25/02/2010 - 00:00

Confidence a must-have in fashionable circles

25/02/2010 - 00:00

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WITH talk of a national economic recovery thanks largely to Western Australia's resources industry, it is perhaps to be expected that those in the state's fashion business are seeing the benefits on their own spreadsheets.

Confidence a must-have in fashionable circles

WITH talk of a national economic recovery thanks largely to Western Australia's resources industry, it is perhaps to be expected that those in the state's fashion business are seeing the benefits on their own spreadsheets.
But the reality seems to tell a different story.
Over the years, WA has forged a reputation for producing some of Australia's top designers and fashion labels. Fashion legend Liz Davenport, who this year is celebrating 35 years in the industry, says consumers are gradually becoming more confident when it comes to spending their dollars on fashion.
"Consumer confidence was affected (by the downturn) so people are buying a lot less" Ms Davenport told WA Business News.
She said while no-one knows when the economy will turn around, as talk of a boom increases, consumer confidence follows.
For Ms Davenport, the economic bust hasn't been the defining challenge in her career; in fact, she says challenges come on so many levels and "if you handle each challenge, no one challenge becomes greater than any other".
The economic climate has not affected the brand too much, Ms Davenport said, with the loyalty of customers vital to the Liz Davenport brand during recent times.
There are plans for new stores in Queensland and Victoria and an extension of the brand, a lingerie line will be released later this year and a home wares range to be developed in the near future.
"I think the most important thing is to have an almost suicidal commitment and belief in the product you are dealing with," Ms Davenport said, putting the longevity of her success down to an unwavering positive attitude.
She said lowered consumer confidence as a result of the downturn had presented as an issue not just for the veterans of WA's fashion industry.
One of this year's WA Business News 40under40 Award winners and owner of up-and-coming giftware and fashion store Pigeonhole, Johann Kim, has learned many lessons from starting his business in the midst of the 2007 WA boom.
Mr Kim said while it was a good time to start a business, with the benefit of hindsight it would have been a bonus to start the Pigeonhole brand earlier, generating more growth prior to the downturn.
"Sales are down for most people in fashion but if you are a smart trader you can weather it," Mr Kim said.
Pigeonhole's sales from the gift side of the store may have sustained the business during the downturn but Mr Kim acknowledged there was more to surviving an economic downturn than that.
He said relationships with customers and suppliers alike had been integral to the business.
"I started out with the intention of creating good relationships with suppliers but I didn't realise how much of an influence that would have," Mr Kim said.
WITH talk of a national economic recovery thanks largely to Western Australia’s resources industry, it is perhaps to be expected that those in the state’s fashion business are seeing the benefits on their own spreadsheets.

But the reality seems to tell a different story.

Over the years, WA has forged a reputation for producing some of Australia’s top designers and fashion labels. Fashion legend Liz Davenport, who this year is celebrating 35 years in the industry, says consumers are gradually becoming more confident when it comes to spending their dollars on fashion.

“Consumer confidence was affected (by the downturn) so people are buying a lot less” Ms Davenport told WA Business News.

She said while no-one knows when the economy will turn around, as talk of a boom increases, consumer confidence follows.

For Ms Davenport, the economic bust hasn’t been the defining challenge in her career; in fact, she says challenges come on so many levels and “if you handle each challenge, no one challenge becomes greater than any other”.

The economic climate has not affected the brand too much, Ms Davenport said, with the loyalty of customers vital to the Liz Davenport brand during recent times.

There are plans for new stores in Queensland and Victoria and an extension of the brand, a lingerie line will be released later this year and a home wares range to be developed in the near future.

“I think the most important thing is to have an almost suicidal commitment and belief in the product you are dealing with,” Ms Davenport said, putting the longevity of her success down to an unwavering positive attitude.

She said lowered consumer confidence as a result of the downturn had presented as an issue not just for the veterans of WA’s fashion industry.

One of this year’s WA Business News 40under40 Award winners and owner of up-and-coming giftware and fashion store Pigeonhole, Johann Kim, has learned many lessons from starting his business in the midst of the 2007 WA boom.

Mr Kim said while it was a good time to start a business, with the benefit of hindsight it would have been a bonus to start the Pigeonhole brand earlier, generating more growth prior to the downturn.

“Sales are down for most people in fashion but if you are a smart trader you can weather it,” Mr Kim said.

Pigeonhole’s sales from the gift side of the store may have sustained the business during the downturn but Mr Kim acknowledged there was more to surviving an economic downturn than that.

He said relationships with customers and suppliers alike had been integral to the business.

“I started out with the intention of creating good relationships with suppliers but I didn’t realise how much of an influence that would have,” Mr Kim said.

 

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