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The UK’s largest online fashion site, ASOS is reported to be shipping the equivalent of four jumbo jets worth of stock to Australia every week; a figure which demonstrates the growing market for online fashion. There are plenty of Australian sites tapping into the fashion ‘e-tailing’ trend too – The Iconic, Kaeho.com.au and f-t.com.au just to name a few.

And why wouldn’t you want to tap into the growing online retail space? If things go to plan, 27-year old Kath Purkis, says she could be looking at revenues of $7m by the end of next year, for a women’s fashion subscription website she’s planning to launch in December.

It’s an ambitious goal, that will require her to double subscriptions every month, but Purkis is someone with several years of experience in fashion and online retail. She launched one of the earlier premium online fashion sites in Australia, Le Black Book at the age of 21, and later, Noir Shop, as a platform to trial a cheaper fast-fashion label, which has become apart of her mainstay.

“I still love fashion and I love fashion buying,” says Purkis.

“Now I’m on top of the trends. I usually go to Europe once a year and look at the trends that Australian consumers will identify with.”

She’s preparing to launch herfashionbox.com in December. It’s a subscription fashion site which will see a box of fashion items delivered to your door each month. It’ll cost $49.95 a month and will feature some of the “hero products” (trend items like the gold ankle cuffs) popular on the Le Black Book site.

From what we can gather, it’s a similar model to Madeline Veenstra’s Popbasic, who we spoke to last month, although Veenstra is not calling her site a ‘subscription’ site because you can opt-in or out at any time.

Purkis wouldn’t give exact figures but says Le Black Book is doing well. She told Dynamic Business in February last year that the site was making more each month now than it did in the first year. She did tell us that the site was doing a $1,000 a day in the first few weeks, with an average order of $500.

One of her ‘pivots’ (changes she made to the business model) was a shift away from premium fashion (upwards of $500 per item), to a model where most products are under $100. That meant developing her own line of cheaper women’s fashion.

You need to be on top of what’s popular though, “Something we do, you’ll see a season or two later in some of the shops. It’s a bit funny.”

In order to develop the line, Purkis spent some time in Guangzhou, China, where she now has two factories manufacturing  products for Le Black Book. Her advice to others is that you’re better off making the trip yourself rather than using an agent to secure manufacturers.

“There are various trade networks and trade shows you can tap into. A lot of people make stupid decisions like outlaying money before you’ve even visited the factory.”

That’s in contrast to the experience of Rob Ward, co-founder of Annex Products (team behind the Kickstarter hit, a bottle-opener iPhone case), who we spoke to about how he took a product global after a very successful Kickstarter campaign.

Purkis says the home brand now accounts for 80% of sales on the site and with margins much higher on stock you produce yourself, it seems like a good move. The markups are much better too. A product that retails for $30 on the site, can cost as little as $3 to manufacture.

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