Close
 

ilabb: the Kiwi brand going into the great unknown

  • Nwqa
  • October 13, 2015
  • Elly Strang
ilabb: the Kiwi brand going into the great unknown

ilabb started as a bike decal company in 2007 founded by Seadon Baker, a sign writer and a professional bike rider and Matt Saunders, an architect.

However, they soon found the market for apparel was a lot bigger than the one for decals, so clothing became the main focus for the brand. 

Saunders, the creative director, says ilabb considers itself the most commercial streetwear brand in New Zealand.

“You’ve got Huffer, you’ve got Federation and all of them doing amazing stuff, but we’re put more of a commercial twist on it. There’s customers that see us as progressive but we also work on mass market,” he says.

The commercial twist is: ilabb focuses on collaboration, whether that’s with other brands, athletes or musicians.

Kiwi athletes have co-designed clothing lines with the brand and received a financial cut from the sales, while collaborating with music festivals like Rhythm and Vines allows ilabb to have pop-up stores at events where its key customers are.

This collaboration has also helped it succeed where others has failed. Profits from action sports brands, particularly surf brands, are dwindling. Quiksilver recently filed for bankruptcy.

Saunders says ilabb is succeeding because it has a really good understanding of who its customer is.

“It’s tricky because these surf brands get so big and they perhaps lose touch of who their customer is, whereas with us, the mantra in here is, ‘We’re in this together’, so we work really hard on understanding who our customer is, who our suppliers are, who our staff are.”

From the get-go, ilabb’s ambition was to be a leading global action sports brand, and Saunders says the pieces of the puzzle are now coming together.

ilabb has its own flagship store in Grafton, an outlet store in Onehunga and is stocked in 75 wholesale stores across New Zealand and Australia.

It also has six different international websites (New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the US, Canada and Europe) that prices and content are individually tailored to.

For ilabb, the US is the most exciting market right now. The company has begun to break into the US market on the ground through pop-up stores at action sports events.

ilabb was the first New Zealand streetwear label to do an activation at the 2015 X Games held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, which attracts crowds of over 100,000 people.

“That was just huge,” Saunders says. “The amount of people there was phenomenal. We were insanely excited to be there at it. We’d grown up inspired by that event, to be a brand associated with it was a dream come true.”

ilabb’s way of cracking the US market is tactical, as not many Kiwi clothing brands have had success there.

The first US pop-up shop was done in a partnership with the company’s very first brand ambassador, Mad Mike Whiddett, a Kiwi drift driver who has almost two million followers on Facebook.

Just released the #MADBUL ⚡️ @ilabb little shredder tees. Grab some while you can ilabb.com

A photo posted by Mad Mike Whiddett (@madmike_drift) on

Mad Mike's son modelling some ilabb gears

“There’s obviously niches in the States that people are inspired by and drifting with Mad Mike this year and been an easy way to go into that market,” ilabb marketing manager Lauren Honeycombe says.

“It’s about building little hubs and little communities and spread from there, I don’t think you’d go in and say, ‘Mainstream America! This is ilabb!’ You’d build a story.”

Saunders says there’s two motivations for creating pop-up stores at events.

“It’s to sell products to subsidise being there and contribute to the athlete financially as well, but also to build a digital database of customers,” he says.

“We’ve got people there are collecting emails and contacts and then we hit them up after the event to push them online, so they’ll make a connection with us digitally and see the wider range of our products.”

ilabb just recently held its seventh pop-up store activation in the States last weekend.

“There’s nowhere you can physically enjoy the brand [in the US], so pop-up stores are extremely important for the customer to get that tangible connection with us,” Saunders explains.


As for the future, ilabb is one to watch as it continues to build its international expansion, with the US being a primary focus.

Though ilabb is already stocked in Australian stores, Saunders says it’s not actively pursuing the market there – yet.

“Our goal is we want to come at Australia from a global perspective, not be the little brother trying to get into Australia,” he says.

“It’s a bit harder to crack into as they’ve already got some good brands there. There’s a few markets we want to play in, but America is head and shoulders the biggest and strongest when it comes to the action sports.”

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Icebreaker steps into sharky waters for latest ad

  • News
  • April 20, 2018
  • StopPress Team
Icebreaker steps into sharky waters for latest ad

Icebreaker has released ‘Shark Scientist’, the first of three ads for its latest 'Human Nature' campaign with Motion Sickness. The two-minute spot focuses on marine biologist and shark enthusiast Riley Elliott.

Read more
 
 

Why minimum wage rises matter

  • Opinion
  • April 20, 2018
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Why minimum wage rises matter

After writing a feature for NZ Retail magazine on recent and upcoming changes to employment law, freelance writer Rachel Helyer Donaldson was struck by the ideological distance between the retailers and retail staff she spoke with.

Read more
 
 

Online/offline: Where is the bottom line?

  • Opinion
  • April 20, 2018
  • John Long
Online/offline: Where is the bottom line?

Whether he is pitching a new store design concept to a retailer, or forecasting retail floor space demand in a council hearing, John Long reports his sense of a very dynamic, almost chaotic, future for retail is pervasive.

Read more
 
topics
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 
 
 
 

Showpo: Monitoring and monetising social marketing

  • News
  • April 19, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Showpo: Monitoring and monetising social marketing

Online clothing retailer Showpo boasts an impressive social media reach, using different platforms to promote its brand to its audience of over two million. We spoke to chief marketing officer of Showpo, Mark Baartse, about the best way to market on social media and if he thinks influencers have longevity in a world ruled by ‘likes’.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita@tangiblemedia.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}