In 2004, Camilla Franks founded her eponymous label, CAMILLA, with a single vision: to Colour the World. Starting in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, the luxury label has grown its global footprint, diversified its range and amassed a cult-like following. We sit down with CEO Jane McNally to discuss what’s next.
CAMILLA designers let their imaginations run wild, creating signature prints that tell the stories of Camilla’s travels across the globe and through fantastical journeys of the mind. They spread their attitude of love, acceptance and the beauty of diversity, giving everybody a chance to wrap themselves up in the colours of life.
Today the company has 22 CAMILLA boutiques in Australia and a further two in the US in California and Miami. They also operate through 250 wholesale doors in prestigious retailers such as Harrods, Selfridges, Saks, as well as pure play partners such as Net-a-Porter, Matches, My Theresa and Farfetch.
Their international market accounts for over half of their wholesale sales, with the largest part of that being the Americas as well as the UK, EU, South America, Canada, the Middle East and Asia. They also ship to fifty-nine international destinations through their website, delivering their global collection all across the world.
“Our vision remains to Colour the World. This means bringing joy, a zest for life, and vibrant colours across the globe by expanding our lifestyle categories and offering philanthropic support,” explains Jane McNally, CEO of CAMILLA. “Throughout the pandemic this hasn’t changed, but we have redefined the milestones for the next 12 months. We still want to open more boutiques in the US and elsewhere, but obviously not being able to travel has made this particularly challenging. Accordingly, we are prioritising investment on further digital expansion and improvement, and new product category development.”
Before Covid-19, five new locations were launched in 2019 including the first US locations which launched in May that year. They were only small, relatively short-term leases, but it was a market the brand had been keen to have a presence in and these openings marked a major company milestone.
Their boutiques are designed as a completely immersive experience that engages all the senses. They have surround sound music playing in the changing rooms, bespoke scents throughout and a ceremonial welcome upon entry.
Moving forward and travel permitting, they would like to open a further one to three boutiques in the US, potentially a second in Florida or California, and then another in Texas where they are experiencing big online demand. Longer term, they would like to combine the online presence in the UK and Europe with some physical locations. They are also considering joint venture partnerships to help bring the brand to the Middle East and Asia.
“We have an incredibly strong design and product team inspired by our amazing Creative Director and Founder, Camilla Franks. We always strive to keep close to our customer’s changing values, so often new product demand is organic. For example, our recent and commercially successful foray into CAMILLA printed bed linen evolved from multiple customer requests to colour their homes,” says McNally.
Upcoming product initiatives will see the brand responding to the need for a more colourful men’s offering, so they are expanding this range to include silk shirts, trousers and smoking jackets. They will also be offering a more complete range of home interior options including rugs, crockery and some exquisite wallpaper designs.
Social media has become a core way for the business to maintain a connection with their customers. They work hard on tailoring content and approach to each channel and it has paid dividends, as they currently have over 700,000 engaged followers.
“Core to our success is collaborating with incredible influencers, or as we prefer to call them, ‘Social Publishers’. These powerhouse creators, who style, shoot, write and interpret our brand for their hard-earned audiences. We cast influencers in our campaigns and we work with them in season to help new audiences discover our brand,” McNally comments.
The CAMILLA brand is totally unique and storytelling is intrinsic to the DNA of the brand. These are features that McNally feels why they have loyal customers and what differentiates them from other companies. Everything they create is strictly limited edition – they never repeat the same item in the same print. They are a luxury brand that operates on weekly, limited drops, which in turn makes their pieces highly collectible.
“The brand is about more than just fashion though. We truly believe in our values and we live and breathe them. We are joyful and unexpected. We lead with love and we fight for those who aren’t as privileged as ourselves.”
The amazing and original creative concept behind CAMILLA is supported by a world-class business team. This ensures that their creative vision can be executed with commercial success.
“Looking to the future, the excitement and challenge for us lies in continuing to expand internationally. This may mean opening stores completely remotely – perhaps employing colleagues and contractors whom we have only met online – and working with agencies that have deep local knowledge to tell our CAMILLA stories. Navigating the pandemic and its aftermath as a global retailer is certainly unprecedented – but we will apply new thinking and innovation to ensure that our journey to colour the world continues apace,” McNally concludes.