Australian-born brand Insight is rolling up on its 20-year anniversary. Through its unique spin on apparel within the action sports and fashion markets, the brand has continued strengthening its presence in the US over the past few years. In honor of its two-decade anniversary, TransWorld Business took a more in-depth look at how the brand’s story has unfolded.
Since setting up shop at its flagship location in Venice, California back in 2006, Insight has steadily expanded its roots to reach a broader footprint on US soil. In 2011, the brand saw a record-breaking sales figure globally with its “Untitled” photographic T-shirt series, moving 150,000 units off shelves at retail stores over a 12-month period— just one of many milestones the brand is celebrating in 2012, according to Skye McRae, Insight’s global chief marketing officer.
“What I find most inspiring about Insight is our authenticity,” says McRae. “We have always stayed true to who we are; never bending under industry pressure or restraining our out-of-the-box creative.”
McRae, who has been with the brand for nearly a decade, considers herself fortunate to have witnessed Insight’s growth from its infancy to today, as it continues to flourish into a global brand. She attributes the growth to the way the brand has been able to “build a community of unique surfers, skaters, artists, musicians, and creative minds who lead the Insight aesthetic and lifestyle.”
In an interview with TransWorld Business, McRae shares more about what the brand is doing to commemorate its 20-year anniversary, plans to stay true to the brand’s original creed, and tailoring its retail strategy to different regions throughout the world by working closely with its retail partners.
How is the brand ringing in its 20th anniversary—any special collaboration product, exclusive events at the flagship locations, et cetera, we should know about?
We’re planning our “almost legal” global “birthday” celebrations in yet to be disclosed locations. You’ll be the first to be invited. Get your passport ready for a local Venice one, Oz, and Bali trek.
The brand has its roots in Australia, but also has expanded into HQs in the US and Europe. When did this happen, and how long has the brand been found at US and European retail, respectively?
In 2006, we opened up our European operations in Biarritz, France. Then, went on to set up shop in Venice Beach, California. Fast forward [and] in mid-2009, we partnered up with Black Box Distribution to oversee the US market.
The initial opening of the offices in EU and USA, came as an afterthought after selling direct from Bleach in Australia—EU for roughly four years and USA for two. Opening the offices has definitely given us the opportunity to interact with the direct community and have a local presence in both territories.
Can you explain the role that Bleach plays for Insight?
Bleach is the company which owns Insight globally. The global HQ for Insight is based in Sydney, Australia, with a satellite office in Biarritz, France.
Bleach is the distributor for Insight in Australia and parts of Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, UK, Switzerland, Austria and Germany).
Under Bleach, Insight handles all aspects of the brand’s design, marketing, and sales as well as back office. Black Box is the distributor/licensee for Insight in the USA.
Tell us more about the other two brands under the Bleach umbrella, and how Insight fits with them.
Bleach also owns ksubi, a luxury denim brand, and Something Else, a contemporary women’s brand.
The beauty of Bleach as a business is that it is a true brand house in the fact that it owns three uniquely different brands, each of which caters to a different part of the market. This allows us to talk to various consumer markets, create specific products for these, and furthermore grow strong relationships with a large variety of retailers.
Insight has tripled its SMU business around the world by working with key retailers to develop specific styles for each store’s own demographic. Did you do this through collaborations or just by opening the lines of communication to find out what colorways and SKUs were best sellers at particular locations?
We’ve worked very closely with key retailers since day one. It’s allowed us to continue to grow and nurture our partnerships. Working in-conjunction with and analyzing the product assortment and ensuring what we develop compliments their demo. We’ve continued with the same MO. Not only has this given us the ability to gain traction into the market, but its allowed us to do business to tier our distribution.
Follow the jump for more on E-commerce, Insight’s Collectables line, and Jamaican dance crazes…