Making tracks with Australia’s mobile record shop, plus a Virginian retail renaissance.
When rising Sydney rents forced record-shop owner George Pizer to move to the Blue Mountains, 90 minutes west of the city, he looked for a new opportunity. It came in the shape of a former flower-delivery truck that he converted into Rolling Records: a shop on wheels. Pizer started turning up at festivals in 2014 – the year vinyl sales in Australia rose by 127 per cent – and now has regular spots, including Young Henrys brewery in Enmore.
The truck has turntables and a listening station powered by a rooftop solar panel, and is crammed with about 800 albums. “I’d never go back to bricks and mortar,” says Pizer.
Richmond, the capital of Virginia state, isn’t known for its retail market but it’s rapidly making its mark as a breeding ground for new brands. Need Supply Co, a clothing and lifestyle shop that has been a staple here for two decades, has led the way and its founders have seen the boom firsthand. “Richmond is part of a larger movement we’re seeing around the country, where mid-sized cities are telling a greater story,” says Gabriel Ricioppo, who co-founded the business with Chris Bossola. “I attribute a lot of this to technology and the awareness we now have about what’s new and inspiring.”
Following the success of Need Supply Co, new retailers are popping up in Richmond. One of them is Kate Jennings’s fragrance and fashion destination Na Nin; another is denim brand Shockoe Atelier. They were joined last year by the workshop of shirtmaker Ledbury, which was eager to benefit from the city’s 100-year history in the garment industry.
“Many conversations were had about why someone in a place such as Australia would care about what’s happening in Richmond,” says Ricioppo. But as more businesses settle in the city and Need Supply Co’s international sales thrive, it looks like Aussies do care – and they’re not the only ones. “All boats rise with the tide and we’re thrilled to be part of this group making products in our backyard and bringing in the best from around the world.”
Sales of business jets in China were booming three years ago but last year the fleet grew by just 4 per cent to 300 aircraft. A slowing Chinese economy and president Xi Jinping’s austerity measures, which included banning staff of state- owned enterprises from flying on business jets, caused the dip.
Jeffrey Lowe, managing director of Hong Kong-based business-aviation consulting firm Asian Sky Group, says jet manufacturers are now looking elsewhere in Asia: “There are many opportunities in Indonesia as there’s a lot of wealth.” Asian Sky Group reports that the number of business jets based in said country rose 16 per cent last year to a total of 52.
How did you start out?
I was in charge of the fabric operation in our family’s textile business and I’ve been sailing since I was six. After studying in the UK I decided to reflect my love of fabrics and the sea in a new brand.
How is your product unique?
I follow every step of production and never approve anything unless I can see myself as a buyer. We never use standard patterns in our swimshorts and we always create sharp lines; our swimwear is comfy yet fitted.
Where is the next opening?
We are opening three shops in Italy, two in London and one each in Dubai, Mykonos and St Tropez. There will be at least 30 worldwide in the next three years. We also ship to 100 countries and aim to expand into the US.
Is Turkey still a good place to do business?
Turkey still has potential. People work and spend there and it is a production destination for high-end brands. Recent events may destabilise the market for a while but Turkey will always be a great place for manufacturing textiles.
A researcher has fashioned an ethical alternative to leather, using a raw material from an unlikely source. The textile, called Piñatex, is made from the leaves left over after the Philippines’ pineapple harvest.