Our Clients Are Awesome! Insider Profile On Aussie Designers Aje Taking The World By Storm
We are totally chuffed to be associated with such a wonderful brand like Australian fashion label Aje.
Aje is continuing to grow their brand locally while also gaining international appeal and we couldn’t be happier to help them do that.
In this video Adrian and Edwina discuss;
- Their biggest challenges and how they tackled them
- Best advice they’ve been given
- Thoughts on cracking the retail market
- Their secret to staying true to your brand
- Plus much more
If you like what you see and want to purchase one of their amazing pieces go to a-j-e.com.au and shop online.
For an appointment with a Product Specialist, call the office on 1300 652 158.
Watch the video and/or read the transcript below.
Question: How did the label Aje come about?
Edwina: It kind of began organically, as it’s kind of progressed as
well. It started for want of and need of something new in the
marketplace, I guess. Adrian had a store in Noosa, and it kind
of grew from there. He needed something kind of special to sell.
Then from that point it grew into a business on itself.
Adrian: It sort of just kept spiralling. It started off, we wanted
different clothes in our store. Then it got a lot bigger than
the store, and Eddi was there with us. We needed more of a
fashion element, and that’s where Eddie sort of came into it.
Then it’s all, yeah.
Edwina: The rest is history, as they say. Right?
Adrian: Yeah. It just keeps going and going.
Edwina: Now we’ve got a really big baby.
Question: How would you sum up the brand?
Edwina: There are always a few words that we always use, and it’s
dishevelled elegance, I guess, and tough femininity.
Adrian: It’s the contrast. We really love rough textures, and we really
focus on our beautiful fabrics and putting that into effortless
ways of actually dressing rather than usual ways. You can see,
obviously, all the sequins behind us. They’re usually treated in
a different manner to the way we treat them. That’s what the
brand is about, making beautiful things that are wearable.
Question: Which celebrity sums up your brand’s essence?
Edwina: Do you know what? We actually had the person that we adore
most, which is Kate Moss, she actually got a piece of ours and
that was probably it.
Adrian: She’s definitely my designer look. I think when we were growing
up, she’s obviously always been that style icon. A lot of it
does comes from that. I know it’s a cliché saying Kate Moss, but
a lot of it does come from that. There are a whole heap of other
amazing celebrities that wear Aje all over the place.
Question; Where do you get your inspiration from?
Edwina: I guess a lot of ours stems from fabrics. We make a lot of our
fabrics. A lot of them are hand-loomed in India. So we’ll choose
the threads. So it’s quite a process. I guess a lot of it comes
back that far.
Adrian: Definitely comes from that. It’s hard for us to find a concept.
Usually, Eddi and I are drawing, creating, and thinking about
actual fabrics and textures. Then we have to pull it all
together at the end and go, “How are we going to make this
actually cohesive?” Somehow we manage to do it every season,
Edwina: It can start from a very small thing, I guess. Beauty in
Question: What’s your best seller?
Edwina: This crazy little cut-out mini skirt that seems to . . .
Adrian: Going for it.
Interviewer: It comes from [inaudible 02:34]
Edwina; It does. As much as we kind of despise it, because you kind of
create new things each season and you hope they catch on, but it
Adrian: It’s called the Tyra mini. It’s amazing because every girl
loves it when they wear it.
Interviewer: I saw it on the website and I thought, “Oh, I’m going to
Edwina: Which colour?
Adrian: I don’t know, it’s just sometimes that magic happens and . .
Interviewer; [inaudible 02:55]
Question: What’s been your biggest challenge?
Edwina: So many challenges every day.
Adrian: There are so many that occur. I think just learning how to run
a business is really big. Obviously, why we’re with you guys at
the moment, financing has been the biggest hurdle in our
business because it affects every single other aspect. You can’t
get organised if your finances aren’t in place. We’d put
everything in place for our production, and our factories would
be working on time, we’d have everything set out and organised,
and suddenly if a finance hurdle was hit, it affects the whole
chain of command, right down to when our customers receive it,
how people buy it, and if it’s going on sale. That’s probably
been our biggest hurdle that we’re still trying to overcome and
I think I’m looking forward to the day when there isn’t an issue, but
I talked to my dad and he said it never happens. He’s been in
the business for 40 years, and there’s still not a day when
everything runs smoothly.
Edwina: No, never. I think you just get better equipped to deal with
them, I guess. You learn from the mistakes made along the way.
Question: What exciting opportunities are coming up for you guys?
Edwina: We’ve got a lot of exciting opportunities. We’re kind of, I
guess, predominantly we want to branch into retail. We’re
opening another store, hopefully early next year. We just got a
new office. That’s exciting. We’re moving up.
Adrian: To save cash we’ve been working out of the shop for the past
three years. So to have an office is going to be a really big
deal for us. Then a new store, hopefully, by the start of next
season is on the cards. I think a broader knowledge base, more
people knowing about our brand. We’ve been around for five years
now, but we’ve done it very differently to a lot of other
fashion labels. We don’t pay for public relations. We don’t
place advertisements or anything like that. So we’ve grown
really organically. Hopefully, in the next year, now that we’ve
got a whole heap of things working, we’re going to start
branching out into the wider community. I think that once people
see our product, we do have really good sales, and that’s been
something that’s been really great to hear from our stockers.
So, hopefully yeah, just gaining broader appeal, hopefully.
Question: Do you try to place your product strategically?
Adrian: I wish we had time to place it strategically. We haven’t had
the opportunity to afford public relations companies in the past
because they are so expensive. We’ve always wanted to. We
haven’t. So we’ve been really lucky that a lot of celebrities
have searched us out.
Edwina: Our product is kind of speaking for itself, which is just a
different way to do things. We’re lucky that that’s the case.
We’ve put a lot of . . .
Interviewer: You haven’t sent your products to celebrities?
Edwina: Never strategically.
Adrian: They’ve always come to us.
Edwina; No, they’ve always come to us, which is a good thing. We have
no idea how they find out about us.
Adrian: Sometimes we’re always so surprised. We get the weirdest emails
from really big people’s stylists when they request, I think
Kanye West’s stylist emailed us the other day. I’m like, “How in
the hell did he even get our email address?”
Edwina: Madonna for the Super Bowl, which was extremely strange.
Adrian: We have no idea how they actually found it, but as Eddi said,
we just focused on our product first. It’s sort of starting to
work and flow through.
Question: Thoughts on strategic placement?
Adrian: I don’t agree with it because I have a different background. I
love retail, and I think that you have to create something which
sells to a customer. Even if it’s in those magazines and it’s
put in the right places and these people suddenly go for it, if
the client doesn’t come in and the product doesn’t speak for
itself, doesn’t fit, if it’s not beautifully made, if it’s not
something they want to wear, it doesn’t matter how much
publicity and PR you’ve got. You’re not going to make money in
the end. So I think that hopefully that other section comes
after you’ve gotten the product right.
Edwina: Yeah, exactly, I agree.
Question: Is being stocked in Myer or DJs on the cards?
Adrian: Definitely. I think that there’s always, especially when you do
something different, it’s harder for the big companies to
understand what you’re doing, such as David Jones. We’re all of
these little ways we talk to them, but our product doesn’t sit
next door to China made products. It’s a higher price. It’s hand
detailed. It’s a lot more difficult. We definitely are going to
move into that area, it’s just when.
Question: How do you crack into the big name retailers?
Edwina: You can’t go knocking on their door, basically. You have to
keep telling your story and wait for them to come to you.
Otherwise you just can’t really do it.
Adrian: Yeah, we’ve seen it before, and even when we walk through
there, a lot of the product starts looking the same because of
the restrictions they put on you. People who’ve stayed true to
themselves are still in there, and they’re the ones that are
really successful. Sass & Bide is probably a great example.
Beforehand it was, they did a lot of beading and hand things,
and it probably wasn’t understood for a long time, and then
suddenly it did and it grew.
Question: Is it hard staying true to your brand?
Edwina: We’ve had moments I think of deviating slightly, just in the
early progression. I guess you’re always looking for advice and
inspiration from people above you who’ve maybe flown the path
before. I guess sometimes you can listen a little bit too much
to other people and go in a wrong direction, but luckily we’ve
always had each other. I guess we’re lucky that we can bounce
off each other like that. Some people just only have one person
to walk the path with.
Adrian: We have gone off. We’ve listened to other people before, and it
Adrian: For us, especially from a design and aesthetic point of view,
we’ve listened to quite a few people, and when we’d do it, it
just didn’t quite resonate with our customers. Now we’re all
about creations which we think are beautiful, and then it’s
Question: Do you have a mentor or role model?
Adrian: We’ve got great people around us that help and support us.
Edwina: Yeah, we do. Family’s been a great help the whole way.
Adrian: That was probably the strongest, both of our families.
Edwina: Yeah. But obviously, I mean, just within the industry, there
are people’s stories that you want to kind of emulate. Sass &
Bide we think is quite a beautiful progression. They’ve kept
their aesthetic. There’s always been two of them. So they’ve got
that team kind of concept. Otherwise we’re just really lucky.
We’ve got to a point now where we’ve got great people working
with us and around us. So yeah, lucky.
Question: Any words of advice for up and coming designers?
Edwina: I think you embrace it. We’re so lucky. It’s such a beautiful,
beautiful career to have, and you love it every day.
Everything’s fraught with issues and it’s just, the other stuff
that goes a long way is just . . .
Adrian: We wouldn’t be stuck in an office. That’s the other option. I
mean, Eddi and I sometimes sit there and go, “This is so
stressful, and building this thing,” but the fact is, even when
all the stress actually happens, we still love what we’re doing.
We still come in here every morning looking forward to getting
through the issues and doing it. I think we’re lucky in that
sense. So if you’re really passionate about it, do it.
Adrian: Buy our clothes.
Interviewer: Thanks guys.
Adrian: Thank you so much.
Edwina: Thank you guys. Thanks for having us.