Retail’s rising stars from the Deloitte Fast 50 awards

  • News
  • November 5, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Retail’s rising stars from the Deloitte Fast 50 awards

If you weren’t sure, the Deloitte Fast 50 – run by audit, tax and consulting firm Deloitte – ranks the growth rate of the fastest growing companies in the world across a range of sectors.

To enter, companies need to have an operating revenue over a certain amount. In 2013, it was over $300,000.

They also need to have been running for at least three years and meet the threshold for entry, which was 194 percent growth this year.

Previous year’s retail winners have included Onceit, Pita Pit New Zealand, Trade Me, I Love Ugly and 2 Cheap Cars.

This year, 37 companies are appearing in the list for the first time. Out of the 50, 35 have revenues under $5 million.

Deloitte private partner Bill Hale says the level of diversity in the fast 50 shows any type of business can do well across New Zealand with the right approach.

“This is important as it creates job opportunities across more than just the tech industry, and demonstrates that SME businesses can be successful in their niche with good strategy and good execution,” Hale says.

“The high percentage of first-timers and the large number of smaller companies with revenue under $5 million suggests that there is plenty more growing to do for this year’s group of companies.”

Here’s a rundown on this year’s retail-related winners:

Mad Group (Mad Mex, Habitual Fix) ranking: number three. Growth: 603 percent.

Mad Mex is an Australian-founded Mexican food chain that was brought to New Zealand in 2013 by Habitual Fix co-founder James Tucker. The company serves gourmet Mexican fare, with options like quesadillas, burritos and churros. There are seven stores open in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton so far. Mad Group attempted to raise funds via equity crowdfunding earlier this year to expand its stores, but fell $291,100 short of its $750,000 target. Tucker has said he believes New Zealand could support 30 to 50 Mad Mex stores.

Naveya & Sloane (jewellery house) ranking: number four. Growth: 552 percent.

Naveya & Sloane is an Auckland-based company that designs custom jewellery, with rings made to order at its Auckland showroom. It was founded by partners Alex Bunnett and former Huffer womenswear designer Rachel Sloane in late 2009, who wanted to disrupt an age-old category: engagement rings. The company also wants to make the engagement process easier for guys and offers a helping hand to clueless suitors through ‘The Gentlemen’s Guide’, an online how-to guide on the ins and outs of proposing and the jewellery involved. ““There doesn’t seem to be an obvious choice for men in New Zealand at the moment when it comes to engagement jewellery,” Sloane told Idealog. “There’s a real stereotype of an old lady standing behind a counter full of ready-made diamond rings. That’s a stereotype we want to break away from.” Nayeva & Sloane was also named the fastest growing manufacturer in Auckland and the Upper North Island.

Vend (point-of-sales and retail platform) ranking: number seven. Growth: 503 percent.

Vend is an incredibly well-known Kiwi success story founded by the man with the impressive moustache, Vaughan Rowsell. Founded in 2010, it produces cloud-based point of sale software that many retailers are using. Since its launch, it has expanded into more than 140 countries and is used in over 15,000 stores. Some of its most famous clients include NASA and Disney. The company has offices in San Francisco, Toronto, Melbourne, London and Wellington, but its headquarters remains nestled in the heart of Newmarket, Auckland. Vend was also named the fastest growing technology business in Auckland and the upper North Island.

Gore Flooring Xtra Colour Plus (design and interiors) ranking: number eight. Growth: 478 percent.

Two well-known brands, Flooring Xtra and Colour Plus, decided to joined forces in Gore in June this year to create a design store that fulfills all of a customer's needs. With an impressive 478 percent growth, the store is a force to be reckoned with. It offers everything from tiles, to wallpaper, to home decor, to blinds and curtains and is owned and managed by Wayne and Julia Eade, who work on both small and large scale projects for clients. It was also named the fastest growing retail or consumer products business in Otago and the lower South Island.

Last Season (online apparel) ranking: number 20. Growth: 308 percent.

Last Season is a discount clothing website based in Hamilton that sells men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. It was founded by Jeremy Mould and Chris Atkins in 2011, who collectively have experience across fashion, sales, buying and IT. The focus for stock is on surf, skate, snow and streetwear brands. Its concept is simple – pick up seasonal offcasts out of the Northern Hemisphere and sell them when the season is happening here. The company named The Warehouse as its biggest online retail competition. Atkins told Stuff running the site is “more work than retail without a doubt”.

Kowtow clothing (men’s and womenswear) ranking: number 22. Growth: 290 percent.

Kowtow clothing is a fashion brand with a difference. The Wellington-based label makes certified fair trade, organic clothing, which has now branched out into underwear, accessories and even homewares. Founder Gosia Piatek was born in Poland and first arrived in New Zealand as a refugee with a family that had just $200 and two children to feed. She founded her business in 2007 with a $10,000 WorkStart grant, and nursed Kowtow into a fully-fledged fashion label. It’s the Deloitte Fast 50 fastest growing retail or consumer products business in Wellington and the lower North Island this year.

Bird On a Wire (food) ranking: number 23. Growth: 288 percent.

Founded in 2012 by co-owners Ben Grant, Sophie Gilmour and David Holmes, Bird On a Wire was launched to fill the gap in the market for a free-range rotisserie chicken outlet in Auckland. All three have experience in the hospitality industry and are under 30. Bird on a Wire now boasts stores in Ponsonby and Takapuna and two stores in the CBD. It also regularly does catering for events and music festivals. The company orders nearly five tonnes of free-range chicken a month and tries to buy the products locally where possible and wants to branch into organic birds.

Special mention: Dairy product company Lewis Road Creamery, of chocolate milk fame, was named the 2015 national Rising Star. 

For a look at what has happened to the previous 16 year’s Deloitte Fast 50 winners, read this excellent piece at our sister site Idealog.

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