My business partner, Josephine Clough is a fashion photographer who works with some of the biggest swimwear designers and models globally. The initial concept of the site was a platform to showcase her photography. It’s Now Cool (INC) was created as a way to highlight her images via a content-led strategy.
Using Instagram in particular, we built a large following and moved to Bondi Beach, Sydney to continue to build our network. Within two years we attracted close to 400k Instagram followers.
We were receiving so many requests from people interested in buying swimwear from the images we featured. With my background of wholesale sales and brand management for surfwear companies in Australia, our complimentary skills set combined to create the INC retail store.
It’s interesting; it’s going the other way that’s been the challenge. We’ve been really strategic in how we develop the content on the INC Instagram. When we opened the INC online boutique it was really important for us to maintain the magazine/editorial focus of what Josie had started.
Instagram is one of our primary sales channels with over 400,000 followers in the first two years and it’s taken a lot of hard not to commercialize that editorial relationship with our audience as we transitioned to the retail store. We’ve focused on developing our Instagram profile over Facebook; it’s more visual and allows us to engage with our audience. It’s also been amazing to instantly have such a global reach out of the gates as our audiences have transitioned into customers.
Really, it’s anywhere the beach culture resonates – people who enjoy a healthy, beach lifestyle. This is why we felt we absolutely had to be based in Bondi. Authenticity is a huge part of where Josie and I have come from with her photography and my surfing background.
As for our customers, Australia and the U.S are currently our biggest markets. We’re seeing growth in customers from Europe particularly the UK, Italy and France.
Having the logistic solutions we have in place is such an opportunity as we’re not scared to talk internationally and are borderless as to where we ship to.
INC is very trend-based – essentially we see a trend we love and look to find the designer that’s best in class to represent that. This ties back to our editorial focus: we’re essentially discovering cool products for our audience. We’re always looking for new designers, and ones that have a limited presence in the marketplace so that our customers can find those hard to get pieces.
When we can’t find exactly what we are looking for we’ll partner with brands to do a cool collaboration with in order to give our audience what they are looking for.
In a similar vein to how we work with swimwear brands and designers, our relationships with influencers tend to be very organic.
We try to work with women who represent a positive and healthy lifestyle and hopefully this comes across in the images – INC is full of women who are aspirational role models with authenticity.
Actually we designed our branded packaging around the DHL satchels.
We wanted the customer experience online to translate to receiving your purchase, for our customers to feel like they are getting something special when they receive an INC delivery. It does add time to the packaging process, but our warehouse team actually enjoy taking care in each delivery with custom branded boxes, tissue paper, ribbon in clean lines in our core colours of black and white. We also include handwritten cards with every package, which we feel adds a personal touch and highlights the tailored and authentic nature of our brand.
Being a swimwear company, getting the right fit on our customers is incredibly important. Shipping to the US and having the ability for customers to easily return to Australia needs to be a simple process and we use DHL both ways to make it painless for our customers. Ensuring our customers love their purchases is of massive importance to our brand.
DHL has been pivotal in helping us grow our eCommerce site. The speed of delivery that DHL offers to the US has been huge to remove borders and allow us to compete with companies on the world stage.