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December 2, 2016

The Mon Purse empire arrives in Adelaide

From build-a-bear to build-a-bag.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Julian Cebo

We’re not saying we’re not surprised that Adelaide is part of the brick-and-mortar global expansion of Australian accessories brand, Mon Purse. We might be a little flattered though.


Mon Purse’s Adelaide concession store is based in the Myer Centre on Rundle Mall.

Like most businesses, Mon Purse began with an idea, and, like many of the best ideas, this one occurred in a less than normal location: Sydney-based entrepreneur, Lana Hopkins, was at a Build-a-Bear workshop after unsuccessfully shopping for a handbag. In between stuffing the belly of the bear and choosing the right material for its fur, the concept of launching her own custom-made handbag business was born.

“In the beginning Mon Purse was meant to be an online store, but, with our flagship and subsequent openings at Myer, we were beginning to offer a seamless online offline shopping experience.” – lana hopkins, CEO

Mon Purse founder and CEO, Lana Hopkins.

“In the beginning, Mon Purse was meant to be an online store,” says Lana, and it still is to some degree. “Working with in-house developers, we created the 3D Bag Builder, a proprietary built front-end (using WebGL and JavaScript in HTML) implementing a vision of an intuitive way for customers to design their very own handbag.”

Using this technology, customers are offered up to “six billion” ways to customise and design their bag online. Since its launch in 2014, the company has gone from success to success, with sales increasing by 8000 per cent. But, it is the brick-and-mortar expansion that is set to see the business enjoy a cool $20 million in revenue for 2017.

In-store, roaming iPads and design booths allow customers to take the same online journey. However, that journey is made all the more powerful, says Lana, by the ability to touch, feel and smell the quality of the European leather in-store.

Of the choice to open a concession in Myer’s Adelaide city location this year, Lana says the proof was in the pudding.

“We had significant online traction from South Australia (and several customer requests via social media). With this data and our success in Myer Sydney and Melbourne, Adelaide was naturally the next location for our national expansion,” she says.

With Sydney flagship store, five Myer concessions around the country, and concessions in Manchester and London based Selfridges launched this past November, Lana says that the move into Bloomingdale’s New York flagship this December is the next step.

Beyond New York is San Francisco – Mon Purse will be launching what is being called a Mon Gallery there this December. As for what lies beyond San Francisco though, we can’t say. But, it does seem, for Mon Purse, that the horizons are ever-expanding.

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