Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Face Behind The_Edit

Running fashion blog The Game Changer, working forty hours a week and writing for XXIV Magazine - Nikki certainly is a busy lady. I caught up with her over coffee to get the goss on her recently launched online store, The_Edit Online. With an on-trend check shirt, wide brimmed hat and overflowing To-Do List, Nikki is the epitome of the fabulous working woman. What did I find out? That she sleeps with her phone in hand, spends hours on flatlay images, works in her pyjamas and doesn't own trackies (ah, finally someone I can relate to on this). Oh, and that The_Edit is a fast growing success.

What does The_Edit bring to the fashion world that’s new?
We focus definitely on embracing new designers and new brands. We also showcase established ones - but we’re new to the game as well. It’s all about supporting, supporting local and Australian labels. We have really good relationships with our new designers. They want us to do well so they do well and we want them to do well as well. I think we target a few different types of women. We definitely do the work woman – we love a classic shirt, we love tailored skirts and midi skirts. But we’re definitely on trend with a twist, which is also something that I believe in. We don’t want to just be like everyone else. We want to showcase that there are different brands you might not know of and different styles. We want to be ahead of the game. It’s all about supporting all of our labels. We’re the ‘final edit’. People don’t have to go out and look - it’s all here for them.

What are your favourite pieces currently stocked on The_Edit?

I love the SCK dresses, they are amazing. Sophia is the most amazing designer. I’d say the Jennifer Kate stock, she has a lot of plaid and stripes and leather, it’s very me. I love her capes and I think she’s releasing more next season. I love her stuff. She was a latecomer as well. I went to a showroom to see someone else and saw her stuff and thought it was amazing. I was like ‘tell me what you have!’ and just went crazy and bought it all. Its such good quality and definitely my style.  

Tell me a bit about the production of your business – has creating an online store always been a dream or goal of yours?
No, definitely not! When I was doing my university internship (a fashion internship at Adelaide’s Empire PR) I kind of talked to my mentor about it and she said ‘why not?’  I got tips from her because it’s such a big thing. I was like ‘Where do I start?!’ Then I definitely looked at competitors, I looked at my goals and what I wanted to achieve. The next step was working out what brands I wanted to work with and from there you cut it down by looking at their latest collections and price points. There are brands I love but The_Edit’s price point is 100 – 500, so I didn’t want to go too low or over that. I looked at what worked with our branding and everything like that and before you knew it, I was launched! I started in December and we launched April, so it was about three months maybe all up. It was either quickly do it then and get whatever stock people had left or wait another three months to get stock – which is crazy! I guess you learn a lot when you’re on a timeline.

What would your advice be to anybody with the dream of launching their own online store?

Do your homework! Find someone similar in the business that will support you and be a mentor. If you have a good network, finding people to support you comes easily. Even Adelaide Creatives who are a Facebook Group have been fantastic about finding photographers and that kind of thing. Those people just turn into your support system. Be 100% committed because you are investing a lot of money and time into it. The thing is, if you don’t risk it now, you’re never going to risk it. It’s either go for it now or start a mundane job and do something that you don’t really love – and that’s how it is with any dream. I think the younger you do it, within reason, the better. But don’t rush into it!

Do you feel that retail is becoming or will become a predominantly online industry?
It’s always nice to be able to go and try things on and have that store assistance but there are also so many negatives with that. I mean, everyone’s had negative experiences in store and online but I think online’s getting easier. It’s easier to return, things come in quicker and you get a better look at it. You know, people do things like Polyvore sets so you can still see how the clothing will work. Customer experience is definitely a huge thing online now. You can shop whenever, you have 24/7 access. I literally sleep with my phone in my hand and every time it vibrates I wake up to answer someone’s email in a whole different country. I want to have that access. We have a lot of international shoppers, maybe even more now, and I want to be able to answer them straight away. When you are still working like me – I work forty hours a week, I blog – you can just do everything instead of sitting inside a store and having to wait around.

What are the benefits of running an online store as opposed to an actual shop?

I like to work in my pyjamas out of my bed! I don’t even have to get up, everything’s online! I guess in a way if you’re in a store you’re stuck there, whereas I can be on shoots and still doing my business stuff. It can be taken anywhere.  You can still have your customer service and we can afford to have sales. We’re currently running exclusives every week and having 25% off because we can afford to do that for our customers and they love it. I can afford more stock, I can do cool things with photographers and I’m not stuck in an office or anything like that. The support in Adelaide is crazy! We’ve had the best support from other businesses like Adelaide Fashion Revolution and Adelaide Fashion Festival. Everyone’s just been really supportive and love seeing people in Adelaide do well. It’s all community based in Adelaide which is the best thing.

You are based in Adelaide, a small city. Do you think choosing to be online allowed greater growth for your business than if you were to open an actual store in such a small city? Why/why not?
Definitely. I mean, stores do well but all the extra costs would not allow me to put as much investment into it. It’s about 40-60% of Australians buy 40% international now. My first sale was overseas, which is crazy. I don’t even know how she found me! We get so many hits from America, like Texas. I had one from New York the other day and I was so happy. I know I have social media but that’s crazy!

Adelaide’s fashion industry is rapidly expanding with businesses and labels – Aus Fashion Labels to name a few. However, we still seem to fly under the radar nationally and internationally. What do you think it will take to put our fashion industry on par with larger cities such as Sydney and Melbourne?
I think we just need to believe in ourselves. I think a lot of people have this issue where they think they can’t achieve their goals in Adelaide, which is obviously a huge lie, look at Aus Fashion Labels who are just killing it crazily. It’s not the olden days where we don’t have contact with any other places. Online, social media is killing it. Without social media I think it wold definitely be a different story for us. You wouldn’t be able to come across all these cool things just by looking up hashtags. I think people need to be a bit more proud of where they come from. People that do make it big tend to move to Melbourne or Sydney, which is understandable, but they still need to have a sense of pride in where they’re from. We just need to pride ourselves and get our names out there and stop being so afraid. I think that’s our problem.  Even with our dress sense – you go to Melbourne and people don’t give a shit. It’s nice to dress nice! I don’t even own trackies. I wear jeans at home. If we take pride in who we are and how we dress and keep working on our industry, we’ll grow. Social media is so important. I couldn’t imagine not having social media. There’s so much you can do – if you have a cool clutch you can do a flatlay with it. Flatlays are like a three hour job! Its intense, and my parents just don’t get it. They don’t get the blog thing and they don’t get the social media thing. They ask me what I do with my day and I show them a flatlay and say ‘See this? Three hours!’ They just look at me like I’m crazy. But hey, I guess I’m using their whole house for all my stock.

What’s next for The_Edit?
We’re expanding by heaps next season. We’ve got Aus Fashion Labels joining, we’ve got Jaggar coming – I ordered so much for me, I’m scared to look. I didn’t even total it before I put it in the cart. Jagger is actually really affordable though so I was happy with that. It’s just about growing our customer base, growing on social media, really getting out there. We’re doing a lot of collaborations with bloggers. I’m going to Melbourne in July to get our name out there and that’s what it’s all about. We’re running competitions and doing collaborations with magazines and other brands. It’s just really about support back and forth. I’m all about sticking to our branding. People want to buy into a vibe, like a cool, effortless kind of thing. We have to stick with who our customer is and what they would like. I don’t buy anything I don’t feel comfortable with. We’re looking at maybe doing something with Adelaide Fashion Festival which would be amazing.  I always forget how new we are. I have to bring myself back down because I get so down over a not so good week but I’ve only been open under two months! We’ve got nearly 2k followers, I have at least a few sales a week and our stock is high price. You always have to pull yourself down or you’ll get so lost in what other people are doing. And at the end of the day, we don’t want to be like other people, that’s the whole point.

Have a suss of The_Edit and fill your wardrobe with fashionable goodness here. Religiously stalk Nikki and her impeccable taste at her blog, The Game Changer.

'Till next time,

*Images sourced from The_Edit Online & The Game Changer Blog, edited by me.

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