Rose & Thorne design innovative lingerie items. They’re about taking a fresh sheet of paper and creating the world’s best everyday intimates using a truly contemporary approach. The company is 100% employee-owned and was founded in 2011 by Stefan Preston and Sue Dunmore.
Stefan and Sue were both CEO and Head of Design respectively for Bendon during the 2000’s, leading that company’s expansion into Europe, North America and the Middle East. Bendon’s new Australian board moved the company operations to Australia and made the core New Zealand-based design and development team redundant in 2011. The cream of this team formed Rose & Thorne.
The business is 100% owned by employees – their six “obsessions” are;
- Generating customer advocacy
- Narrow and deep (few but deep customer relationships)
- Focus on the experience not the product
- Culture club (building a strong culture for people to belong to)
Their passion is lingerie – they wanted to make product that was ultra-comfortable, ridiculously affordable, easy to buy and without sacrificing looks.
First they started with the body. They distilled decades of experience and a world-wide search into five perfect shapes. Then they created the Forgiving Fit technology which accommodates change in your body without discomfort.
Rose & Thorne collaborate closely with their factories so they can cut unnecessary costs, yet work with patterns that are often unique for each size. All so their clients can experience a product that feels like it was custom-made for them.
The items are manufactured in China and distributed via large department stores, apparel chains and via their own store and online.
Gilligan Sheppard assists Rose & Thorne by keeping their accounts ‘in control’ and advising on key strategic moves such as the recent set up of an Australian company for managing exports to our Australian customers.
Rose & Thorne continue to encounter many challenges such as raising capital, transfer pricing, currency management, etc. Marion’s advice (Director at Gilligan Sheppard) is critical in making sure we comply with the IRD and have a good story for investors.
“Building a business in a mature market against $100M+ competitors is no picnic, but at least we have the support of an accounting company where one of the partners wears a bike outfit to work and funny hats at public company AGM’s. We will never take the journey too seriously!” – Stefan Preston, Executive Chairman at Rose & Thorne
They are now focusing on Australia and are working on an opportunity to sell lingerie through large chains of women’s apparel stores as well as building up their own retail channels. Rose & Thorne are aiming to lunch in the United States within two years.
In fact, Rose & Thorne beat off 57 applicants to triumph at the 2013 Entrepreneur’s Challenge with a prestigious win in the final round with EcoStock. They convinced the ‘Dragons Den’ of judges that it has the right combination of leadership, innovation, governance, persistence and international expansion potential to rightly deserve its share of the $1m in growth funding.
Stefan says “In the business community, Rose & Thorne is grateful for the support we’ve had from our main retailer The Warehouse and the growing community of customer advocates that we are building. When you are a small company you are very reliant on people getting behind you and now it’s really pleasing to share in this award which will help us along on our journey.”
In announcing the two winners at the Business School, Sir John Logan Campbell Executive-in-Residence and chairman of the investment committee Greg Cross says “New Zealand needs to be creative, adaptable and diverse, and the back stories to each of this year’s two winners reflects this perfectly.”
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Rose & Thorne love to hear from their customers and often incorporate customer feedback into their designs. Have a look at their website www.roseandthorne.co.nz or check out their facebook page www.facebook.com/roseandthorne