Sue Rice Swimwear switches its focus to its online store
We wrote an article in 2009 on Sue Rice, swimwear entrepreneur and one of the true pioneers inonline retail in Australia. Sue proved that the Internet could be utilized to turn a retail store in Glebe NSW into a global business, with customers in the US, UK and other countries. Now Sue is closing her store down to focus purely on her online channel!
Readers sit in awe of many success stories they read about in the press wondering how these businesses have become so successful overnight. Unbeknownst to them these ‘overnight’ success stories have often taken around five or more years of hard work to achieve.
One of those successes is Kate Morris, CEO and founder of adorebeauty.com.au, a Melbourne based online cosmetics retailer. Kate agreed to look at a different angle of her business for us and explore the inside workings of her business, and provide some insights to a start up and what it takes to get a dream off the ground.
Sisters Sarah Tate and Kirsty Keane know that the web is truly the ideal place to promote and market unique and useful niche products. Take a look at their very friendly and inviting website ciaobellatravel.com.au. A niche site that focuses on providing practical products to female travellers. The concept of the site has been the result of a fascinating journey.
It's 7.30pm and I have just dialled Kirsty Keane’s phone number. The phone rings and is answered by Kirsty's husband. He deftly wants to know who it is when I ask to speak with Kirsty, and lowers his guard when I identify myself. To get Kirsty at a time where she won't be interrupted has taken a few emails between us to lock in this time. The baby is settled and we can talk. Having an online ebusiness has given Kirsty the flexibility she needs to be a mum, and also to look after her and sister Sarah's business. There is no such thing as regular work hours yet the sisters love what they do and wouldn't trade it for the world.
The internet is truly a level playing field. Whether a multi national corporate or a budding upstart, the barriers of entry to the internet are very low. Ask Sue Rice, a Sydney based swim wear designer, manufacturer, retailer and wholesaler, who has harnessed and leveraged the online channel with much success.
Sue’s tale epitomises multi channel retailing, entrepreneurship and innovation. Oh, I almost forgot to mention a little special ingredient required – passion! Sue started out studying design in Melbourne but was persuaded by “a weary stick in the mud teacher sans taste” to study textile design. At Sue’s first job at a carpet designer, in her own words she “woke up”. She moved to Sydney believing that Sydneysiders with their passion for the water might be convinced to spend more time in her Lycra. Soon the halls of David Jones were decked in Sue Rice swimsuits. Encouraged no end, she began to enter contests and sell to other department stores and take photos of models in swimsuits and life became a fabric frenzy.
Kate Vandermeer, InternetRetailing.com.au's guest blogger on Women in Internet Retailing
Kate comes from the Fashion Industry having worked with Mimco, French Connection, Decjuba and having established and brand managed “stylehunter.com” an online fashion magazine.
Women are charging ahead in the online space and carving their own unique path. It’s an industry that lends itself well to women’s natural, inherent abilities of viral communication, recommendation and thinking creatively.
Retailing in the online space is no longer an “opportunity”: it’s a necessity. With “browsing before you buy” becoming a key pre-purchase activity navigated online, as customers women are using the net to research, compare and ultimately purchase online like never before.
During the strategic planning phase of internetretailing.com.au, I wanted to find areas of interest and topics over and above those covered by other industry websites that focus on internet retailing that were niche focused and did not receive much attention in the press in Australia.