Leina Broughton, Creative Director and Fleur Richardson, Managing Director are the Co-Founders of Leina & Fleur, a size inclusive online women’s fashion label aimed at the 40+ age group, that is designed and manufactured locally in Australia. Since they became co-owners in 2013, the creative, business savvy pair have self funded to continuously reinvest and grow their business into a hugely popular label with a devoted customer base of working women.
Both traversed successful careers with iconic Australian fashion houses, before embarking on their own venture. Quick with a quip, engaging and innovative, Leina & Fleur are the confident face of their brand, and vocal advocates for keeping Australia’s fashion industry thriving, and manufacturing on shore to retain skills and create employment.
With customers firmly at the heart of everything they do, their objective is to create an enduring legacy that supports women to be proudly who they are, and define success on their own terms.
Tell us how you have built Leina & Fleur blending traditional fashion industry expertise, with digital innovation.
We both started working in traditional fashion companies of bricks and mortar and wholesale models. Very early on in our business we decided to step out of this and become pure play online and then a year later decided to only be available through our own website. When we made this shift ecommerce was still in a very infant stage and we had to jump in and imagine and create how we thought it would work.
From selling, email strategy to advertising we needed to embrace our curiosity and street fighter nature to make things happen, which meant learning on the spot and putting our ideas to the test. Imagine – Create – Test – Review – Repeat. We knew who our target market was – she was us! Everything that we built was based on what we wanted and were missing as consumers. This approach has become the backbone of our Company DNA.
Leina & Fleur is a privately owned, self funded fashion brand. How has this affected your business growth?
Being privately owned and also starting on a shoestring has meant that every time we have wanted to grow, we have had to put in the hard yards to generate the money needed for cashflow. We haven’t borrowed for our growth, we’ve worked hard for every single stage.
Without intention, it also meant that every stage has had to be an organic growth… letting the audience, our product offering, our team, our premises grow as we did. We move fast, so this has been an exciting and exponential growth path.
As an Australian Made label, and onshore manufacturer, what are the benefits of local and in house manufacturing?
Right from the beginning we both held the same passion for local manufacturing. The industry here is much more alive than is thought and we wanted to be part of ensuring it continued to grow and blossom. The absolute advantage of doing production locally is the speed to market, and also how connected we can be to the process. It’s exciting, challenging and ever rewarding.
Many brands with offshore manufacturing suffered supply disruption during COVID and are now looking to bring their manufacturing back onshore. What are the implications for the future of the Australian manufacturing industry?
Hopefully it is an exciting change that is maintained. We have seen so many times in the industry where businesses lean on local manufacturers when they are in a pickle, but they also quickly drop them when off-shore opportunities open. The cost of manufacturing locally can seem huge in comparison to offshore but the benefits, sustainability and quality of local are incredible.
How has your focus on designing fashion for women aged 40 plus led to a highly engaged and dedicated customer base of professional women?
For so long the 40+ female market has quite simply been excluded from the media and from marketing, despite the fact that we are considered the decision makers in purchases and also the highest earning category. This was not something intentional in the beginning. We created what we wanted to see, and that was us.
We wanted to see success and inspiration redefined. It’s not about being 20 and size 8, it’s about being your best version of yourself regardless of your age, size or height.
You are the female economy. Whether you are a female consumer, business owner or a woman in the workforce, you can create gender equality by choosing female led brands.
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