Home' Australian Giftguide : Apr Jun 2013 Contents australian giftguide
When Firefly designer
first launched her fashion
and accessories products to the
gift and homewares industry at a
2004 trade show there were very
few apparel wholesalers there.
Nine years later that number has
spiked with more clothing brands
trying their luck with retailers in
"It's definitely growing and
there's definitely more of an
overlap---the lifestyle store,"
she says. "It's not really a new
concept but in the time that I've
been displaying my range the
growth of the lifestyle store per se
has been quite substantial."
No longer are gift and
homewares stores strictly the
domain of things like cards, vases
and kitchen gadgets. They have
morphed into what could almost
be considered a one-stop-shop
where customers can purchase a
whole outfit, redecorate the home,
pamper themselves and treat
friends and family. This is what's
known as a lifestyle store.
Consumers are driving the
trend with their busy lives and
online access to the latest trends
and products overseas. They
want their bricks and mortar
shopping experience to be not
just more fulfilling but more
convenient as well.
"The necessity of having that
lifestyle offer is because we are
time poor as consumers, we don't
have all day to shop anymore
and we want our specialist
retailers to specialise a little bit
more because we're bored," says
Nancy Georges, The Retail Miss
Fix-It at Magnolia Solutions. "I'd
say the last 10 years ... I think
changes like that and changes
in technology and consumer
behaviour have all meant that
the marketplace and operation
people are working in have
Fudge: Gifts, Home and
Lifestyle owner Allison Brown
knows consumer influence on
product selection first hand.
Originally her store didn't sell
apparel but customers soon asked
if she would stock women's
clothes. Brown found niche
brands such as One Season
that weren't stocked in major
shopping centres, were a good
price point and suitable for a
wide demographic. It has been a
positive move for her business.
"It has certainly given us a
fantastic opportunity to bring
different people into the store,"
she says. "People that would
have a look around and maybe
not necessarily needed a gift
but saw an item of clothing
they really liked will make a
purchase," she says. "If we didn't
have the apparel or clothing they
would have walked around and
not necessarily needed a gift or
needed homewares and walked
straight out again, so it has really
been very complimentary."
At twopairs Homeware apparel
has always been available for
purchase but is now a much
bigger section of the store. Its
owners view it as an equal part
of their business to homewares.
They look for niche brands,
Australian labels and a mixture of
price points. Co-owner Christina
Moulton says clothing fits well
in the same space as pieces for
the home and agrees with the
lifestyle store concept.
"It seemed like a perfect
match," she explains. "The
majority of our customers are
women who take pride in their
homes and we felt an extension
of that is pride and interest in one
self hence clothing and jewellery
seemed to work."
According to George Lancaster,
Australian Gifts and Homewares
and membership manager,
competition is forcing retailers to
provide a lifestyle store instead of
just a one product concept.
"It's about keeping customers
longer in your store so one
category per store just isn't going
to cut it anymore---you're going
to get hit by online, which does
that very well," he says. "I think
online's strength is going after a
particular category and [focusing
on] price, and the future of
bricks and mortar is to create an
experience of a wide variety of
product and once that customer
comes in they can sell them a
variety of things from head to toe
and for the house."
Holiday designer Rayna
Hooper---who has a background
in retail---also found competition
a factor in adding apparel
to homewares stores. She
noticed her traditional big
sellers were dropping off and
unable to compete with low
cost department store ranges.
Fashion was the solution and
This experience helped in the
creation of her brand, which is
targeted at homewares retailers.
She first took the brand to stores
that had her style but didn't have
More and more gift and homewares retailers
are transitioning their businesses into
lifestyle stores with the addition of apparel.
RACHAEL GAVIN investigates the trend.
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