• John Szwede - Volley Australia GM
    John Szwede - Volley Australia GM

Volley Australia GM John Szwede details how the brand is operating in the current climate. 

Describe two successful digital initiatives you’ve rolled out recently

I have been pushing the past digital marketing team to always run evergreen campaigns on our core products, which was often pushed back and the focus was on fortnightly digital adsend on specific styles.

We now have a new team manager who embraces ideas and also recommended this tactic.

Since July 1st 2021, we have seen a growth average, over the past five weeks, of 72% in additional turnover as well as a consistent base level of core items sold week to week, as well as seasonal or campaign items.

Our social media team also turned the dial back up to 11 where our social media manager has also been able to shine.

She has a fantastic eye and is really giving the brand back its tone of voice - she has also implemented the ‘tap to shop’ Instagram function and has been cleverly segmenting EDM’s to our customers.

Again, this is nothing new or revolutionary to anyone but for us it's a giant step.

We are seeing as a percentage of total only revenue, reaching around 15%, that we simply were not achieving before.

What’s the biggest current challenge?

Brand Collective is a significantly large machine and Volley is a brand that relies heavily on eCommerce only, as well as its international account base, so our needs often differ greatly from the broader business.

So, often we need to wait for implementation of larger projects around us and we often create change within the team.

So, there are pros and cons – the pros definitely out way the cons but sometimes maintaining pace and rhythm in retail is challenging.

What about opportunities – which are you pursuing?

We recently signed a distribution agreement in France and are making good sales there.

We signed a new partner in China who specialises in Canvas footwear with the two biggest brands in China. 

They also have over 854 concept stores, so we are excited to see where that goes.

As COVID-19 started to hit internationally in January 2020, it significantly affected our growth plan and we had to pivot.

We will be making sales in the USA sometime in 2022 so that's the brand’s main focus right now.


What are the key ways your business adapts to COVID?

COVID-19 had little to zero impact on the Volley team as we are a small team with lots of role crossover.

We are also predominantly an online business, trading in Australia.

We saw a significant increase in sales during lockdown periods and there were no issues for us trading or dispatching stock, other than freight taking a few days longer at times.

How has your supply chain been impacted during COVID?

Luckily, no change for the Volley Australia team.

What are some recent highlights?

I am so proud of the Volley Australia team and what we have achieved over the years, with a brand that was almost on its knees six years ago.

Some of the key highlights of Volley Australia are:

  • The recent 2020 Tokyo Olympic Collaboration shoes for the Australian Olympic team – Volley Australia was the official footwear partner for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Tokyo 2020.
  • Five award-winning international stores in China, as well as a strong eCommerce presence in the region.
  • Multiple ‘good design awards’ award-winning shoes.
  • 2020 Australian Open pop-up and footwear design collaboration.
  • VB and Vegemite Design Collaboration yielding over seven figures in turnover – the biggest online day in Brand Collective history.
  • Increasing product price points up from $22.00 to >$139.00 as well as upgrading our product. This is a feat not many brands have ever done and one of our best-selling winter styles (the Leather Overgrip), is of this higher price point.
  • Leading the footwear market with our annual Pride Collection capsule, while donating to R-U-OK and Wear It Purple, across the last six years.

Lastly, a special thanks to all the folks Down Under who have rooted for Volley Australia and supported these impactful changes over the years.

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