For any emerging designer, getting your products noticed is not a walk in the park. But an online Aussie retail marketplace is here to help Australia’s up-and-coming designers to have a chance to bask in the limelight. Young Republic is Australia’s first interactive marketplace for fashion, jewellery, home ware, arts and lifestyle designers.
In 2009, Young Republic founders Andrew Yang and Marianne Sea got creative when they had a vision: showcase local designs to a global audience. When the online platform was built, Young Republic decided to do a test run on social networking site, Facebook. Within the first month, over 200 local designers voiced their desire to be part of the initiative.
“In terms of the global fashion scene, Australia’s fashion industry goes unseen as we are isolated in terms of geography,” says Andrew. “We still have a fair way to go, regarding innovation in the online retail space because the online community in Australia has been slower to adapt,” explains Andrew, comparing Australia to other developed countries.
Each registered designer has a dedicated portal and Young Republic pockets “10% commission from the sales”. “It was a win-win situation,” says Andrew.
Young Republic attracted over 65,000 visitors in its first month of launch, in May 2011. Thousands of fashion enthusiasts began browsing and ordering from the registered local designers. To date, over 350 designers have signed up. And why wouldn’t they? There is no setup or listing fee.
Young republics mission is not only about offering them a platform to sell and market their products. “We help them build their brand and we teach them entrepreneurial skills by a team of industry experts, a feature other online marketplaces have failed to provide,” he says. “It’s not just about: ‘You have a design and lets wack it on the website and see how it goes,” he added.
Young Republic is part of the 2012 Startmate Program.