Like most start-ups, Hooper started her business when she found a gap in the market. “Holiday Trading & Co was launched in 2009 and was created soon after I opened a lifestyle store in the small coastal town of Robe in South Australia called Holiday,” she says.
“I found there was a gap for a lifestyle fashion brand that targets not only holiday makers, but women of all ages, sizes and demographics who were desperately seeking beautiful, easy to style, easy to wear fashion at affordable prices… and that’s where the Holiday Trading & Co collective began.”
With a background in design and development primarily in the homewares arena, Hooper took the same principles of beautiful combinations of colour and fabric and moved it into lifestyle fashion. She launched her first collection in 2009 to great success. Fast track to 2017 and the company now has four fashion labels, a sought after Jewellery collection, together with accessories and homewares capsules, and available from retailers worldwide.
“Between our four labels we are stocked in over 1,000 lifestyle, fashion and homewares stores in Australia and New Zealand. From unique, one-of-a-kind boutique stores to surf stores in major tourist areas and everything in between. We want our product to be accessible to people everywhere―no matter if they’re on holiday, or at home.
“We also have a number of special stores in the UK and France and have recently expanded into the US market with a significant amount of stockists all through North and South America.”
Holiday has a very loyal following which, says Hooper, comes from the trust of many years’ experience within the retail space.
“The Holiday customer knows that our designers understand the fashion lifestyle market and the requirements of sourcing the best fabrics and designs to create the ultimate fashion staple that is unique every season.
“Holiday designs every piece of its ranges with intense attention to detail and purpose―every style can be easily styled and worn on its own, or paired back with another favourite garment from our labels. Many of our lifestyle stores focus the majority of their stock on homewares, and incorporate our easy to style clothing for add on sales in store.”
Many gift and homewares retailers have been expanding their assortment to try to boost sales such as adding fashion and accessories to their store shelves. As a result, the offering at gift fairs has significantly increased over the past few years, as wholesalers are trying to meet their demand.
“Initially I think the move towards incorporating fashion came about as the large major home-based retail stores saturated the market and made it difficult for smaller stores to compete,” explains Hooper.
“Including small fashion precincts within a homewares store added another income stream and diversification of their customer base. As retailers became more confident with garments and how they could become a complimentary sale, the growth in this area grew naturally. Now there are very few boutique only fashion businesses―almost all have a fashion and lifestyle component.”
Resort wear has become increasingly popular, taking it from the ‘beach’ to everyday wear. “People want to dress in a relaxed sense and take the structure away from the way they dress. Our ranges have certainly evolved in this way.
“Our Brave+True label contemporary women’s wear has become a very significant part of our business. Our Holiday girl continues to embrace the laidback style of this brand and the label has a very loyal following. Our Talisman brand has been embraced by a younger customer base, with a strong boho aesthetic. The colourful prints and youthful shapes are consistently popular and have a continuing presence in the market.
“However, our latest label The Shanty Corporation has developed a huge following in a short space of time. A classic resort wear range with sophisticated linens and natural fabrics with beautifully relaxed silhouettes.”
Just like certain fashion trends influence what we will see next in homewares, they also impact resort wear such as design, the use of colours and textiles.
“Obviously certain design features in garments change from season to season, and some of these trends have a very strong bearing on how we design a collection.
“The last two seasons have seen a very strong influence with sleeve and hem details and these have been a large consideration when we are designing new styles. We also have strong focused colour palettes that we incorporate each season and these change constantly together with our print development.
“I have travelled extensively the first half of this year and there is still a huge focus on romantic and exaggerated details coming through in bell sleeves, ruffles and embroidery. There’s also a continuing love affair with denim and soft muted natural palettes.”
But above all, fashion should be fun says Hooper, affordable and make you feel wonderful about yourself, every time you walk out the door.
“Our brands are designed for real women, real bodies, real lifestyles and are really attainable. We want to continue to help people feel and look amazing.”