Efic’s Small Business Export Loan helped breakthrough Queensland-based eyewear design studio, Pared Eyewear, take their product to a high-profile US department store.
In 2011, specialised eyewear designer Samantha Stevenson and her partner, fashion and retail veteran Edward Baker, decided to take the plunge and create their own brand, making high quality fashion eyewear from premium materials.
“The vision of the brand was to create something fun and edgy, but also pared back and simplified – hence the name Pared Eyewear,” Ed explains. “Pared means to cut into something and make it simpler. It’s also a play on words, which is obviously a pair of sunglasses.”
We are also well known for our partnerships and collaborations, which follows on from our brand story that ‘everything is better in twos.”
The husband and wife team carry this belief throughout their branding – naming their different styles after things that go well together. For instance, designs in their Cabanarama collection carry titles such as Cocktails and Dreams, Lime and Coconut, Pools and Palms, and Kohl and Kaftans.
As well as creating sunglasses, Pared Eyewear is a growing presence in the optical market, providing more classic designs with clear lenses.
“From a business perspective, we’re fun and fashionable but still accessible, with our pricing within the $250-$300 range in Australia,” says Ed. “That’s still fashion but not as pricy as some of our competitors.”
Since its inception, Pared has quickly grown from being a small business to one with a strong brand and profile overseas. By their third year of business, Pared’s export sales outweighed their domestic sales by almost two to one. This was more by design than accident, as in the fashion world, new Australian brands are often better received abroad than they are home. As a result, a logical move was to take an export-focused approach from the outset.
“While we started planning our business and developing our product in 2011, 2012 was our first year of sales,” Ed explains. “We started exporting in 2013.”
Focusing on wholesale trade, they had their first success in Korea. They then approached the US market through a small trade agent, but without much success. In 2015, with the help of a business mentor, they changed strategy and hit the US tradeshows themselves to meet customers face to face. At the same time, Pared became the first eyewear brand accepted into the not-for-profit Australian Fashion chamber, which led to an invitation to Paris Fashion Week.