Australian fashion brand Sunset Lover is preparing to scale in the United States physically as the brand drives online orders in the country.
Speaking with Ragtrader, co-founder Melanie Flintoft said half of the brand’s orders in the last eight weeks were shipped to the US.
“Sunset Lover started to see an uptick of customers shopping directly via our web site, so naturally we increased our digital spend focusing on USA,” Flintoft said. “Seeing the increase in online direct-to-consumer sales encouraged us to accelerate the wholesale launch.”
To drive US wholesale expansion, the brand has partnered with a Los Angeles-based sales showroom called The AC Collective.
Sunset Lover has identified key retailers for wholesale accounts, including Bergdorf, Hampden Clothing in Charleston and Maryam Nassir Zadeh Store in both New York City and Paris.
As part of the launch, Sunset Lover will create small, curated collations of 30 SKUs, 15 in each drop. Flintoft said 60% of the brand is dresses, with 40% making up sets, with knitwear to be added in 2025.
“Our museum story telling prints are always the first to sell out and resonate globally,” she said. “We are Resort focused product, so going into Fall/Winter in the Northern Hemisphere will be appealing to those clients chasing the sun.”
Flintoft said she and her husband and business partner Dean had a longstanding relationship with The ACC founders Andrea Hamilton and Corie Nicols.
“Andrea has the approach that the sales order is just the beginning of the relationship and so they manage and communicate through the entire customer journey,” Flintoft said. “The ACC understands the need to work with the brand and control distribution to avoid over saturation and unsustainable growth.”
Meanwhile, Flintoft said the company is partnering with a large and dedicated fashion logistics business locally in the US that services a number of fashion brands.
“They are very professional and handle not only the distribution, EDI and factoring but the returns as well,” she said. “They are highly recommended by our partners as they have worked together for a long time and have a very strong relationship.
“Choosing the right partner is essential when dealing with majors in the USA.”
Flintoft said there will be more to come in the US expansion, with plans to generate retail relationships with boutiques and department stores, as well as shop-in-shops, influencer collaborations and retail stores.
“[My husband Dean and I] have 20 years’ experience scaling 7 of our previous brands into the US contemporary market and we know the US is a great strategy for growth,” Flintoft said. “The pricing is more aligned than Europe taking into account taxes, duties, showroom fees, distributions fees, factoring fees, shipping, samples, PR and marketing cost.
Speaking on past experiences, Flintoft said the first key step in launching overseas via wholesale is to ensure the supply chain can handle the nuances and volume of the desired market.
“Then you will need a sales team, warehouse for distribution and most importantly ensuring the cash flow cycle works and it is fully funded either from cash flow or using a factoring agent,” she said.
“Factoring companies in the US are particularly good and can insure and chase the receivables for you. Working with a factor is helpful when excepting orders, they are across the payment cycles of most businesses.
“The factor can guide you on any slow paying accounts to avoid.”