Australian sibling design duo Alexandra and Genevieve Smart talk to Lauretta Roberts about their plans to expand into the UK.
What inspired you to set up your own business?
We have always been inspired by the idea of controlling our destiny and being able to build something special that is important to us, while at the same time having a family. Running our own business gives us flexibility and a lifestyle that makes it all worthwhile.
You started out with spa products and moved into fashion – what prompted you to make that move?
Our vision for Ginger & Smart has always been to build a brand that is bigger than the sum of its parts. We always planned to move from spa into accessories and then into fashion. So while it has been an organic evolution, it was intended to be this way.
How would you describe the Ginger & Smart signature?
The brand signature is about luxury escape, so we design chic products that are luxury accompaniments to themes such as a sultry aromatic bath by candlelight; a romantic dinner for two with a new sexy dress; or a weekend in Paris with the smartest luggage.
Are there plans to extend the fashion line further, or move into other areas?
Our product range always crosses over with fashion and lifestyle and so over time the scope to release new lines is there.
What inspires you, and who do you design for?
We design for women who embody the opposing but complementary forces of hard and soft, empowerment and vulnerability, sexy and smart. These are the qualities that make a woman interesting.
Do you take separate roles or do you work together on everything?
We make all major decisions together, and each of us are heavily involved with all aspects of the business, but Genevieve runs design and production and Alexandra looks after branding, retail and the business side.
You have some impressive UK stockists. How did you break into the market and what are your expansion plans?
We have always believed that to move into any market you need to have a strong PR presence, a strong sales team and a targeted product. We feel we have those three elements in alignment now so we hope to grow the business and over time open a store in the UK.
How does the UK fashion market compare with Australia? And which shops do you like to visit in the UK?
The UK market is a great opportunity for our brand. Our dad is English so we lived in the UK as children and often come back to visit. It’s our home from home. We love to visit Harvey Nichols, Dover Street Market and Browns Focus. But most of all we love to soak up the atmosphere and energy.
We can guess, but tell us how you came up with the name Ginger & Smart.
There are several layers to the name. It’s a homage to the sassy and sexy ladies of the 1950s and we obviously also have a personal attachment to the name.
What do you enjoy most about running your own label?
We love having the creative freedom of our own label, but it’s also fun running a business and working with some really great people to bring our dream to fruition.