Looking through Plum’s online catalogue is an exercise in self-restraint. Their collection of kids clothing is so delightful you’ll want to buy the lot! Plum is a small Australian family run company specializing in the design and import of baby and kids wear in sizes 0000 to 7. The extensive range includes both knit and woven varieties of: rompers, hats, bibs, bodysuits, leggings, shirts, overalls, skirts and dresses as well as sleep bags. PLUM’s designs are contemporary and practical whilst the fabrics have a gorgeous vintage feel.
The company was founded in 1965 by Bob and Nell Pepper and was managed for many years by their son Rob. During the past year Rob’s son Shane Pepper and his wife Eugenie have taken the helm. This dynamic pair are determined to revitalize the brand and take the Plum concept to the world.The Peppers have given the business a major overhaul by employing a new design team, introducing new product categories and embarking on a major marketing push. Excitingly the pair have begun making inroads into the USA. However the most satisfying aspect of the business is their association with the charity SIDS and Kids. Plum’s sleep bags carry the SIDS and Kids logo and thus have their stamp of approval. Moreover Plum are tireless campaigners for the sleep safe message by sponsoring educational material and most recently a safe sleeping DVD that goes to all pediatric nurses offices & hospitals nationally.
Eugenie’s involvement with the business has been quite recent but she has become a key driver of the brand’s fresh new outlook. She is well equipped for the role having set up her own interior design business which showcased the work of upcoming furniture designers and artists. Here she honed her flair for promotions and event management, which she later formalized through a Masters of Art Administration at COFA. This skill set is perfectly matched to the rag trade. Eugenie, Mum to Thomaz (nearly 5) and Chloe (nearly 3) is a poster girl for multi tasking mothers everywhere. While wearing her marketing hat she puts out press releases, develops relationships with specialist advertisers and co-ordinates the company’s social media platform through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. She slips into event manager mode when organizing gala product launches for stockists and media as well as yummy, Mummies and Daddies. On top of all this she flexes her creative muscle by overseeing the fashion photography sessions and participating in the design process. Thomaz and Chloe get into the family act as models. Thomaz is becoming a junior Derek Zoolander. He is a “really, really, ridiculously good looking” little boy and he rocks his own version of “blue steel”.
Sales are booming despite the tough retail environment and Eugenie puts this down to the couple’s ability to stay in touch with the market. In her own words Eugenie “absolutely gets what Mums need, knows what’s important and what will work”. She is constantly turning to her own circle of friends as well social media for inspiration and feedback. The latest Spring/Summer 2012 collection represents the company’s first dip into swimwear. The new range of rashies, sun suits, trunks, one pieces and bikinis are ” a collaboration of original colourful floral prints, funky 70’s stripes, nautical influences and cute French looks – well designed fashion swimwear that is practical yet stylish and above all – fun”.
The Peppers are determined to grow the brand, by expanding the product offering to keep pace with their market. Introducing a clothing range for older kids will be the next step.Their plans to take on the world are slowly taking shape. Plum has stockists in the Philippines, Middle East and the UK and if all goes to plan, the USA will soon be added to the portfolio. Nevertheless no matter how much large the business becomes, Plum will remain firmly grounded in family values. The Peppers are committed to delivering a quality product with a high end feel but without the high end price tag. Their office is small and tight knit. The designers are mothers themselves with six kids between them. Naturally they understand that when it comes to children’s clothing functionality is just as important as style.
Eugenie is absolutely loving her new role. She enjoys how it draws upon all aspects of her talents and experience, not least being a Mum. She often reflects how fortunate she is to have this opportunity and how everything has fallen so neatly into place.
Plum Collections is stocked at David Jones, Toy R US, Baby Kingdom, Baby Bunting and a large number of smaller retailers. For more information see http://www.plumcollections.com.au or http://www.facebook.com/PlumBabywear?ref=ts