The state’s fashion industry is in a good place as its penchant for a creative approach to business opens opportunities.
Innovation has been a major focus of this publication in recent times.
In part, that is due to the changing economic environment, with a downturn in mining leading to business founders and investors focusing their attention on new sectors for development.
Publishers keep a close eye on the market, looking for the trends that help readers make better business decisions.
And there is a longer-term underlying trend in this change that Business Newsidentified well before the boom petered out – that the wealth generated by mining and resulting rise in standard of living are drivers of innovation in their own right.
Innovators come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s no doubt it’s easier to experiment and take risks when there is less pressure to food on the table or to keep warm.
Furthermore, when it comes to consumer products, a rich community equals a local market with needs and wants similar to other wealthy parts of the world; places where the internet is ubiquitous (as it is here), giving Western Australian business access to a global market once they have road tested their products locally.
While much of the recent focus on innovation and creativity has been on technology, arguably the fashion industry has led this trend for some considerable time.
The fashion industry, led by some very smart people in the sector and assisted by corporate leaders, has been steadily growing its profile, such that its best performers are well positioned to take advantage of changing economic circumstances. Certainly, local consumers will be harder to win over as tougher conditions prevail, but those with established names can benefit from the reduced Australia dollar and the global reach provided by online consumption.
Reflecting this, Business News and its online database BNiQ have teamed up with the Perth Fashion Festival to create two lists for our subscribers to explore. The first is a big new list of around 90 fashion designers based in the state – a healthy number for a remote and isolated state centred in a capital city of less than 2 million people.
The second list is focused on the retail precincts that focus on fashion.
This is our first in-depth look at the mechanics of the WA fashion industry. We look forward to keeping our readers abreast of developments in the future.
This week we have also focused attention on branding, a regular examination of what is trending in that space Business News has undertaken for more than a decade.
At the top end, the most notable WA brands have not changed in that time. Bunnings, for instance, remains a leader, although it is now a very national name run out of Melbourne, albeit still owned by Perth-based Wesfarmers.
But branding is so much more than a few household names that advertise heavily across the broadcast spectrum.
Brands, as the experts will tell you, are also more than just logos and slogans; they represent the organisation’s culture and values. Even for small businesses, this is an important part of their ability to find and retain new customers.
As the experts in our feature suggest, now is not the time to abandon brand investment. When consumers and business customers become wary of spending due to economic constraint, their trust and faith in a brand becomes even more important because there is more at risk in their purchasing decisions.
Brand investment is different from tinkering with or otherwise changing a brand.
Here at Business News we radically changed our brand two and half years ago, not only to update what had become a very old look, but also to reflect that our business was no longer all about the print format.
Our rebranding coincided with the relaunch of our online offering, which included taking our previously print-focused data and turning it into a local business search engine, BNiQ.
The brand change was important but so was the investment in technology, the risk in developing an untried new product and the cultural change within the business that was needed to pull this off successfully.