Setting the style agenda in New Zealand for the last 18 years, Superette co-founders Rickie Dee and James Rigden are true innovators in the retail game. Always one step ahead, the duo were in their early twenties when they began the business, however are constantly adapting to keep the brand fresh and relevant.
Starting in 2002, the brand was built behind the idea of collecting loved pieces from around the world and selling them in an industrial space, complete with cafe, in Auckland’s Freemans Bay. Since then, Superette has developed six physical stores and is recognised as one of Australasia’s leading online style destinations.
Dee says herself and Rigden have worked around the clock to bring their dream to life and have grown the business slowly but steadily over the last 18 years.
“It’s so important for us to keep adapting and changing. We are always looking at what we can offer our customers, how our brand mix is looking and how our spaces are functioning. From there we are constantly tweaking and researching to look at what’s next for Superette,” says Dee.
Building a brand as successful as Superette doesn’t come easy. At the beginning of the business, Dee and Rigden were pulling out all the stops to turn their dream into a reality. Although now thriving and supported by a large team, the duo still helps out with everything from unpacking a big delivery in a warehouse to getting out on the shop floor.
“You have to be willing to do every single job and get your hands dirty. Our belief is that if you’re not willing to do it, then you can’t expect someone else to do it,” says Dee.
Innovation also comes with its handful of challenges, both big and small, which Dee says is the driving force for the Superette team. She says it is their role to find a solution to the problem, create new opportunities for the brand and then build on it.
During Level four of the nationwide lockdown, the retail sector was heavily impacted. For Dee and Rigden it was important to stay positive and adapt to the current environment and although customers were unable to physically shop, Dee says they still received messages of support.
Always one step ahead of the game, in Level 3, the two introduced a new concept called ‘Superette Takeaways’ which provided customers at home with different ways to shop. The concept included a direct to door online delivery service, a call and collect option allowing customers to contactless pickup, and a new tour the store service, where customers could video call any store via Instagram to get expert advice on the store’s offerings.
“It was a project that was so relevant during the lockdown but is also one that opened our eyes to new ways of shopping and we have seen how much our customers loved it so have continued to offer the service even though our stores are back open.”
Since coming out of lockdown, Superette has also landed itself a place as one of the hero retailers in Auckland’s newest shopping and dining precinct, Commercial Bay. The latest bricks and mortar showcases a different look to the interior of other stores, however still features all the Superette brands that customers know and love.
“The store is an incredible backdrop for our amazing products and allows our customers to play with the product and have a bit of fun.
“Commercial Bay has just an amazing community feel to it, we are all doing our own things but we are all doing it together. There is so much variety both within our own store and within the precinct that there truly is something for everyone.”
Dee says it is a really exciting time for retail in New Zealand, with precincts such as Commerical Bay elevating the mall environment approach and putting New Zealand on the world map for retail. For Superette, the team aims to take a few months in order to fine-tune and tweak systems to be able to move with the current post-COVID landscape.
“Hey we love a good challenge,” says Dee.