Honey Birdette eyes global expansion

Honey-Birdette-InteriorAfter a rapid domestic store rollout, Australian lingerie retailer, Honey Birdette, is set to expand globally in 2016.

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Founded in 2006 by Eloise Monaghan, Honey Birdette entered into a strategic partnership with BB Retail Capital (BBRC) in 2011. On the back of that deal, the chain opened 39 new boutiques between 2012 and 2015.

Now with 44 stores in Australia, Honey Birdette founder and creative director, Eloise Monaghan told Inside Retail Weekly that the retailer is approaching “saturation point” in Australia.

“Honey Birdette really has a global appeal and it was always going to have that,” Monaghan said.  

Monaghan has identified two locations in London – in Covent Garden and Spitalfields – but believes the brand could eventually support about 30 stores in the UK.  

Unapologetically cheeky, the retailer has had the odd run-in with local councils and ad standards board.

Monaghan said Honey Birdette’s balance of product quality, brand experience and price point (£60 to £90 pounds) will be new for the UK market.

“We really have that marketing edge in the UK, where we are not expensive, we are mass market, but our product is incredible compared to what’s out there,” she said.

“We really want to bring that story, that experience, that showgirl to the UK.”

A large amount of Honey Birdette’s international traffic comes from the US and the North American market, which also represents a significant opportunity for the business on that continent.

Further down the track, Monaghan would also look to introduce the brand to Asia.

“Hong Kong is my favourite destination, so I desperately want to open in Hong Kong,” she said.

While looking abroad, Monaghan also keeps a close eye on product designed from Honey Birdette’s Surry Hills headquarters. Honey Birdette follows a fast fashion strategy similar to Zara, dropping four product lines each month.

“I don’t believe in seasons; I think seasons are dead,” Monaghan said.

“Product is king, so if the product isn’t right, it doesn’t matter how good our girls are or how good our shopfits are, nothing works. So product has to be king.”

Honey Birdette’s online business currently generates more than 10 per cent of revenue and is rapidly growing. It has a highly engaged Instagram audience of 92,000, up from a mere 20,000 12 months ago, and is venturing into Periscope and Snapchat.

Monaghan credits the relationship with Brett Blundy’s BBRC as a great source of support and education, while still maintaining the company’s independence from the group, which includes the likes of Lovisa, Adairs and Bras N Things.
“In terms of the indepence of how we run, it’s incredible,” Monaghan said. “They let me do my thing, and the team do our thing.”

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