Grana and DHL Express, successfully exporting affordable luxury

5 min read
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Fashion brand Grana is an object lesson on how to successfully scale an e-commerce brand. At launch, they shipped to 8 markets. Five years later, they’re shipping to over 70.

When Luke Grana went to visit his brother in Peru, he wasn’t planning on the trip being the start of a worldwide fashion empire. But once he’d experienced the luxurious feel and incredible durability of Peruvian Pima cotton, Luke was a man on a mission. Impressed by the material and annoyed by the low quality and high mark-ups in the fashion industry, he set out to bring the world timeless essentials, made from the world’s finest fabrics, at affordable prices. And thus the Grana brand was born.

Finding a global hub

If you want to create a worldwide fashion brand, you need the right base. Here’s Luke Grana’s thought process: “The existing industry is very inefficient with a lot of middlemen. I asked myself, 'where is the best location to set up a global distribution center?’"  He considered Hong Kong’s status as a free port with no customs charges on imported goods and “made a decision to buy a one-way ticket and go straight to Hong Kong."


Fashioning a partnership with DHL Express

Luke had a clear idea of where he wanted the business to go, right from the start: “My first meeting was with the DHL Express team. I was selling the idea of e-commerce from Hong Kong and saying I really see DHL as my shopping mall. Let’s form a really strong partnership, with you as my direct link to the customer. DHL were very open, very supportive and we’ve been able to build a great relationship.”

Making premium quality affordable

The way Luke sees it, “Grana is unique because we really obsess over the quality of fabric – Peruvian Pima cotton, Japanese denim, Mongolian cashmere, Chinese silk.” Of course that kind of quality doesn’t come cheap, which is where Grana’s difference really shows: “We’ve got a very lean, efficient business model. We can provide high-quality garments at a price the market’s never seen before.” By working directly with textile mills and manufacturers, Grana can strike good deals on premium fabrics. And by integrating directly with DHL Express's e-commerce system, the brand has a streamlined, cost-efficient supply chain, filling closets worldwide.

From its humble beginnings in a 50 square foot Hong Kong warehouse, Grana now ships to 70 countries and has five pop-up stores in Asia. By bringing clothes made from the finest fabrics available to the average customer, Grana is truly fulfilling Luke’s dream of transforming the fashion industry from the ground up.

People sitting around work table choosing material

Looking to the future

As far as Luke is concerned, this is just the beginning for the Grana brand: “We excel online and that’s where the focus is. The clothing industry is worth US$1.8trn per annum, but online sales only make up 5% of that. By 2030, however, that will reach 30%.”

While fashions come and go, it looks like the concept of affordable luxury is here to stay.