Commercial Bay has welcomed New Zealand label Wynn Hamlyn to its community this month, being designer Wynn Crawshaw’s first ever retail store on the ground floor of the iconic waterfront precinct.
This is brilliant news for local fashion retail, with a new band of young designers setting a new standard for how retail businesses should operate in 2020. A locally-focused, direct-to-customer business plan is a way forward post-Covid as brands embrace their local fan bases and rely less heavily on wholesale.
Wynn Hamlyn’s first foray into bricks-and-mortar retail comes at a time when the brand is experiencing strong international wholesale growth, however local demand for the brand since May 2020, fueled by changing consumer behaviours to shop more online and support New Zealand brands, has led to a concerted focus on nurturing a burgeoning local customer base.
Crawshaw says “we’re excited about introducing our product to a new customer: The professional and (hopefully in the near future) The tourist. Having been focused solely on international wholesale in the past, we’re looking forward to creating a local brand experience – to grow excitement and knowledge of our product, in the city we are based on.”
Online retail has also been a focus for Crawford post-Covid, who explains “we have had to become innovative in our approaches, staying flexible, and taking any opportunities that present themselves. Of course, the local and international press helps drive traffic and awareness to Wynn Hamlyn.”
Following the same ethos as other local designers including Maggie Marilyn, Wynn Hamlyn is not joining in on Black Friday mania, opting for a more mindful approach that aligns with the brand’s values.
“Black Friday’s heavy promotion of discounts doesn’t really sit with the way we are gearing our business. We’re aiming to produce less and have a higher sell-through rate at close to full retail price, which is as much about making money as it is about reducing our waste. We’re considering ways to involve ourselves with our wholesale stockists who take part in these promotions, but only if it’s done in a mindful way that doesn’t prolong fashion’s obsession with regular discounting.”
Located in Commercial Bay’s Little Queen Street retail hub, curated to accommodate the best and brightest new talent from New Zealand, Wynn Hamlyn is nestled in between Wellington womenswear designers twenty-seven names and their city neighbours Yu Mei, as well as luxury cashmere brand Elle + Riley.