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What's in a name?

— Global


Be it a small but growing swimwear firm from Thailand or a traditional tannery in Sweden, all successful brands have a story to tell. Here we profile five companies with a variety of backgrounds but one thing in common: initiative.

45rpm, Böle, Caruso, Han, Timo Trunks

01. Han


Khim Hang launched his clothing label Han last August. One year and AU$130,000 (€87,700) in sales later, the label has impressed contemporaries with its considered business approach and is attracting global buying attention to men’s and women’s garments with clean lines and understated detailing.

Han’s small team operates from a studio in Brisbane’s quiet south side and a showroom in Sydney; local manufacturers fulfil orders to around 30 high-end Australian boutiques. Looking at au$100,000 (€67,500) of wholesale turnover for the new autumn/winter collection, Hang puts his business’s rapid ascent down to a meticulously managed brand-awareness strategy. “We’ve clearly defined who the Han label speaks to and we serve that message to retailers on a platter, so they get it and they buy it,” he says.

By attracting industry veterans to help guide major brand decisions Han has avoided many pitfalls that can hinder a resource-lean start-up. Hang cites another major inspiration as his father, who fled the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia and later became a property developer in Brisbane. These roots will play a key role when production moves from Australia to Cambodia as orders increase.

“Despite paying twice the minimum wage we will be able to halve our production costs,” Hang says. “I want to do it right and in a small way help rebuild the economy over there and really legitimise ‘Made in Cambodia’.”

Why it works

Plenty of know-how
Mentorship is an integral part of Han’s business decisions. “Some things only experience can teach,” says Hang.
Home truths
Having started up in his native Australia, keeping manufacturing onshore, Hang is considering expanding production to his father’s homeland, Cambodia.
Positive approach
Despite growth in womenswear, Han braves a sterile local menswear market to maximise brand visibility. It would be good to see Hang keep some of his production in Australia to help stimulate the sector.


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