Ketz-ke the latest Kiwi success in Japanese market
Ketz-ke fashion label the latest Kiwi success in competitive Japanese market
Five--year--old brand now stocked at more than 320 retailers worldwide
Jenny Drury is a classic example of the determined Kiwi achiever, turning a teenage passion for fashion into a multi--million dollar international fashion brand.
After spending years working for others in the fashion industry, as a sales rep and eventually a designer, she decided to set up her own company after the birth of her son.
The quirkily named Ketz--ke delivers a savvy combination of style and individuality at an extremely accessible price point. “It’s all about responding to the growing demand for quality, casually modern clothing,” says Drury. “Ketz--ke sets you apart from the masses – I aim to make clothes that are easy to wear and get the wearer noticed.”
The first range launched in February 2008, a bold decision during the GFC. Instantly resonating with retailers and the target market of 20-- to 45--year--old women, Ketz--ke is now stocked at 90 stores across New Zealand plus more than 230 stores in Australia, Rarotonga, the USA and Canada.
Japan is the latest country to fall for the Ketz--ke vision.
“It took two years to crack this hugely desirable market. We perservered until we found a Japanese distributor who was a good fit with our brand. The Japanese love that this is a New Zealand--designed label, and now that we’ve forged a relationship there is a lot of loyalty. We’re stocked mainly in Tokyo, and this is set to expand significantly over the next 12 months.”
The brand has grown every season since launch, consistently increasing between 10% and 30% year on year.
Drury’s small, close knit team consists of two full time staff – “although it’s like having three fulltime staff with my sister Brenda working for me, as she works at the pace of several people combined” – plus several part timers for the busy periods.
She credits Ketz--ke’s success to her involvement in every aspect of the business, and a uniquely responsive relationship with her retailers. “I work closely with my stockists and speak to them often, making sure I give them what they’re wanting in terms of price points, margins and marketing.”
Being attuned to her markets means she also understands what will sell well in each region. “Auckland is very different from the rest of the county. I visit my stockists in rural towns to get their feedback on the ranges – at the end of the day, I’m a country girl from Cambridge so I can relate. And our international markets are different again.”
Drury is a firm believer in sticking to your knitting, so is committed to her wholesaling business model with no plans to open bricks and mortar stores. However, she has recently launched an online store. “It’s important to offer customers fresh perspectives and diversification.”
Her formidable work ethic sees her making round--the--world trips to visit manufacturers and suppliers in ten days, and she regards a good night’s sleep as “one where you get four hours in a row with your eyes shut.”
But then, as she observes, “in the fashion industry you can never sit back and say “I’ve made it”. It’s always changing and you have to keep on top of your game. I pour my heart and soul into every range, striving to make it better than the one before.” The Spring/Summer 2013/2014 collection is on track to be Ketz-ke’s biggest selling yet.