It’s hard to miss a Uniqlo store these days. It seems most places you go in the world, you’re bound to come across one of the 1,700 stores of Asia’s largest retailer. With their classic designs, quality material and affordable prices, it’s not hard to see why Uniqlo has been so successful and now overtaken GAP as the third largest fashion retailer in the world. Interestingly, the one brand that has been tipped to be the next Uniqlo was started by an Aussie just 2 years ago: Grana.
Like Uniqlo, Grana doesn’t chase the trends and instead focuses on timeless designs and colours at accessible prices. Unlike Uniqlo, Grana only offers premium fabrics, boasting Peruvian Pima Cotton, Chinese Silk, Mongolian Cashmere and Japanese Denim in its collection, amongst others. What is disruptive about the brand is the surprisingly low prices it offers on such premium quality product by sourcing it directly, and how fast they can get it to you.
Founder Luke Grana from Manly strategically headquartered his business in the global logistics hub of Hong Kong to take advantage of highly competitive shipping rates, and it has paid off. Grana can do same-day delivery in Hong Kong, and offers two day delivery to all other 15 countries it ships to including Australia, the US and UK. There’s no sign of slowing down either with Grana closing $10m in Series A funding in October 2016 (led by Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund) which it will use to move to a larger warehouse and launch in China, Japan and South Korea this year.
Once customers receive their orders, the brand comes to life with details like the hand-written thank you note and info cards outlining the origin of the fabric in each purchase. The pure-play retailer has further extended the brand experience by running temporary ‘Fitting Room’ pop-ups in Hong Kong, San Francisco and Sydney where customers can feel the fabric, try it on and place orders.
So this newcomer is offering premium quality clothing at disruptively low prices and delivers within 2 days to 15 countries across the pacific, and is growing. Is it just me or is it getting a little hot in here?
Although media attention to date has been focused on Grana being a direct challenger to Uniqlo, retailers positioned in the middle-market premium territory, like French Connection, Witchery, COS, Saba, should also be sitting up and paying close attention.