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Taking the global fashion world by storm

Sam Stevenson-Baker, Creative Director and Co-founder - Pared Eyewear

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to Sam Stevenson-Baker, Creative Director and Co-founder of Pared Eyewear - the Australian business which has taken the global fashion world by storm.

Since its inception, Pared has quickly grown from being a small business to one with a strong brand and profile overseas. The company’s eyewear designs are worn by superstars including Brad Pitt, Beyonce and Cara Delevigne, and are stocked by US-retailer Nordstrom.

Tell us about yourself and how you’ve come to your current role.
I am the co-founder and creative director of Pared Eyewear. I have worked in the fashion industry now for over ten years and have been designing sunglasses for most of this time. In early 2013 Pared was launched with my husband and business partner Ed and it has been an incredible five years with many adventures, travel, twists and turns. I have always been creative and drawn to accessories so for me this is my dream job.

What is the greatest challenge you have faced in managing your international business and how have you overcome this?
I think my biggest challenge so far within the business overall has been recently becoming a mother and striving to blend my work and personal life. It has meant less travel whilst being pregnant and in these early stages of my son’s life. We have a great team and somehow you make it all work. 

I have learnt to outsource and really focus on the important parts of my role as my life dynamic has changed. Overall I am in absolute awe of working mothers and have a new found appreciation for the roles we juggle.

What is the greatest opportunity for Australian businesses looking to expand overseas?
We have had great success in the US market as we saw a space and desire for Australian brands. Australians have a unique perspective that is being received well overseas, especially in the US, so you need to take advantage of this as a brand. The world is smaller now with the internet and social media so breaking into new markets and being discovered is definitely easier now than ever before.

What advice do you have for other women operating in international markets or trying to break into international markets?
I think the best advice I can share is to know your market before you launch there by doing research, visiting the region and stores you want to be stocked in. Talk to others who are doing business in the region as they will save you time and have great advice.

We have had a lot of initial success by showing at trade fairs breaking into new markets and this is a great way to meet new people. It takes time and you have to be patient. A lot of larger department stores want to watch you for a season or two before they place an order so you need to persevere and stay consistent.