How To Rejuvenate An 80-Year-Old Brand

A Fresh Vision for a Storied Brand

Oroton, a hallmark of Australian luxury for over 85 years, is undergoing a significant transformation under new leadership. Jennifer Child, the CEO of Oroton, has spearheaded a strategic revival to reinvigorate the brand’s legacy while positioning it for contemporary relevance.

From Consulting to Leading a Retail Renaissance

Transitioning from a 15-year consulting career at McKinsey, Child embraced her new role in retail with enthusiasm and strategic insight. Her consulting background, focused on problem-solving and analytical rigor, equipped her to tackle the challenges of revitalizing Oroton. “Bringing fresh eyes to retail and fashion,” she notes, has been instrumental in reshaping the brand’s potential and navigating the risks associated with such a significant transformation.

Navigating Peaks and Valleys

Oroton’s journey has seen its share of highs and lows, notably entering administration in 2017-2018. Child’s approach emphasizes risk-taking and ambitious goal-setting. “To realize the full potential of this brand, you’ve got to take risks,” she asserts. This mindset has driven the Oroton brand transformation, focusing on substantial growth targets and innovative product development.

Balancing Creativity and Commercial Viability

One of the most striking challenges Child faced was merging analytical precision with the creative pulse essential in fashion. Learning to protect and nurture creativity within the business, she highlights, was a significant shift from her consulting days. This balance is crucial in making decisions that allow for creative freedom while ensuring commercial success.

Rebooting the Product Line

The core of Oroton’s rejuvenation lies in its product line. With a renewed focus on quality and relevance, Creative Director Sophie Holt was instrumental in modernizing Oroton’s offerings. The introduction of apparel alongside the brand’s iconic accessories marked a pivotal expansion, providing more frequent purchase opportunities and deeper customer engagement.

Respecting Heritage While Innovating

Oroton’s rich history, dating back to 1938, remains a cornerstone of its identity. The brand’s heritage of quality and timeless design continues to resonate with customers. Child emphasizes that maintaining this legacy involves respecting the brand’s storied past while driving innovation to stay competitive and contemporary.

Strategic Growth and Market Expansion

Domestically, Oroton aims to reclaim market share and re-engage Australian consumers. Looking ahead, the brand is eyeing expansion into new geographies, particularly within the Asia-Pacific region. This strategy leverages existing consumer relationships and targets significant markets like Japan, the third-largest handbag market globally.

Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability is at the forefront of Oroton’s strategy. The brand’s “Triple R” approach—repair, resell, and rental—reflects a commitment to environmental responsibility and meeting evolving consumer preferences. Partnerships with platforms like eBay and local startups enable Oroton to offer sustainable solutions without compromising on luxury or quality.

Cultivating Culture and Innovation

Investing in a collaborative and dynamic company culture is key to sustaining the Oroton brand transformation. The brand’s new headquarters in Chippendale, a heritage building reimagined for modern work, exemplifies this commitment. The fluid workspace fosters creativity and teamwork, essential for driving the brand forward.

Oroton’s transformation under Jennifer Child’s leadership is a testament to the power of blending historical respect with modern innovation. As the brand navigates its next chapter, it stands poised to redefine luxury in the contemporary retail landscape.

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