Iconic furniture and homewares retailer Freedom is undergoing a brand revamp with an emphasis on championing local design.
With over a year’s worth of planning, the Australasian brand began the transformation process in 2019 with Kate Hopwood as head of product design. Hopwood had previously headed the design team at Kmart for eight years and oversaw the transformation of Kmart’s homeware offering.
The rebranding for Freedom will begin with the brand’s instantly recognisable logo and latest catalogue, with the new look and feel launching in October. Freedom’s product range will include 50 percent new products introduced by the end of November, including New Zealand made sofa and dining ranges, with a further 25 percent by early 2021. Physically, a refresh and rebrand of eight key stores will be completed by the end of 2020, with the remainder of stores updated at the beginning of next year.
Freedom NZ managing director Debbie Ridling, says Freedom’s transformation is a “roadmap for change.”
“Much of the furniture sold in New Zealand is not designed locally, and consequently doesn’t reflect the way we live. Our aesthetic is unique, we crave natural materials like timber, glass and stone. So to resonate with both Kiwi’s and Australians, we believe our furniture and homewares need to be designed and curated with local in mind,” says Ridling.
“We’re not reinventing Freedom but taking it back to its heritage. Freedom’s success has been built on ideas of design, quality and how we live – this is our foundation. We’re updating the brand with a fresher, bolder and more youthful approach.”
Freedom group chief executive Blaine Callard says the brand transformation was carefully mapped with an intense diagnostic phase that put every single part of the business under a microscope. He says currently 15 percent of Freedom’s sales are online, with digital revenue already experiencing triple digit growth, however it is the in-store experience that is the focus for the brand.
“Bricks and mortar stores are still at the heart of the strategy, they are the billboards for our brand. Our customers want to experience and feel products, which in interiors is all about texture, weight, balance, comfort – and you can’t experience that with a thumbnail photograph on a website.”
As Covid-19 has resulted in many people working from home, or simply hanging out around the house, Callard says our homes have become and expression and extension of who we are.
“We are now all imbuing our personal spaces with creativity, energy, life, and more personality than ever as we craft a safe space to recharge, reflect, and live.
“Our new normal is a world where our homes have become the centre of our universe, where demand for travel may be years away, and there has been a structural shift in where and how we spend. We think 2021 is the year of the home.”