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HomeFEATURESUnconventional fashion brand By Maverix favours pop-ups over brick-and-mortar

Unconventional fashion brand By Maverix favours pop-ups over brick-and-mortar

Born out of Covid-19 as a passion project, Madi Rouse and Ellie Richards decided to create their own ethical fashion brand after a number of frustrations with the industry.

Six months in and a pop-up store later, By Maverix has created a name for itself and is successfully operating post-pandemic.

The idea for the brand began in January 2021 and was created as an antidote to everything its creators believed to be wrong with the fashion industry – the name a nod to their intention of being “unorthodox in the fashion industry”.

“We’re trying to be unconventional,” says Richards.

“This was all born out of frustration. There is no transparency in the industry, once we started researching all of these layers and complexities, it was just horrific and no one is talking about it.”

Passionate about fashion, tackling problems and bringing transparency to the conversation, Rouse and Richards created By Maverix to fill a gap they believe exists in the New Zealand fashion industry.

With the opening of their store delayed for many months due to supply chain issues that affected their “made to order model” they launched an e-commerce website in December 2021.

“From a retail perspective [the timing] was so behind and completely missed the Christmas rush,” says Rouse.

Despite missing the busiest retail time of the year and still being in its infancy, By Maverix has had success with the online business, resulting in the opening of its first ever pop-up store in Auckland.

The idea of pop-ups came about after receiving feedback from their customers who expressed their desire to see and try the clothes on in person. By Maverix’s first pop-up store opened in the middle of shopping district Newmarket, Auckland in early July.

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Madi Rouse & Ellie Richards.

When creating By Maverix, Rouse and Richards said that a brick-and-mortar store was never on the table for them because they wanted to “minimise our carbon footprint as much as possible”.

Read more: Live fast, shop slow: A call for consciousness from newly launched fashion platform.

“When people come to your website, people have three seconds to figure out who you are and what you stand for. Whereas when you’re meeting people it translate so differently and we felt there was a little disconnect between us and this bigger community. So a pop-up was naturally a vehicle for us to meet people,” says Rouse.

As well as making it easier to meet customers, Rouse and Richards say having a pop-up worked alongside their ethos of making sustainable clothing “accessible and inclusive” for the New Zealand public.

Since opening the pop-up store, the pair say it has been a great success, especially due to the attention they have received on social media. This has been getting even more customers through the door which they say is a “game changer for us”.

“Before starting we knew we wanted to be unique. The fashion industry is so saturated it is really hard to get cut through from a social [media] perspective,” says Rouse.

She adds that for any brand it is hard to grow a following with online users preferring to follow individuals then companies.

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With their previous experience with content creation, they knew they could “win in the content game” compared to other retail companies out there.

“It was a slow growth but when people start to catch on, you get consistency. When you’re innovative and new and you do get that return,” says Richards.

With their pop-up store coming to a close, the idea of having a permanent brick-and-mortar store is now on the radar.

“We’ve done it a bit backwards because most stores starts as a brick-and-mortar and then they shift online, whereas we started online and now we are trickling into brick-and-mortar,” says Rouse.

However, they will continue to focus on starting pop-ups across the country. Initially, when the idea of a pop-up store came about, Richards says that it was a perfect “brand building opportunity”.

But they have come to realise the benefits that come with the pop-up stores.

“Covid is a prime example of how things can change so quickly and we want to be as adaptive as we possibly can. There is always a risk with having a brick-and-mortar store now,” adds Rouse.

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Pop-up stores mean Rouse and Richards can widen their brands reach across different regions while also still trying to identify their customer base.

“I think what we are going to do is have multiple pop-ups across the country and potentially offshore as well, to see who our people are,” says Richards.

By Maverix will also be able to avoid the potential consequences that come with having a brick-and-mortar store in a pandemic.

“Pop-ups are the way to go at the moment.”   In the meantime, By Maverix will continue to prioritise their e-commerce website which sees the biggest return for them as a business.

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Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles, The Register and Idealog. To get in touch with her, email bernadette.basagre@scg.net.nz