Aje

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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.”

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Best friends, Adrian Norris and Edwina Forrest founded the brand Aje in 2008

An easy finance process

Thankfully, Norris came across a newspaper article about Export Finance Australia and reached out to see we could help finance its international production invoices.

We provided Aje with a A$350,000 Small Business Export Loan to ensure the cash flow of its Australian business was uninterrupted and they could fulfil their export orders. This enabled them to strengthen relationships with existing buyers and reach new customers in the USA, UK and Asia.

Norris was impressed with the support he received from our team.

“They were fantastic to work with, that’s the truth,” he said. “I’d definitely recommend them. This is the first government support we've ever had. Getting finance is the biggest hurdle in any growing business, so having the support of Export Finance is fantastic.”

"This is the first government support we've ever had. Getting finance is the biggest hurdle in any growing business, so having the support of Export Finance is fantastic.” Adrian Norris, CEO, Aje.

Planning for the future

So, what’s next for Aje? Norris revealed that the fashion brand wants to continue expanding their retail footprint overseas.

“Now that our Australian business is stable enough to warrant exporting, we’re moving into overseas expansion,” Norris said. “Hopefully, Export Finance Australia can be involved with helping us do that as well.”