“Move fast, break shit”: Why LSKD is moving into retail at a rapid pace
Australian-owned and operated sportswear brand LSKD is opening its third retail space this year, as part of a plan to expand its retail presence before peak period. The 150sqm Westfield Chermside store – which has a custom-front design – is set to open on 3 December, and follows the opening of its Chadstone store, which had 20,000 customers walk through the doors when it launched in October. It follows the brand’s first store, which opened at its headquarters in Loganholme, Queenslan
ensland, in January, and is part of a plan to open five stores across all major Australian cities – as well as a shop in New Zealand – over the next 12 months.
LSKD founder and chief executive Jason Daniel tells Inside Retail that the brand’s core value is to move fast and break shit.
The business – which started as a wholesaler before transitioning to e-commerce in 2019 – achieved $50 million in sales over the last financial year, with Daniel explaining that it was in a position to utilise that growth, and grow its retail presence.
He says that the brand was motivated by its successful transition in e-commerce which, like physical retail, was uncharted waters for the brand before it started.
“It was purely going back to our values. We were in a position where we could invest in the long term, as well as our community,” he said.
Daniel adds that the Chadstone launch was so successful in part because of its tights and shorts swap.
The first 300 females and 300 males to enter the store were able to swap their shorts and tights with an LSKD model. It then worked with charity partner, Upparel, to donate the products that were handed in.
He said the initiative created a lot of energy and excitement over the shop launch, which saw lines forming from 5:30am on opening day.
“The best thing about retail is we can really connect and build community with customers,” he said.
“We’ll have two stores leading into this Black Friday, and three leading into Christmas.
“This time last year, we didn’t have any, so it’s really exciting.”
Daniel started the business, then called Loose Kid Industries, in 2002, when he was in high school. Its origin dates back to his nickname, as he would give everything a go on a BMX bike. He had ambitions of becoming a professional motocross athlete, before becoming a carpenter and building houses while working on the business.
In 2010, LKI became a full time job for Daniel. It produced a range of wholesale products, including life jackets, motocross gloves and socks and a bit of sportswear. It sold these products to retailers, including City Beach, which had over 66 stores across Australia.
In 2018, the business transitioned to LSKD, with Daniel explaining that it found its mission, which was inspiring people to ‘chase the vibe’ through sports, fitness and adventure. The brand pivoted to sportswear with a street aesthetic.
“I’m 35 now, and it was a 15-year learning experience that I was lucky to go through. We refined our products, and were very passionate about developing the best fabric in the world for our community, as well as the everyday athlete,” he said.
Daniel adds that the brand moved away from wholesale after launching its rep tights in July 2019, which was its best-selling product.
The product took over 18 months to develop with the wants of its customers – rather than other retailers – in mind.
When we closed our wholesale business down, we really just wanted to focus on our brand message and our customers,” he said.
“If we could really focus on them [we could] build something for the next 50-plus years.”
Beyond plans to expand across the country and grow its New Zealand presence, LSKD is developing a United States team, and has recruited 175 new team members for its fulfilment centre to prepare for peak period. Daniel said it’s part of the brand’s growth plans, which is on track to grow another 50 per cent this year.
This growth is partly tied to the brand’s product development – in order to create the best sportswear in the world – as well as its values, which includes an emphasis on sustainability, as well as work with charity partners.
Its Project Earth initiative involves in-house commitments to reduce printing and paper by 20 per cent each year, as well as a focus on reusable and biodegradable packaging. Daniel says that he has used the brand’s ziplock packaging as a lunch esky, travel bag and gym bag.
It also works with charity partners such as the Cystic Fibrosis Queensland, Wear It Purple and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It raised $70,000 for the NBCF last month, and has ongoing products where 5 per cent of sales are donated.
They also have an in-house give-back crew, formed by its CFO, which allows the team to support local communities and organisations.
Daniel says that it provides an opportunity for team members to support organisations that they care deeply about.
“There’s more that’s happening in this space that we’re going to share more of, because it can inspire other brands and our community [in terms of] how they can give back as well,” he said.
“Learned more from the mistakes I’ve made”
Working on LSKD since he was a teenager, and being in the role full-time since 2010, Daniel says the biggest learning moments have come through mistakes, which have helped to build the brand’s identity.
“If we had this growth 10 years ago, I don’t know how I would’ve handled it, because I was so young, and I’m not sure I was in the right frame of mind to learn from those mistakes,” he said.
“Our business was much smaller for many years, and as much as you want it to grow quickly, sometimes it doesn’t. Then we started to figure out that creating something bigger than ourselves – and standing for something more than just selling a product – was so important.”
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