Interviews with designers & buyers at Melbourne Retail Festival 2019

Host 1: Hey everyone, I’m here with Tessa from the Iconic. Now Tessa is this your first time to the Melbourne Retail Festival?

Tessa: Yes it is, we did attend the Sydney one, I think it was late last year. But yeah it’s the first time to the Melbourne one.

Host 1: And what do you think?

Tessa: Yeah, it’s great. I mean, such a good location to start with, and lots of different brands, from all different departments.

Host 1: And did you get a chance to make it to the discussion panel?

Tessa: No actually, we were caught up talking to some of the brands.

Host 1: And what do you think are the benefits for labels coming here? You know, we’ve got the discussion panels, but them being able to showcase, how important is that?

Tessa: Yeah I means it’s really good. Lots of the brands here have quite a difference with, like the quality of their products. And there were lots of brands that we saw that were quite sustainable and had different fabrics. So it’s really good be able to see the products in person, you could see the quality of it, which was really nice. You don’t always get that, especially working in an online business, you know. People would send through a look books and things like that, but not often we get to see the products in person.

Host 1: Will your team be coming to Sydney for the Sydney Retail Festival?

Tessa: Yeah for sure, yeah it’s definitely great for us to go and see. Some people we already work with are here and it’s great to catch up. And then yeah, obviously, always looking for new brands and new partners and things like that.

Host 1: That’s fantastic. Well thank you so much for coming along and joining us, and we’ll see you at Sydney.

Host 2: Were here at the Melbourne Retail Festival, with me I have Peri, Head Buyers from HUSK. Now tell me Peri, what are doing here today?

Peri : Yeah I’m here to support any independent trade show that support Australian designers really.

Host 2: Yeah of course, sounds so good. Now tell me, for a label to be here, what do you think is the most important thing for them?

Peri: I think they have to have an identity, I think they need to be engaged. And I talk about it a lot in the panel; indigital. I think online is such a strong part of what we do now, so I think to be here you really have to understand what you’re wanting, who you want to work with and have a really true identity and grasp what your product is, really.

Host 2: And being a buyers yourself, is there something you’ve got an eye today?

Peri: I’m quite broad. I work for HUSK so it’s all about discovery. So I don’t like to pigeonhole myself, I’m quite open when it comes to brands. But I guess brands that are connecting with trend, and are modern and innovative, probably is where I’m going.

Host 2: Chivy from Seagulls of St Kilda. Now tell me Chivy, what are you doing here?

Chivy: I just sat on a panel and had a discussion about the future of retail, and the shift from digital to brick and mortar stores. So that was really interesting, to sit amongst my peers, and have their thoughts and ideas on the whole journey, I guess.

Host 2: Awesome. So tell me, as a buyers. What do you think is the most important aspect for being here today?

Chivy: As a buyers, I think the most important aspect for being here today is to stress how important is to understand your customer. So knowing how your customer is, knowing who you are buying for, knowing what she does you know, socially. Just how her everyday life runs and just trying to refine that through what she wears, is imperative.

I’ve had a few people come up to me and pass me their look books and ranges, so I’m excited to see what’s out there, to support local.

Host 2: Great, well thanks Chivy, looking lovely today, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Chivy: Thank you, you too.

Host 2: Being here for the last couple of hours, have you met any buyers so far?

Nicole from Élocin The Label: Yeah, I’ve met some really good buyers. I’ve met a PR Fashion Agency, which was really great. I’ve met buyers from MYER, I’ve met smaller boutique buyers, so it’s been really good so far.

Host 1: Hi everyone, I’m here with Sue at the Melbourne Retail Festival, and Sue is joining us from General Pants as a Buyers. Now Sue, is this your first time to the event?

Sue: It is and I loved it - I’m loving it.

Host 1: What do you think so far?

Sue: It’s so good. I guess just from every aspect, from like a buyer, designers. It’s just so beneficial. Those discussion are really good as well. There’s just so much insight on the industry, and for everyone to just get a better understanding, if you’re starting up or you’re already exciting and things like that.

Host 1: Definitely. And we’ve got such a range of exhibitors here, covering all aspects of the fashion industry. What do you think of the exhibitors?

Sue: It’s good I guess as a buyer, because you do get approach by new brands and things like that, but actually seeing it and feeling the product is really good as well. And yeah it’s all in one place as well, which is really good. I know I’m coming here, I know what I’m sort of looking for. Sitting at your desk you’re literally getting bombarded with emails and range books, there’s a lot of time they do get missed. Where here it’s all in front of you.

Host 1: Definitely. Do you think it’s quite beneficial for a lot of these new labels to be at an event like this.

Sue: Ah yes, absolutely. Because you know it’s the exposure. And I guess for me it’s like touching the product and feeling and everything. And have it all in one spot is amazing.

Host 1: Fantastic. Well, will you be attending the Sydney Retail Festival?

Sue: Yes for sure, our office is located in Sydney so we’ll have a bigger team from Sydney coming down there.

Host 1: Fantastic, we’ll it’s been such an honour to have you here, thank you for joining us.

Host 1 : Hi everyone, I’m here with Jessica Dunlop, the Founder and Buyer of Coco & Lola, at the Melbourne Retail Festival.

Jessica: I think it’s been great, I think it’s an amazing way to speak to other likeminded retailers, and find out some more information and grow within the retail industry, it’s been great!

Host 1: Now, for a lot of these new labels it’s obviously very beneficial to be here. Why do you think that is?

Jessica: I think because they get to showcase their products to buyers like myself, who are interested in picking up new brands. It’s also great to see and feel and touch certain brands that maybe you’ve been sent a look book of but haven’t seen the actual product.

Host 1: What do you think so far of the labels that are exhibiting here?

Jessica: I think they’ve been amazing. I’ve really loved watching each person interact within their little booths as well. It thinks it’s really lovely to meet the designer and actually have that personal experience with them whilst looking at their brand for the first time. And I think it’s great for them to be able meet the stores that could be then buying their products.

Host 1: Hi everyone, I’m with Hollie from the Lofft Agency at we’re here the Melbourne Retail Festival. What do you think of some of the exhibitors showcasing their label here?

Hollie: What I’m excited about is all the colours, and there seem to be a lot of Internationals here, which is really interesting. I saw a really interesting Colombian swimwear label, so to be off to see something like that in Melbourne is pretty amazing.

You only learn through experience. Often it’s hard to have a mentor or know people in the industry, so by attending something like this you’re actually having a point of contact with people you probably wouldn’t be able to.

Host 1: Hey everyone, we’re here with Kim Westwood, the Founder of Shopping Links. Something like this, how beneficial do you think it is for these new labels and brands?

Kim: I think that new and emerging brands, they need to spend that time understanding how other has done it before. Knowledge sharing, information, education, I think it’s great for them.

Host 1: Hey everyone, I’m here with Sarah Czarnuch at the Melbourne Retail Festival. Is this your first time here?

Sarah: This is my first time here at the Melbourne Retail Festival and I can tell you, it will definitely not be the last time.

Host 1: Fantastic! What do you think about the event so far?

Sarah: It’s been incredible to see these local retailers showcasing here, in the heart of Melbourne. It’s an amazing way to get your products seen and heard by the locals here.

It’s just a little of insight that you won’t get online. You know, it’s a personal approach. We had a panel discussion here this morning and it was amazing. Even sitting on the panel, I’ve come out of it learning a lot more about the industry and about how to target my own social media profile.

Host 1 : Now, have you seen some promising new labels here?

Sarah: Oh absolutely, there’s a few swimwear labels that I was actually familiar with online, but it was good to see them in the flesh here. And so, get a bit of insights to the fabric set up and how they look in person.

Host 2: Now tell me Melanie, how have you found the event so far?

Melanie Sheppard, The Slumber Loft: It’s fantastic, I haven’t seen anything like this in Melbourne. Normally we have to go overseas to see such an exhibition. So it’s wonderful to see all these dynamic, new and exciting brands all under one roof.

Host 1: So Karina is this your first event?

Karina Bruce, Owner, By Karina Agency: That is no, solid no. I’ve done every event for the Melbourne Retail Festival and the Sydney Retail Festival.

The great thing is, obviously we have our own showroom, but coming to an event like this, exposes you to a lot more buyers, potential buyers for these brands. Especially International. So we’ve had some fantastic US and UK buyers coming talking to us about specific brands that they wanting to showcase overseas. So obviously for a local Australian designer, thats’ huge.