Making ground with a new online store in a competitive online market is no mean feat, especially when you’re new to the game.
Former archaeologist Lauren Jones launched Eocene, an designer fashion online retail space with business partner Walter Davidson this month and despite its high fashion cred, the newcomer isn’t letting go of her roots just yet.
“The Eocene is a geological epoch that lasted from around 56-34 million years ago,” says Jones of the name.
“I thought it would be nice to have some of my archaeology geekiness be part of the store. It’s a bit beyond the scope of the earliest timeframes I worked in as an archaeologist but ‘Paleolithic’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
An avid online shopper herself, Jones sought to create an online store that would bring little-known and hard to find brands to the Australian market.
“I initially developed the concept for Eocene a few years ago when we were living in London and were buying everything online,” she says.
“When we came back to Australia I continued with archaeology for a couple of years before realising that what I really wanted to be doing was building the store.”
Launching with the experience of software engineering business partner Walter Davidson, Jones said each of the pair wears many hats in the online business process.
“Walt and I have had to wear a lot of different hats so having a diverse skill set among the founders can definitely help. Having said that, we’ve learned an incredible amount along the way.
“It’s very cliché but commitment, passion and positivity are absolutely key. These will help to get you from the excitement and buzz of the initial idea through to execution.”
Stocking the store with labels including cult label Opening Ceremony and Australia’s Francis Leon as well as lesser-known Saint Paul and Jonanthan Simkhai, Jones says sourcing the pieces to feature is a precise process.
“I follow the shows during fashion week and keep an eye out for any interesting brands on fashion blogs, in magazines and trade publications, and through social media,” she says.
“We go to showroom appointments overseas each buying season and that’s a great way to see new brands as well. We also get contacted by brands directly now which is great.
“Before we decide to stock a brand we look at the quality of the items, where they are made, what the brand has done in past seasons, their distribution and global reach, and whether we think they will be a good fit for the Australian market. We primarily look for brands that have their own distinct aesthetic; we don’t want brands that are too heavily influenced by trends.”