As a luxury menswear brand, Christian Kimber designs high-quality items for the discerning male under his eponymous fashion label. Since launching in 2012, the brand has developed a loyal following the world over from males looking for attainable yet beautifully designed shoes, accessories and clothing. Here, Christian explains how he got started and the role strategic international logistics has played in his success.
There is something remarkably about artisanal crafted objects and I love the attention to detail that can be embedded into items such as shoes and accessories. I’m from England and was trained in London and around Savile Row, which is world-renowned for quality bespoke tailoring for men. This is my foundation, classical menswear, and I have brought that forward into casual menswear.
However when I came to Melbourne, with the idea in mind to design my own collection, I noticed a gap in the local menswear scene but a demand from local gents looking for stylish yet functional footwear. This provided me with the perfect opportunity to establish my vision, and Christian Kimber the label was born!
2. Christian Kimber is now a global eCommerce brand shipping to all corners of the globe. But how did the company get started?
The brand started small in 2012, producing around 100 pairs of shoes in two styles. The feedback from my friends was incredibly positive and word has just got around slowly. I established a social media presence which has really helped me to build a following online – and from there we just grew and grew.
I am particularly proud that my shoes are sold in some of the best stores in the world – Barneys, Bloomingdales and Harrolds in Australia – but I’m so busy so it’s hard to stop and enjoy it when there is so much to do!
3. You mention that Savile Row in England provided a lot of inspiration. How have you adapted the traditional British style to be relevant to modern customers?
Our style aims to blend British, Italian and Australian influences, but I guess it translated to become trans-national.
My key inspirations come from places and architecture mostly. First and foremost, we want customers to feel proud to wear our products.
4. How has the brand evolved?
As our popularity has grown, we have developed our offering organically by adding accessories and clothing to our range of footwear. However we have stayed focused on our initial vision of producing accessible yet beautifully designed, high-quality menswear.
To me, innovation can be as simple as bringing two pre-existing, successful concepts together to provide a new perspective. I aim to blend the best experiences and ideas to produce quality items that might make people think a bit differently about how to wear them. I think of the Christian Kimber brand as a journey that will only continue to evolve and grow – much in the same way that I do.
Our social media and online presence has enabled me to build a global following of men who appreciate high-quality fashion. Our most popular locations currently include New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and Stockholm – but if DHL can get there, we’ll ship there! We are increasingly seeing orders come in from new and varied locations, which is really crazy. Taiwan, Hungary, Singapore, Japan, China… it is really exciting.
When I look at volumes, the US is definitely our biggest market for international shipping. I think we have delivered to nearly every state so far, although we’re still waiting for Alaska to catch on.
6. Where do you manufacture your goods?
While the designs are conceived in Australia, we mostly produce our products in Italy. Spain also supplies material and our classic footwear.
7. Your shoes cater to a high-end buyer. Have there been any particular delivery considerations to ensure your entire customer experience lives up to a high standard?
I want a service that is reliable and personal, which is incredibly important for us. It’s not unusual for us to get an order from a customer in New York who needs shoes for an event on Friday. If they buy something online on Tuesday, we need to be assured that they will receive the goods on time, via a method that is tractable and reliable. DHL Express offers this to us.
8. Did you need to adapt your packaging to be ‘delivery friendly’?
Buying an item online needs to offer the same level of refinement that you’d have if you walked out of our store. We sell high quality goods, so our packaging needs to replicate that same quality.
Our packaging is designed to give our clients a certain feeling when they open the box and reveal. We’ve specially designed the boxes to have magnets in them, so the opening effect is magnificent.
However often our goods need to travel on three flights to get to the buyer, so it’s especially important that they aren’t crushed or damaged in-transit! We rely on DHL to ensure that what we send from Melbourne reflects what our customer on the other side of the world will receive.
9. As a shoe e-tailer, are returns something that you’ve had to put a lot of thought into?
Returns are something we are constantly working on. It goes back to offering customers with the best possible service – and this has to be the case if they’ve bought the wrong size or they simply change their mind.
We offer free exchanges so have been trying to provide an easy solution to get the goods back to us – and the new return receipt option that we’ve put in place helps.
We appreciate that the stress of shipping can be the hardest part of buying items online, especially when you’re buying luxury items. So we try to minimise this as much as possible so that the biggest worry our customers have is what colour to choose! I often give free shipping, just because.
DHL has literally made it possible for people around the world to get my kicks in a timely manner. This is a massive factor that contributes to our success, and we use DHL every day.
For more information or to view Christian Kimber designs,
please visit christiankimber.com