which will be ranged in the Bondi Active pop-up.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for us to grow our local market, as opposed to the souvenir side of things,” Oayda believes.
Currently, the Bondi Active line includes around 12 garments for women.
Fine-tuned business structure
Over the past four years, a streamlining of the Between The Flags business and a foray into retail software has seen a reduction in store numbers and consolidation of the retail business.
“The combination of the four stores and websites is a lot more profitable than the 12 stores were back then,” Oayda observed. “We used to be all over Australia trying to cater for international and domestic tourists.”
The Between The Flags business is now focused on stores within Sydney – two in the CBD (in Darling Harbour and The Rocks), and two in Bondi (on Campbell Parade and within Bondi Pavilion).
Between The Flags started as a licensing agency in 1994 and sprouted from a relationship between Oayda and Bondi Surf Club.
“I had a relationship with Bondi Surf Club and helped them manage their brand – which worked really well,” Oayda said. “It became the key souvenir brand for Sydney.
“We’ve now narrowed down and brought more focus to our existing BTF range. We’ve always had good support from locals because it started out as being a range for the clubbies at the local Surf Clubs,” he said. As tends to happen, tourists increasingly started buying Between The Flags products because they saw so many of the locals donning the brand.
“Because of that, we always had a better quality standard of ‘souvenir’ and we’ve maintained that, which has helped us maintain the market position that we have.”
The association with its original and prime location in tourist-heavy Bondi has had a lot to do with the strength of the brand. Between The Flags is well recognised and supported, and its core offer is still iconic Bondi apparel. The original Bondi store on Campbell Parade, which started out at a modest 35sqm, has now increased to about 120sqm.
Flagged for success
So where to next for the brand? Oayda said the business is now operating in a much more streamlined manner than it did in its early years.
“It’s working a lot better – our ranging is now much simpler … we’re putting more time and effort into our websites and digital systems,” Oayda said.
“We have a unique opportunity in that our store traffic is mostly new customers, which gives us the chance to build a substantial mailing list. We hope to get the repeat orders from interstate and international customers for the Bondi Active range in the same way we have for our core basics, such as the BTF kid’s rashie and our heavy weight 80/20 hoodies.”
With the success of the Bondi Active pop-up – which will continue trading for at least another six months, and could potentially become a permanent fixture – two more Bondi Active sites have been identified and are under negotiation, both within the eastern suburbs, and one in Bondi.
Reflecting Oayda’s credo of there being “a lot of opportunity”, there are even more lofty ambitions in the offing. As well as the two new stores and the launch of an activewear line, Between The Flags has flagged (pun intended) an expansive foray into a yet to be named high-tech project.
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