How mates made $1m in a year
When Sydney friends Jane Da Silva and Peta Wessell decided to start a business, they never expected to create one of Australia's most popular handbag brands in just over a year.
But that's exactly what the Sydney mums did after launching Peta and Jain in July 2017.
Less than 18 months on, Peta and Jain is now the top-selling handbag brand on The Iconic, one of Australia's leading online fashion retailers.
And they've also turned over more than $1 million in sales in one year alone, with ambitious plans to double that turnover in the business's second year.
They told news.com.au Peta and Jain specialised in handbags, clutches, wallets, backpacks and weekenders which all bear the brand's distinctive gold cross.
They said some of the reasons behind the brand's success are its focus on affordability and style as well as the use of ethical, vegan leather.
It also helps that Ms Wessell worked in handbags for more than 15 years while Ms Da Silva had a 20-year career in footwear before launching Peta and Jain, which was originally run out of Ms Da Silva's garage.
But in just three months the company had outgrown the space, forcing the entrepreneurs to move into an office and warehouse in south Sydney.
But now the business has once again outgrown the space as the popularity of the brand continues to explode.
"We have to pinch ourselves sometimes because it hasn't been that long," Ms Wessell said.
"For us affordability is the big thing as well as that ethical selling point.
"The fashion industry is turning over new products and new looks every month and people do want to keep up with the trends but don't always want products costing thousands of dollars - they want products that cost a couple hundred dollars that they can turn over more often."
"We are at the fast fashion end and most of our pieces are under $99. The emphasis is on using good polyurethane (PU) that don't have nasty chemicals in them and they really last the distance. We use really good hardware too so even though a bag might be $69.95, it's not a cheap throwaway item," Ms Da Silva said.
"One reason why we've done so well is because a lot of places offer cheap pieces, but even though we're at the lower end, we still take pride in all our materials and everything we use.
"We want people to be proud to wear the brand."
The pair said apart from increasing sales, they were also now focused on growing the brand's visibility both in Australia and overseas, with customers in the US and Canada now firmly in their sights for 2019.
They said they didn't expect the company to have grown as quickly as it had, crediting Peta and Jain's incredibly fast growth to social media and influencers.
"I thought it would be a bit slower than what it has been but Instagram and Facebook have really helped with growth, and most of our customers come from those big online retailers," Ms Da Silva said.
"It's been hard to keep up - it has really exploded," Ms Wessell said.
Peta and Jain's biggest sellers are the Zoe ($79.95), Gracie ($69.95) and Ava ($69.95) bags, with sales skyrocketing around festival time and special occasions, with some styles attracting long waiting lists.