Despite tough times for retailers in the last two years, Juliette Hogan’s fashion business has not only enjoyed commercial success but won multiple awards in the process.
Juliette Hogan won the Supreme Business Excellence Award, as well as Excellence in Marketing and Excellence in Customer Service Delivery category awards at the 2022 Westpac Auckland Central Business Awards.
REDnews went to the businesswoman and designer’s workroom in Auckland’s Morningside to talk to her about her achievements.
“Winning the awards is an absolute testament to the team, to how hard we have worked. Being recognised as a really well-established and successful business is an absolute career highlight,” Hogan said.
As Juliette’s team unpacked boxes of their new season’s stock that had just arrived in New Zealand following shipping delays, the founder of the brand talked about how they’ve battled supply chain issues.
“We’ve been really fortunate that we manufacture the majority of our product in New Zealand. We have been really mindful since early 2020 of the raw materials we were bringing in from overseas and we allowed for a far greater shipping time.
“We used to allow eight weeks for shipping and now we allow 12 to 16 weeks for the materials to get here in time,” she said.
As the clothing brand is more retail-oriented, with only a smaller wholesale customer base, they have been able to tweak delivery times more easily and make their own decisions around what product goes into stores.
She puts the success of the business down to her strong team, hard work, and being really good at problem solving.
“When it comes to fashion, marketing is such an important part of the mix. And after winning the Excellence in Marketing Award, a great marketing strategy is all about being open to testing and learning.
“It’s really important to have the confidence to try out new initiatives. Be open to learning from things that aren’t as successful as you thought they might be and then take those results forward in order to learn from them,” she said.
“Even though we are exposed to endless options from overseas retailers online, being a locally-based New Zealand brand gives us an advantage of offering great customer service,” Hogan said.
After winning the Excellence in Customer Service Delivery Award, she says the most important quality in service is treating people with kindness and respect.
“We have a real and genuine relationship with our customers. We want them to be part of our community and being able to connect with them directly through our stores and other channels enables us to really build and nurture those connections,” she said.
Westpac NZ’s Head of Hospitality, Tourism & Retail Trade John Machell said it’s great to see an iconic New Zealand fashion brand and retailer come away with these awards.
“It’s clear that Juliette and her team place their customers at the heart of everything they do. Creating a seamless and enjoyable experience across multiple channels – physical stores, online and over social media – is no mean feat.
“They make it look easy, but a huge amount of work goes into creating this experience for the customer,” Machell said.
Hogan began sewing at age 12 and her childhood dream was to be doing exactly what she’s doing now.
She launched her own brand 18 years ago as a “one-man-band” after studying at Parsons School of Design in New York and completing an internship with Rebecca Taylor.
Her first store opened in Ponsonby in 2007 and she now has five retails stores, a growing team of 34 people and two online channels which are being pushed into Australia.
The designer learned on the job how to run a business and credits her team around her and the support of her husband and daughters for helping her on the journey.
“I just feel really grateful that the business is what it is, and that something I dreamed of as a child has become what it is today,” she said.