Fashion brand Aje was in high demand overseas – but the company couldn’t finance its move into the international arena without affecting the cash flow of its Australian business.
Best friends, Adrian Norris and Edwina Forrest founded the brand Aje in 2008. The company is dedicated to creating pieces coastal and urban style, quality design and craftsmanship of effortless essentials and statement occasion pieces.
After beginning as a wholesale business with an international agency, Adrian Norris, Aje’s CEO says the business changed its business model in 2012 to become a fully Australian vertical retail business. In just over a decade, the company has grown its retail presence locally from one store in Noosa, Queensland to more than 20 stores across Australia – including an online platform, Aje World.
Aje now has a bricks and mortar store in New Zealand, and an international wholesale business in addition to its multi-site retail presence in Australia.
The company’s outstanding reputation meant the brand was also successful in getting high-end international retailers like Nordstrom, Moda Operandi and Harvey Nichols to stock its range. However, to meet these overseas orders, Aje needed to pay for the production of all its garments upfront – negatively impacting cash flow on their Australian business.
“There’s always an issue with funding international invoices,” Norris said. “We’re not in an industry where it’s easy to get funding, especially on something which is unsecured overseas.”