Iconic bag brand, Crumpler, was brought to life in Melbourne in 1995 by David Roper with the original postie bag taking trend among Australian commuters.

Adam Wilkinson, who has been CEO since 2017, has worked with Crumpler’s creative team to expand its offering to include luggage and small travel accessories, and has taken the brand internationally to Asia. The most recent commercial feat was being named the official travel luggage supplier for the 2020 Australian Olympic team which has been postponed due to COVID-19.

As the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary, Wilkinson has reflected on the brand’s unique story and how it has achieved growth while other bricks and mortar stores have struggled.

So how has Crumpler managed to grow successfully and maintain its loyal customers through the digital transformation of retail and a global pandemic? Retailbiz spoke to Wilkinson to learn more about the brand’s history and expectations for the future.

How would you describe the journey from establishment to today for Crumpler?

In the early days Crumpler stood out from the pack – quite literally – through the strong, vibrant colours of our bags and the irreverent, rebellious spirit of our marketing. As times have changed, we have seen the brand evolve and grow. The brand is now globally recognised with retail and online stores internationally, we have expanded the product offer and cater to a wider audience. In the last three years, we have seen significant growth with our female customer base.

What has been the key to your success?

I believe our success can be attributed to the fact that the brand has stayed true to its original creative spirit and mission: to provide our customers with clever, functional designs that also look great . We pride ourselves on the quality and robustness of our bags and do not waver from this. We have many long-term, loyal customers a result of this approach.

How has consumer spending behaviour changed, particularly during the pandemic, and how has Crumpler responded to this?

Like many retailers we have seen a significant shift to online shopping through the pandemic. As a result, we ran a number of targeted promotional offers to our database during this period that were well received. In particular, our recently launched Singapore online store saw some strong results. Last month, we celebrated the brands 25 year birthday with an exclusive product range predominately sold online.

What are your expectations for the future of retail?

I believe bricks and mortar in Australian retail with be tough, although I am a little more optimistic with our Asian based stores. Online growth is obviously the key to ongoing success for many brands, both in owned e-commerce channels and online marketplaces.

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