The fashion brand goes from wholesale-er to wholesale-ee.
Casper+Pearl transforms into The Squad
“I always wanted to own my own business. That was the number one thing. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do, I just wanted to be my own boss,” says local entrepreneur, Stacey Hendrickson.
The Squad goes live on Wednesday February 8th – tonight.
So – in 2011, at age 18, Stacey launched her wholesale womenswear brand, casper+pearl. The brand was sold in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America in online stores Nasty Gal, Revolve, Urban Outfitters, Princess Polly, Peppermayo and The Iconic – a substantial feat for a self-taught designer and businesswoman.
In 2013, at age 20, Stacey went on to launch her Adelaide-based modelling agency, Azalea Models. The agency has since fostered a close working relationship with IMG Models Worldwide and Chic Management, and is responsible for launching the career of Australia’s first transgender model, Gemma Cowling.
This year, at age 24, Stacey is closing the doors of casper+pearl and launching her own fast fashion online shopping platform, The Squad.
After six years of trading as a wholesaling ready-to-wear label, Stacey will now be competing with the very stockists that were purchasing casper+pearl. But, “business is business,” says Stacey, and “times are changing”.
“To stay relevant you need to change with those times. Every girl aged 15-30 is shopping online and wants to buy clothing for under $100. If they want to wear a dress that costs as much as we were charging at casper+pearl, they’re going to rent it and wear it once.
“The clothing rental industry is ruining fashion houses who charge upwards of $100 for items, and I knew that I needed to make a change now before it was too late.”
Stacey says she’ll be featuring “stock brands” on the e-store for a little while first, focusing on finding products other stores don’t yet sell.
“I’ve been sourcing things that I know girls want. They might see inspiration on Tumblr and Instagram, but they don’t know where to find it,” says Stacey.
As she’s set up the store, Stacey has found that being on the opposite side of fashion from design is a welcome change.
“I really enjoy being a buyer. I’ve been going to visit fashion agencies – which is who I used to work with to sell the brand, and now I’m buying the brands,” says Stacey.
But, Stacey says that if she can’t find it, she knows that she can make it.
A little later into The Squad’s life, Stacey will design and produce items exclusive to the online store.
“I’m looking forward to getting into that bit again, manufacturing,” Stacey says. And she’s already moving in that direction with a selection of jewellery and accessories that she has designed and hand-made ready to be sold on the site.
Though it’s a one (wo)man show to start with – Stacey is doing everything from the business-plan and buying, to branding, marketing, and website design – she plans to open the doors to some local fashion industry professionals in the longer term.
“There’s going to be some jobs in Adelaide, which is really exciting,” she says. “In fashion, most people have to move interstate, so it will be good to offer some jobs.”
Stacey will also exclusively hire her Azalea models for The Squad shoots and campaigns, and will be using local photographer, Adam Stanley, as her in-house photographer.
The Squad e-commerce platform launches tonight.