HOW AN ADELAIDE SWIMWEAR BRAND WENT GLOBAL USING INSTAGRAM
Written on the 3 July 2017 by David Simmons
COREY Decandia and Jordan Kallios, founders of Adelaide based swimwear brand Vacay Swimwear, thank the power of social media for their quick rise to success.
Barely three months old, Vacay has already gathered 44,200 followers on Instagram, and has successfully tapped into the US and European markets.
Decandia and Kallios say Vacay is a swimwear brand designed by guys, for guys.
They stock a curated line of men's swim shorts and accessories, with designs based on the pair's favourite locations from around the world.
Whilst the brand itself might only be young, years of work and training on social media prepared Decandia and Kallios to truly launch the brand and tap into the hungry masses on social media.
Whilst at University the pair made money by "flipping" Instagram accounts. They would buy accounts, build up the account's followers, and on-sell to interested parties to make a profit.
They also made money by selling "shoutouts" to other accounts from the accounts they managed, which they say had between 50 and 100 thousand followers.
Their wealth of experience with social media led to the pair promoting their swimwear brand almost exclusively on Instagram (@vacay_swimwear).
Whilst the middle of an Australian winter might seem like an odd time to launch an Adelaide swimwear brand, where temperatures barely get above 15 Celsius, the two targeted the American and European market on Instagram to get those pre-Summer sales.
Now the two boast 80 per cent of their total sales originating from overseas.
As Vacay gear up to launch their next swim short design (which has already sold out in pre-orders!) we spoke to Decandia and Kallios about how they got started, how to succeed on social media, and the future for the Adelaide brand.
What inspired you to start Vacay?
JORDAN: Whilst at Uni we identified a gap in the market for male swimwear. Every time we went out to buy male swimwear we always had to go into different stores and there wasn't really a brand that directed all the products just to males, so we thought we'd put our skills to the test and we thought we'd start this business. From there it quickly blew up.
Did you find it difficult to really get it going?COREY: For us the hardest process was finding manufacturers because, coming from marketing backgrounds, we didn't get taught anything like that at Uni. Finding suppliers was tough for us, and having to go back and forth making sure the product was what we wanted was tough too. There's still little issues, and I think you're going to get that through your whole business career, of problems with certain things that you have no control over. We did make a lot of mistakes early which is good because now we know what works and what doesn't.
JORDAN: We have lots of obstacles, that's part of business. Things don't always go to plan, but we find other ways to achieve them. We're always looking for new ways to improve our business and overcome all obstacles thrown at us and that's the most important thing I reckon. And that's what we do quite well.
How did you get to being internationally recognised in just three months?
JORDAN: Seeing as our brand is quite seasonal we had to think smart. In the EU and US market it's approaching summer so it's quite logical to market our brand towards those countries. Approaching summer people want to buy swimwear. They want to look good, they want to have all the swimwear ready, we thought we'd target the overseas market for now and see if we can really penetrate that market and hopefully generate some sales. The majority of our sales, I think 80 per cent are from the US and European market. We're gaining all this credibility, becoming an established brand, so when summertime does approach in Australia we'll already have that brand awareness and credibility behind us.
COREY: I think what helped us grow it quickly is we both have pretty strong background on Instagram. I have quite a big personal page and me and Jordie have both owned big pages on Instagram which we've flipped and sold for most of our university degree just to make a bit of money on the side, we kind of knew how to build following bases and how to find the right audiences.
JORDAN: These days most businesses have a social media account and use Facebook or Instagram or even Twitter and you've got to find which one works the best for you.
Would you say social media is the key behind your success?
JORDAN: It's probably the most cost effective way to get your product out there and to really be exposed to a large audience world-wide. I mean it's a free marketing tool virtually. We had people in America and South America and Asia wearing our swimwear they bought off us and hash tagging us and that's free publicity for us. I believe Instagram and social media is the best tool to use.
COREY: In the early phases as well we didn't have that big budget to spend on advertising. A lot of our money has gone into social media marketing, we haven't worried about any print media, we haven't done any commercials or anything like that and we've seen a huge amount of success in social media alone and we'll continue to go down that path.
JORDAN: Everyone's on their phone. It's what the world's come to. Everyone's constantly checking their Instagram and their Facebook so if they can see our brand on Instagram and Facebook then we're doing well. We just want to keep that up.
Author: David Simmons