Renowned footwear retailer Jo Mercer has revealed a new business venture, launching a new Australian lifestyle brand called Matilda Life.
The cross-category business offers Aussie shoppers access to Australian-made fashion, footwear and fragrances.
Determined to invest in local jobs, skills and the economy, Mercer has founded the business on four key pillars: Australian manufacturing, sustainability, quality and a fair price.
"The one positive that has come out of this pandemic is the appreciation that, as Australians, we all have to support our own," Mercer said.
"We all know that keeping skills, jobs and profits in Australia is essential to future proof our nation, and is something consumers are becoming more and more conscious of.
"We are a diverse community with multiple high-quality local manufacturing skills and the small Matilda Life team believes they have found a gap in the market to create a new locally-made brand that embraces the casual Aussie lifestyle," she said.
Matilda Life has engaged Anna Fiori to make its high quality all-leather shoes in Thornbury, Vince Clothing to manufacture its denim in Brunswick East, Loop Leather Co to produce its leather accessories and Metascent, one of the few Australian perfumers producing in Collingwood.
The brand officially launched on November 22 with a range of women’s clothing, including linen dresses, denim shorts, 100% organic cotton t-shirts, a small collection of shoes and personal fragrance and room scents.
Currently, the business is being personally funded by Mercer and her business partners - including former Myer colleague Lauren Mastromanno - however, there are plans to change this once the business gets into the swing of things.
Mercer and Mastromanno are set to raise additional capital next year to allow it to expand into men's, kids and home categories.
In the meantime, Mercer said the business is proud with the impact it's had already.
"This is a small start and we have invested our own money to get this off the ground, but already we have seen manufacturing and jobs return in sectors that haven’t existed for some time," Mercer commented.
"We are proud to be putting Aussie jobs first," she said.
Matilda Life is retailing direct from its website and will also be available on the Buy Aussie Now marketplace for pre-Christmas.