When Venroy founder Sean Venturi learned that P Diddy’s stylist had been shopping at the label’s recently opened store on the Italian island of Capri, he didn’t let himself get carried away. “It sounded too good to be true,” he says. Then, a photo of Diddy wearing one of Venroy’s silk camp collar shirts appeared in the press. Soon after, other snaps emerged of the American rapper on a boat. Still clad in Venroy.

Turns out that Venturi is as relaxed as his clothing line – up to a point. In this case, he allowed himself to get excited. “He’s such an icon; that was pretty amazing.” Taylor Swift and model Iris Law have also been photographed this year wearing the Australian label.

Venturi has had plenty of pinch-me moments since the brand launched in 2011. At the start, it was the initiative of Venturi and Theo Smallbone, conceived as a side hustle since each were new to the fashion game – Venturi was studying business at the time (Smallbone has since left the business). Working out of a home, they envisioned a Sydney take on board shorts – the first design was the Blue Moon Tile Print swim short – cutting them to a fresh, above-the-knee style. When Venturi went to the US on a holiday, the pair had a lightbulb moment, realising that year-round sales were needed for the brand to grow. Venturi moved to Los Angeles, and within six months of the Sydney launch, Venroy was available in influential US retailers including Fred Segal, Ron Herman and Kitson.

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In 2015, the brand changed tack, deciding to sell direct to the consumer, removing its product from 200 retailers. Venroy’s first pop-up store, a small 23-square-metre space in Bondi, provided a steep learning curve for Venturi. “I didn’t have much of an idea; I’d never worked in retail before.”

“It was the first time that I’d experienced customers interacting with the product, and we had such a strong first day of sales, as well as overwhelmingly positive and beautiful feedback. I remember sitting there at the end of that day, thinking, ‘Why did it take five years to do this?’”

Since then, the brand has flourished – annually selling hundreds of thousands of garments – and expanded to men’s and women’s wear collections. The clothes are relaxed, sometimes playful, always comfortable and holiday-ready.

Alongside linen separates and suits (90 per cent of Venroy’s range is made from the fabric), you’ll find organic cotton tees, chic cashmere knits and colourful caps.

In 2016, Venroy began working with a dedicated factory in Guangzhou, China, that “works with us and only us”, the brand says on its website. Eighty per cent of Venroy’s product is manufactured there, and for Venturi this means tight oversight of quality, working conditions and sustainability practices, including waste reduction and recycling.

As part of its sustainability focus, Venroy minimises seasonal collections to just 20 per cent of its offering – the seasonless core line makes up 80 per cent of the range you’ll find in-store.

Until July, those stores had all been in Australia (in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) but Venroy’s latest offering on Capri was “a pull-of-the-heart decision,” Venturi says, born from a goal “to encapsulate that incredible mood and feeling that we all experience when we are on holidays”.

“I made the decision without building a business case for it first, without even trying to run the numbers. It just felt right,” he says. Capri felt like the “ultimate holiday destination,” and he had been trying to secure a space there for several years. When a prime spot opened up, he pounced. Already the store opening has accelerated sales across Europe, Venturi says.

His description of the island – as famous for its natural beauty as the celebrity-owned yachts that populate its turquoise waters – is poetic, as he conjures up images of bougainvillea, small villas, the charge and energy, and Jackie Onassis. Artwork for the store was sourced from nearby Naples, while a boat builder was enlisted for some of the fittings, all to create a store that is a destination in itself.

All Venroy stores – designed by Venroy’s in-house architect Sarah l’Anson, in collaboration with Venturi – capture the feeling of a getaway.

“There’s this sixth sense thing where you can walk into a store, and even if the product is really good, if it’s missing that personality or feeling, it feels … mechanical, without any soul,” Venturi says. Venroy, in contrast, tries to transport its customers elsewhere, from the moment they step inside one of its eight stores.

“What we’re trying to achieve is this escapism opportunity for people – [they] are able to pick up a garment that we designed, that is perfect for wearing in Capri. Maybe they’re not doing something as glamorous as going down for a swim to Marina Piccola – they’re going to the pub on a Sunday for a beer with their friends – but having that nice little moment in everyday life is really special.”

While the brand is always transforming (staff now numbers 65 across its stores and headquarters), 34-year-old Venturi says he’s not driven by growth alone.

“Money is not the primary objective. It’s more about having fun and doing things that make me feel so lucky. We’re not trying to hit these huge targets – it’s more about what feels right at the time.

“We really try to stick to our own lane and not be affected by trends. Our collections are inspired by a location … At every shoot, we’ll seek out local models, production and creative teams so that everything feels authentic, as opposed to just putting our name on [our perception] of the destination.”

This month, Venroy opened its first stores in Byron Bay and Perth, but Venturi’s still eyeing greater expansion in Italy. “Because of my Italian heritage [his family hails from Brescia], Italy is such an incredible source of inspiration.”

venroy.com.au