We Are Kindred: “Not a day goes by we aren’t learning and growing”
After trialling a pop-up space in Paddington, everyday luxury brand We Are Kindred is now opening its first bricks-and-mortar store on Oxford Street, with the ultimate goal of having several bricks-and-mortar stores.
While the fashion brand is currently preparing for next week’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, co-founder Lizzie Renkert took a moment to chat with us about working with family (Lizzie started We Are Kindred with her sister Georgie Renkert) connecting with customers and the evolution of the brand since it first launched six years ago.
Jo-Anne Hui-Miller: How would you describe the years since you launched We Are Kindred?
Lizzie Renkert: The years since we have launched Kindred have flown by! Not a day goes by that we aren’t learning and growing – which really has been the best and most rewarding thing about launching the brand.
We both have growing families and are very busy, but really love coming to work every day – we adore working together and with our fantastic team.
JHM: Given your backgrounds in design, fashion and buying, how did your previous skills help you with the business?
LR: Having a broad skill set in the fashion industry has helped us enormously to meet the challenges of starting a fashion label from scratch, and continues to help us today. In this industry, it is so important to understand how all of the pieces work together, and having this experience, not just in Georgie and I, but in our team too, is so important.
JHM: How would you describe the We Are Kindred customer?
LR: The We Are Kindred woman is bold, confident in her femininity and not afraid of standing out from the crowd.
JHM: What have the preparations been like for your fourth MBFWA and what do you hope to gain from it?
LR: We are feeling quite well-prepared this year. Being our fourth consecutive year showcasing our Resort collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, we know better what to expect and how to manage deadlines and processes to make everything worth more smoothly. This is great, as it has allowed us more time to focus on refining our collection and making it the best it can be.
Showcasing our collection at MBFWA is great, as it allows us to immerse our guests in the world of We Are Kindred. We are excited to present the collection to buyers, the media and the wider industry.
JHM: How are your plans going for the new store?
LR: Our new store will be located on Oxford Street, in Paddington, in an area which was a long history of hosting retail space for some of Australia’s best designers. It will be a fully-realised extension of our brand, where we can showcase the world of We Are Kindred for our customers. We are working with some fantastic architects and interior designers to bring our vision to life, and are so excited to see it start to take shape.
Opening more bricks-and-mortar stores is definitely a consideration for us and something we will keep an eye on opportunities to develop in the future.
JHM: What are you imagining the customer experience to be like at your new store?
LR: We want to try and bring an essence of that runway objective – immersion in the world of We Are Kindred – to our store, in a permanent way. Having a dedicated store for our brand allows us to better communicate the lifestyle and attitude we are trying to create for the brand.
It is also a great way for us to better understand and connect with our customers, find out more about them, what they like to wear, what they don’t, and continue to design our collections around the Kindred girl.
JHM: Quite a few brands are closing down their bricks-and-mortar stores, but why did you decide that this was the right time to open a physical store for your brand?
LR: Having a physical store has always been part of our broader strategy for We Are Kindred. We first trialled this with a pop-up space in Paddington’s “The Intersection” precinct. This was great, as we were able to learn vital lessons about managing a physical store and some of the challenges and triumphs that come with this. Since then, we have been focusing on building our brand’s wholesale presence internationally, but a big part of our customer-base is still in Australia, so we are excited to be opening our first permanent store in Sydney, where the brand was born.
JHM: In the past few years since you’ve been in wholesale and selling online, what have you learnt about the We are Kindred customer?
LR: We have really learnt over the past few years that the Kindred girl is very true to herself.
She stays loyal to her aesthetic. She loves to compliment her best assets, and also isn’t too trend driven. She appreciates feeling feminine and beautiful, and really doesn’t take fashion too seriously.