Just hours after forking out $2.2 million to buy back the 30-per-cent stake in her company sold to Oroton a year earlier, Alyce Tran – the 32-year-old co-founder of Australian accessories label The Daily Edited – hasn’t quite processed the magnitude of the transaction.
“We’re in Mother’s Day mode. All we care about is reaching customers in time for Sunday,” she tells Broadsheet. “We haven’t had a chance to reflect on it.”
The label, which specialises is monogram-leather goods, has come full circle.
In March 2017, Tran and her business partner Tania Liu sold a sizeable chunk of The Daily Edited to Oroton for $4.5 million, just months before the luxury-accessories label went into voluntary administration, after years of slumping sales and a recorded $14.2 million loss last year.
Yesterday, the 30-per-cent business share was back into the hands its original owners, along $2.3 million in profit.
“I will always admire the Oroton brand, they’ve been making really decent handbags for the last 80 years,” says Tran. “For me to have Oroton approach us wanting to partner with us and help us grow out the business, we were generally very excited and very optimistic about what that would look like for [us].”
Welcoming external buyers doesn’t always work out so favourably for once independent Australian designers. In 2011, local label Willow sold a majority stake to the Apparel Group, only for its founder, designer Kit Willow Podgornik, to be pushed out just two years later.
But while Tran and Liu have once again assumed full ownership over their label, they’re not ruling out working with external investors again in the future. Tran says interested parties proposition them weekly.
“I don’t know where my next sale is going to come from … there are so many layers of uncertainty in doing this kind of work,” she says. “We’re still small fish excited to speak to people [about opportunities].”
The Daily Edit’s footprint in Australia spans three standalone stores in Melbourne’s Chadstone and Eastland shopping centres and Westfield Sydney, as well as being stocked in David Jones stores across the country. There’s now also a New York outpost on Bleecker Street, and the label has partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue, too.
Tran says working with Oroton made good business sense and taught her a lot about the fashion industry.
“A lot of people know my background is not being an expert in retail or manufacturing leather accessories,” she says. “It was good to see how a similar business operates; how they sort out their stores.”
And while big decisions always went through the guys at the top, she never felt a loss of independence.
“It was a minority stake, so it wasn’t like they had day-to-day contact with me or anything … they were very supportive.
“We’re really grateful for having gone through the process.”
The Daily Edited’s US expansion has been great for its bottom line, easily generating the millions needed for the buy back – an impressive feat given the challenges facing many brick-and-mortar retail ventures worldwide.
“We have been growing so much, from last year to this year month-on-month,” says Tran. “We’re just excited to have every option open to us and continue to make really cool things that people want.
“We’re comfortable with what we’ve established. Physical retail is tracking well for us. Now, we want to consolidate and grow the online business, pushing how far we can take that domestically.”
And how is Oroton coping with this most recent loss? Well, major shareholder Will Vicars reportedly bought it for $25 million, and just last month American actress Meghan Markle attended a Commonwealth function wearing one of its bags.