Founded by the wife and son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, Kit and Ace has a fresh take on the mega-popular athleisure trend with its range of luxurious proprietary fibres, headed up by washable, flexible ‘technical cashmere’. Its offerings overseas have seen it focus on community-building initiatives which bring customers into the store, such as its in-store ‘supper club’ dinner parties.
Strand says the global supper clubs are about creating events which expose the attendees to new experiences, in “a forum that is not a traditional way to be introduced to a brand”. Some have been held in New Zealand but not recently – they’ll be part of the Kit and Ace plan going forward.
Currently, Strand is focusing on her ‘Chai and Cashmere’ mornings on Wednesdays. They run from 7am-11am at the label’s store at 13 Galway St, with free cups of Storm & India tea for attendees.
“I really did it to try and have a reason for people to come in, and just create a community feel,” Strand says.
“It’s such a cool morning. If I can create a space for people to get together and connect before they go to work in the morning, then that’s a lovely thing to offer.”
There’s also an after-work drinks edition, ‘Copper Hour’. This is held every Thursday from 5pm-6pm.
Kit and Ace has been working on its entry into New Zealand for around six months. Its strategy does not include any traditional advertising – Strand explains that the label is all about creating authentic collaboration, connecting rather than pushing itself upon consumers.
“We want people to discover and hear about it through word of mouth.”
Strand also wants to create collaborations with local brands and people, speaking of showing artwork and establishing an evening speaker series. In keeping with a key Kit and Ace value – that of respecting peoples’ time – any forthcoming event will last under an hour and a half.
That spirit of collaboration also shines through in Strand’s attitude to local competition. While its functional cashmere pieces are quite different to the more traditional 100 percent cashmere offerings currently on the market, Kit and Ace’s items also work well with pieces from other brands, Strand says. Even the staff are allowed to wear other items with their Kit and Ace gear while on the shopfloor.
Strand is currently collecting recommendations from among New Zealand retailers like Karen Walker, Kathryn Wilson and Huffer for ‘The List’, a publication which recommends the best of local food, clothing and other retail outfits to Kit and Ace’s international customers.
Kit and Ace’s future in New Zealand will depend on how the pop-up goes, Strand says: “I am really excited to get the brand fully launched into the New Zealand market, but what that looks like, only time will tell.”