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Q&A: Stacey Hendrickson, THE SQUAD

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Welcome to KIS Blog: A taste of local fashion, food & wine and luxe travel

Q&A: Stacey Hendrickson, THE SQUAD

Lauren Zwaans

Adelaide fashion designer and entrepreneur Stacey Hendrickson understands the value of rebranding better than most.

After six years at the helm of casper+pearl, Hendrickson says the market had shifted, and the rise of fashion renting meant it was time for a change.

The 24-year-old, who also runs leading Adelaide modelling agency, AZALEA Models, explains her decision to farewell casper+pearl and launch THE SQUAD: a new online store for young women, featuring locally designed, on-trend pieces and vintage-inspired threads, all retailing at under $100.

 Stacey Hendrickson

Stacey Hendrickson

KIS: Congratulations on the launch of THE SQUAD! How did the idea come about?
Hendrickson: Thank you! THE SQUAD is an online store. We sell gear for girls aged 16-35 and everything is under $100! The idea came about because I had run and owned casper+pearl for over 6 years; how time flies! Times are changing and the economy is suffering, so I felt like girls really needed to find amazing clothing on a budget, and have it be easily accessible. The name was inspired by AZALEA Models - we have definitely formed a bit of a model squad and girls are always looking to models on what they should be wearing!

KIS: You’ve farewelled the label you created six years ago. Was it sad saying good bye to casper+pearl or time for a change?
Hendrickson: Definitely sad, but time for a change. It's the end of an era. The industry says you are meant to re-brand every five years. I'm also finding that girls who want to wear brands that are priced at over $200 are all renting. Don't get me wrong, it's genius, and catching on all over the world, but it really affects brands who are in the mid to high price range, as they are losing sales. Girls have another option: buy clothing they can keep that is affordable, because let's be real, most of us wear our clothes more than once!

Who is THE SQUAD woman?
THE SQUAD woman is a little bit sweet and a little bit freaky. She likes to have fun, stand out and be the best dressed girl at the party. She likes to wear something new every weekend and is obsessed with online shopping!

THE SQUAD falls into the ‘fast fashion’ category. Was this in response to a perceived gap in the market and how do you still ensure quality?
Yes it does, however most of our items are still designed within Australia and ensure quality. It's not like these pieces are being made for $2 or anything like that; I’ve sourced clothing that is of the same quality that casper+pearl was! We'll be designing and manufacturing our own styles, but by removing that middle man of another stockist we are able to charge the same amount that used to be our wholesale price.

You are definitely an inspiring young entrepreneur, and your modelling agency looks to be doing very well! How do you balance multiple businesses?
Thank you, that’s sweet. It definitely is all about balance. I own AZALEA Models with my mum, Anne. She is amazing and handles all of the logistics and accounting, so that I can concentrate on all of the creative aspects of both businesses.

Tell us how everything is going with AZALEA! What are some of your agency’s achievements of late?
We've been super busy! We've loved seeing the business grow and grow organically every quarter and we've found some amazing faces of late too. We've just launched a men's board with eight amazing men. Meanwhile, our girls have been killing it: Gemma Cowling has been signed in New York with Marilyn's and will be going over for New York Fashion Week. She just had a super successful week at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia too. Beck Hume turns 16 this year and has been receiving some amazing interest from international brands that we can finally act on! 

Business sentiment in South Australia overall is mixed at best. How do you perceive things are going in the fashion sector and what portion of your customers are local versus interstate and overseas?
THE SQUAD’s biggest customer base is definitely in South Australia, and Brisbane. I think it's a great time to be in Adelaide; I cannot keep up with the new brands and stores opening - along with the other creatives out there and cafes etc! Adelaide Fashion Festival is really helping to put Adelaide on the map for sure, so I've loved being a part of that.

Image credits: Stacey Hendrickson's Instagram; THE SQUAD Online (Photographer: Adam Stanley; MUA: Monika Portella; Model: Rebeka Ormsby from AZALEA Models).