Tell us about you and your business
I had been working for large retail companies specialising in women’s accessories and handbags for over 20 years. Mid last year I made the decision to leave my senior role as Head of Design and Buying manager to pursue my dream to consult and also launch my own online brand.
There are 2 parts to my business, the first being a consultant to fashion retailers. I was fortunate enough to be approached by 2 companies who wanted me to consult for them and review their accessory and handbag strategy and implement new opportunities, this gave me work on average 3-4 days per week which was fantastic and meant I was actually my own boss!
The 2nd part was launching my own online brand, this has been a goal for me for many years, and yes a launched this right in the middle of COVID-19 (27th April 2020) Arrived was conceived in 2019, we create stylish baby bags for modern parents. The kind that you can take out to brunch, the gym, the office and beyond. Because there’s nothing worse than carrying a nappy bag, that looks like it’s full of dirty nappies. Our baby bags are style-led, using timeless designs with quality fabrics. We’ve created a cohesive collection that can be used long after your children are all grown up.
How have you been impacted by COVID-19?
As soon as COVID-19 reached Australia and restrictions were increasing both my consulting jobs stopped straight away, this meant I had no further regular income.
My stock for Arrived was on its way and I made the decision to keep going with this, I had to review both mine and my husbands finances and literally work out how we could do this with just one salary and a young son.
I originally planned to do a press launch for the brand so people could see and touch the product, my only outlet now to do this is through social media and influencer collaborations.
How have you adapted to the restrictions?
You just have to get on with it, luckily as my brand is so new and only online I didn’t have to stand anyone down or look at office space leases etc.
Strict guidelines when picking and packing an order, gloves, hand sanitizer and a very clean packing area have been implemented.
What have you learnt over this time?
Be patient, everyone is adapting and coming to terms with what is happening at the moment. Customers are shopping differently and until we get back to some state of normality, building my brand is going to take time.
What do you see for the future of retail?
I see online as the biggest growth for retailers, customers who had never shopped online had to adapt to this and now they see it as an easy shopping alternative. I feel for large retailers they are also going to look at sourcing within Australia, they can not risk not having stock; exactly what happened when COVID-19 first hit China and coinciding with Chinese New Year. I believe this is an amazing opportunity for Australian brands to grow and hopefully expand.
Karen & her son Oscar