This article is for the Professionals
Sign up to Inside Retail Professional now for only $5+GST for your first three months.
That's an 85% discount plus you’ll get FREE access to all Masterclasses during Retail Week. 5 retail industry leaders like you’ve never seen them before.Already a professional? Log in
Co-founder and director Tania Liu acquired Tran’s share of the business in May, and appointed a new creative director, Marsha Vetolskiy, in August. We recently spoke with Liu about the major changes that have occurred in the last few months, the launch of the brand’s summer 2021 collection, and what’s next for TDE.
Inside Retail: The new campaign seems to have a big focus on travel. How did you decide on this theme and what is the main message you’re hoping to convey?
Tania Liu: For us, the end of the year is about coming together, reconnecting with loved ones, taking a well-deserved break and celebrating the wins – big and small! The Covid-19 pandemic has obviously impacted our opportunities to do this as freely as we once did, with the notion of travelling abroad to recalibrate and rejuvenate becoming more and more fanciful with ongoing lockdowns. As such, when concepting our campaign, we were certainly inspired by nostalgia, escapism and that idea of the ‘golden age of travel’. Quite simply, we wanted to convey a return to joy!
IR: With restrictions easing across New South Wales and Victoria, what are your expectations in terms of sales and consumer behaviour over the next few months?
TL: Generally speaking, whether it be retail, hospitality or travel industry, my sense is that consumers are seeking out experiences – they want to be offered a heightened, responsive and immersive brand experience that adds value to their day or to their transaction.
IR: I believe the brand is manufactured in China – has TDE been impacted by the global supply chain crisis?
TL: One of our biggest challenges over the past 18 months has been logistics, with the global supply chain crisis certainly causing us some pain points. Operating our business throughout the pandemic has without question helped me to identify areas for improvement in our processes and even in our tech stack. So whilst we have been impacted, the silver lining is that inherent inefficiencies were highlighted, meaning that I can now work with the team on remedies which will strengthen TDE operations moving forward.
IR: What have the past few months been like for TDE, given the departure of your co-founder Alyce Tran in May, and the return of Covid-19 lockdowns in July and August?
TL: It has been (and we continue to be in) a period of change and transition. Covid prompted a comprehensive review of our retail strategy, both in terms of our actual network and how we would like our customers to experience and interact with TDE in bricks-and-mortar. In addition to the great people already in the business, I also made key hires – with the intention of building out a strong, passionate team – and together we have started to identify the next chapter of TDE and plan out the priority projects which will kickstart our journey ahead.
IR: I saw that you appointed a new creative director. Do you see this as the start of a new era for TDE, or is it business as usual?
TL: Yes, I do. It is the start of a new era for TDE and a signpost in our evolution. TDE was one of the first brands in the market to offer affordable and accessible personalisation, and our objective now is to capitalise on our position by consolidating the business to set us up for growth, by laying down brand fundamentals and by offering the consumer a more desirable design proposition. Personalisation will continue to be an important part of TDE, but first and foremost we will be design-led.
IR: What are your top priorities for TDE in 2022
TL: We will undertake a holistic brand refresh, which will apply to everything from our visual identity to our positioning and purpose. We will refine our merchandise structure and implement a delivery cadence that better aligns with marketing opportunities and with the expectations of the consumer. We will pursue international growth opportunities, particularly across the US. Our New York City location was hit especially hard by Covid, and we need to invest more there to return that business to growth.
Last but certainly not least, we will also undertake a strategic retail shift, expanding our flagship boutique presence and building upon the TDE aesthetic to create beautiful in-store environments.