Pearls of wisdom

 

Paspaley2An Australian luxury brand has flagged plans for expansion across Australia and new international markets, with the retailer to open its first boutique in Brisbane later this year followed by a store in Hong Kong.

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Australian pearling company, Paspaley, has five retail boutiques in Australia, including two stores in Melbourne, and one each in Sydney, Broome, and Darwin. It will open in Brisbane by mid-September on Queen St in the CBD.

Outside of Australia, Paspaley operates three stores in Dubai. Another store is earmarked for Hong Kong, with the retailer currently wait listed for the city’s IFC shopping mall. It is also eyeing a flagship site in the Big Apple.

According to Paspaley’s GM of global retail, Richard Broug, there is scope for two more stores in Australia.

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“The Paspaley brand is quite honestly Australia’s only true luxury brand,” Broug said at the ADMA Global Forum in Sydney.

“When I joined the business there was clearly a vision for the retail business and that was to be the premiere destination for pearl connoisseurs, but the roadmap on how to get there was not developed.

“To ensure everyone was on the same page we started working back from the customer,” he said.

“In luxury retail you have the added barrier of really needing to create desire because you’re after that discretionary spend, which is very hard to get your hands on.

“The other added barrier as a luxury retailer is to get people over the threshold and enter the store, because some [customers] feel like they don’t belong.”

Broug joined the company in 2011, having previously held executive positions at Target, Big W, Coles Group, and Woolworths.

“A common thing businesses sometimes lose sight of is that you need to work back from the customer. We embarked on some extensive research domestically as well as overseas and developed a sustainable retail strategy.

“In every business that I have ever worked I have found that the business is in trouble because they have bought too much product, the wrong product, have lost of sight of their customer value proposition and haven’t been able to articulate it effectively, or there is no integration between silos.”

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Last year Paspaley unveiled its latest store design at a 50sqm boutique in Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Brisbane and Hong Kong will open under the new look, while boutiques along Collins St and in Darwin are currently being converted.

Paspaley has also overhauled its staff training program, launching an online retail training and engagement program for employees, including a monitored questionnaire.

“Our staff have been taught how to address customers and tailor their storytelling. The turnaround in having done that in our business has been phenomenal – we have increased the store conversion rate by 25 per cent.”

Paspaley has an online store, which Broug says is undergoing a facelift.

“We use it to test other markets, and it’s critical to create a connection between the customer.”

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