Efic’s Small Business Export Loan helped breakthrough Queensland-based eyewear design studio, Pared Eyewear, take their product to a high-profile US department store.
In 2011, specialised eyewear designer Samantha Stevenson and her partner, fashion and retail veteran Edward Baker, decided to take the plunge and create their own brand, making high quality fashion eyewear from premium materials.
“The vision of the brand was to create something fun and edgy, but also pared back and simplified – hence the name Pared Eyewear,” Ed explains. “Pared means to cut into something and make it simpler. It’s also a play on words, which is obviously a pair of sunglasses.”
We are also well known for our partnerships and collaborations, which follows on from our brand story that ‘everything is better in twos.”
The husband and wife team carry this belief throughout their branding – naming their different styles after things that go well together. For instance, designs in their Cabanarama collection carry titles such as Cocktails and Dreams, Lime and Coconut, Pools and Palms, and Kohl and Kaftans.
As well as creating sunglasses, Pared Eyewear is a growing presence in the optical market, providing more classic designs with clear lenses.
“From a business perspective, we’re fun and fashionable but still accessible, with our pricing within the $250-$300 range in Australia,” says Ed. “That’s still fashion but not as pricy as some of our competitors.”
Since its inception, Pared has quickly grown from being a small business to one with a strong brand and profile overseas. By their third year of business, Pared’s export sales outweighed their domestic sales by almost two to one. This was more by design than accident, as in the fashion world, new Australian brands are often better received abroad than they are home. As a result, a logical move was to take an export-focused approach from the outset.
“While we started planning our business and developing our product in 2011, 2012 was our first year of sales,” Ed explains. “We started exporting in 2013.”
Focusing on wholesale trade, they had their first success in Korea. They then approached the US market through a small trade agent, but without much success. In 2015, with the help of a business mentor, they changed strategy and hit the US tradeshows themselves to meet customers face to face. At the same time, Pared became the first eyewear brand accepted into the not-for-profit Australian Fashion chamber, which led to an invitation to Paris Fashion Week.
"You don’t get these opportunities often, so Efic’s funding was pivotal." Ed Baker, Co-founder & CEO, Pared Eyewear
The Efic difference
Then, in 2016, Pared secured a coveted order from US top-tier department store, Nordstrom.
“When you’re manufacturing sunglasses, the minimum orders are high – about 500 per style,” Ed says. “Nordstrom ordered 12 styles, which meant we had to order 6,000 pieces. But I didn’t know how we would fund that order.”
“You need to place deposits, get stock delivered from the factory, and cover ongoing operations such as paying for freight, labour, and travel costs to visit warehouses and get things set up,” Ed says. “We wouldn’t see payment until 45 to 60 days after delivery.”
Due to a lack of tangible security, their bank was not able to assist. Fortunately, Ed found out about Efic around the time that they secured the contract. Efic had the perfect solution for Pared Eyewear’s dilemma.
Efic’s online Small Business Export Loan provided Pared Eyewear with quick access to the cashflow they needed.
“Because Efic funds you on the purchase order value, you can use the stock value and your customer’s future payment to fund your operations.”
“We had a big deadline with our factory to get stock delivered before Chinese New Year so we could send all our stock to the marketplace by March 2017.”
With Efic’s support, Pared Eyewear were able to meet the contract delivery to four Nordstrom stores.
“You don’t get these opportunities often, so Efic’s funding was pivotal.”
“We’ve had monthly re-orders with Nordstrom and a great relationship with the department store ever since.”
Bright days ahead
Pared is going from strength to strength. They have recently secured a new investment partner, who will join their team as a strategic adviser and help them take the business to the next level.
“We’ll continue to focus on the US – we’re looking to set up an office there and expand our network,” Ed says.
They’ve also had a huge increase in brand awareness and in Australia, have recently launched their brand in David Jones.
“Our goal for next year is to build DNA and energy in the business and create a legacy for years to come,” says Ed. “We’re very grateful for the support of the Efic team.”
Pared has recently been worn by major celebrities Beyonce and Solange Knowles, Brad Pitt and Miley Cyrus and has two new major department stores joining its retail mix in 2018.
AmCham member Efic is Australia’s export credit agency; a specialist financier that delivers simple and creative solutions for Australian companies – to enable them to win business, grow internationally and achieve export success. To find out how Efic could help your export business grow, email us , visit our website or phone us on 1800 093 724.
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