Steve Madden returned to Australian shores in December 2018. The brand's president of international Ian Funk spoke to ragtrader.com.au about why it has re-entered the Australian market.
Why did you choose to re-enter Australia now?
The brand has always maintained a presence in Australia and the product continued to sell through retailers. We have seen a lot success through opening retail stores globally and wanted to continue our growth in Australia through our own retail and online channels.
Why did you choose Signal Brands to manage the brand?
We have an exclusive distributor relationship with Signal Australia. We chose the firm because of our previous relationship with management and a successful wholesale arrangement. Signal will manage all retail, wholesale, online, and marketing for Steve Madden Australia.
What strategies are you using to localise the brand and further expand it in Australia?
Steve Madden has revolutionized the shoe industry, merging years of experience with unique and creative designs. Steve truly understand what customers wants and Signal Brands Australia is keeping the brand’s identity, bringing New York to Australia. We are re-establishing Steve Madden into Australia by providing an online shopping experience, reintroducing a bricks and mortar footprint across major states as well as strengthening existing retailer partnerships with David Jones, Myer and The Iconic.
How did you determine the influencers you work with for the launch?
Steve Madden’s GenSteve movement is to be passionate, be persistent, be fast, be forward, be curious, be confident and are to disrupt. Imperfection is the new perfection. Standing out is the new fitting in. We determine the influencers we want to build connections with based on this movement. Steve Madden wants us to feel inspired. We want to align with influencers who want to be leaders, be bold, be confident, be fearless and be driven.
With 2 stores already open, how many do you plan to grow this by over the next year?
In 2019 we will open 3 additional stores. I’m looking forward to visiting soon.
Will the product offering vary to what is available in other international markets or largely be the same?
At the end of the day it will largely be the same but will of course speak to the seasonal changes in Australia.
What have been some of the challenges with re-entering the market?
Our previous challenges involved timing of product received and retail pricing, and we have worked to overcome that.
Why did you choose Melbourne as the initial store location?
Steve Madden opened his first store in Queens, a suburban store in New York bringing fashionable shoes to everyday people. Applying the same strategy, we chose to open the first Australian store in Melbourne Highpoint, with a wide demographic and high traffic volume.
Are you looking to grow your wholesale accounts beyond Myer, David Jones and The Iconic?
We are open to all opportunities and partnerships to expand the Steve Madden brand across Australia.
What are the opportunities in re-joining the Australian market?
After reviewing the competitive landscape with my team and getting a better understanding of the struggles within the market I think we have the opportunity to become the premiere fashion footwear and accessory retailer in Australia.