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High-end Aussie eyes global targets

Camilla_Pop_Up_ConceptRising revenue and global expansion are fuelling optimism for fashion retailer Camilla, which has just launched a pop-up store at the transforming domestic airport in Sydney.

Prompted by the opportunity presented by the redevelopment of the T3 Qantas terminal, Camilla has launched its 20th boutique, dubbed The Tented Temple.

The concept store marks the launch of a new travel pop-up concept for the global brand, informed by approximately 15 years of exploration around the world. The new concept will act as a source of inspiration for future pop-ups around the world within leading retail partners including Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Harrods and Selfridges in London, as well as select premium worldwide hotels and other airport travel destinations.

“As a pioneer brand in the Australian retail space, we are the first high-end designer to enter the space which speaks volumes to the strength of our brand and our resonance in the traveller’s shopping mind-set,” Camilla CEO Jane McNally told IRW.

Testing the waters in travel retail have long been on the agenda, given the fashion chain’s belief that “clothes are made to travel”, with part of Camilla’s global retail strategy centred on penetrating the travel industry further including at airports, high end hotels and even private islands.
Well-known for its highly embellished kaftans often worn by celebrities such as Oprah and Beyonce, Camilla now has 20-owned boutiques in Australia, over 500 stockists globally and is available in 55 countries worldwide.

“This travel pop-up is a completely new concept for us and as our first airport boutique, we wanted to ensure the notion of pitching a tent, with all our suitcases, travel treasures and animal friends shone through from the moment you enter,” said McNally.

“[It’s] a space that truly ignites the wanderlust spirit for visitors and also acts as an exhibition space for the brand’s journey around the world over the past 14 years – a journey that all started in our hometown of Sydney.”

Despite encountering logistical challenges in “creating something a little different inside an airport space where safety considerations must absolutely come first”, McNally said Qantas and Sydney Airport welcomed the initiative. The pop-up will run for one year initially before being reassessed.

“One of the good things about being on the doorstep of one of the greatest cities in the world, is someone, somewhere is always going on holiday,” said McNally. “If our first few weeks of operation are an indication of success, this boutique is going to be another feather in our embellished Akubra hat.

“Sales are strong and our traveller’s edit of the collection has been very well-received. Airports and the travel industry are an important component of our expansion strategy globally so Sydney Airport is being closely watched.”

Global game

One year on after becoming Camilla CEO, McNally said she has taken several cues from the brand’s founder and owner, Camilla Franks.

“She’s always onto the next thing and asking, ‘How do we make it better, bigger and bolder?’ It is a true entrepreneurial approach to business. It not only keeps us true to the brand’s heritage but also pushes us to keep growing.”

New styles, categories and markets are central components of the brand’s strategy.

“Each collection now features approximately 30 per cent new products, which is keeping us at the forefront of global fashion and guiding us into a contemporary space that will complement our iconic resort wear offering perfectly,” said McNally.

image002“Geographically, our brand’s success knows no borders, we’re truly global and as far as Australian designers go, Camilla has one of the biggest footprints worldwide.”

The brand’s largest market is undoubtedly Australia, followed by the US, which makes up 60 per cent of its international wholesale market.

“Our rate of global growth in terms of sales is sitting pretty at 30 per cent year-on-year.”

In 2018, Camilla will redevelop several key boutiques in Australia with an updated design, expand into new floors and new doors with major wholesale partners in the US and UK and open its first international boutique in the US.

“Of course, we also need to ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure in place so this year, we are rolling out some big new systems technology which will support our customer focus and growth,” said McNally.

In terms of choosing whether the brand’s efforts should be focused on online or its physical stores, McNally believes it comes down “to knowing your customer and looking after your customer really well”.

“You need to be able to anticipate where, how and when they want to shop and engage with your brand – and be there for them,” she commented.

“Our systems improvement rollout will ensure that the customer can buy in whichever manner she prefers. Our customer is so diverse, spanning borders, trends and the ‘rules of fashion’ all over the world. We want to be wherever she is and wherever she dreams of going. Our online business is growing at a rapid pace, both here in Australia and also in the US.

“Our product is unique so our bricks-and-mortar experience will always be a place to invite people into the Camilla world, supported by a strong online user experience across web and social.”

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