An Evening With Bellroy Co- founder Andy Fallshaw

We started Conversations of Commerce and Brand to learn how great businesses are building global brands, using technology in marketing, warehousing, retail and online to drive sales. Hear first hand the path they’ve trod to execute retail at a higher level. It’s not ecommerce, omni channel retail or new retail. It’s just commerce.

#001 – An Evening with Bellroy co-founder Andy Fallshaw

Last Wednesday night we kicked off the first of our events interviewing Andy Fallshaw co-founder of Melbourne wallet brand Bellroy – a fabulous success whose name is a mashup of the towns it was born in, Bells Beach and Fitzroy. We had a couple of technical dramas on the evening (wouldn’t be an opening night without some), our video guy couldn’t make it so a huge thanks to Nicole Matejic & her GoPro for helping us out at short notice on the night.

The room was full of ecommerce stalwarts like Nathan Huppatz from the guys from video production house Purple Monkey & SEO experts Smith Bros Media. 70 guests were at the Honey Bar in South Melbourne to hear how from kitchen table beginnings Bellroy has grown into a wallet brand of 50 staff and 500 retail outlets globally and become a great example of new retail blending design, brand, social commerce, merchandising and online.

Moving into new offices in Jan Juc and Fitzroy, it’s a business on the rise. Andy with a background in high end furniture design in London to running Rip Curl’s global accessories division started Bellroy in 2010 with a group of friends. It was originally going to be a bag brand then changed direction after some friendly advice.

Bellroy Andy Fallshaw

Originally Andy started a website called Carryology in part to promote all things ‘carry’ that began in 2009 before Bellroy in 2010. Carryology is now the world’s best bag & wallet review site that has becoming a meeting place for designers & users alike. If Carryology was an accountant it would have been shut down.

Andy shared:

  • how Bellroy initially designed wallets their friends would like & customer personas grew from there.
  • his  view on IP and how he thinks it can hold brands back.
  • how Bellroy outsource everything from sales, warehousing & fulfilment but not design & digital.
  • their strategy on packaging & how it’s gone from being a hidden surprise to getting global design blog attention.
  • the process of choosing both online & offline retailers & the merchandising starter packs they receive.
  • how friends & family still make POS, some of it from wooden posts!
  • Merchandise inspirations initially came from brands like Stance Socks
  • why he thinks they are only doing 15% of what they could be in social commerce.
  • his views on content for differentiation for the various social platforms.
  • that they are desperate to hire talented stars in the digital design and website development areas.
  • how and where Scott from Bellroy decides to allocate budget for online marketing & retargeting.
  • how they’ve made the mesmerising product videos & why the bar gets higher with each product launch. Check out the simple but brilliant snow flakes video. It exemplifies the Bellroy ‘get more from less’ approach.
  • his thoughts on Bellroy being a brand led business.
  • why they have an ex pro surfer as a globe trotting brand manager, who is the Bellroy compass.
  • why their videos & images don’t show a lot of head shots.
  • his views on being great at one thing in retailing is no longer enough & why startups fail.

You’ll also learn why they have an owl for a mascot and the question gets raised … does George Constanza have a Bellroy in his trousers.

Whilst the video quality made not be Hollywood, the content is primo. Listen to the full event on Soundcloud below.

Andy had a couple of surprise international guests in town for the event, the founders of booming pure-play ecommerce success story our of San Francisco Huckberry – stockists of Bellroy. Rich & Andy held court at the bar answering questions on how they’ve build their menswear powerhouse. If you don’t know the Huckberry story check out this Quora post and sign up to their newsletter. Andy who writes their emailers is a simply brilliant copywriter.

In Q & A from the floor.

Phil Leahy of PESA conference asked where they get their traffic: Facebook / Google & direct. Chris Peters from Annex Products asked the breakdown of wholesale to online sales for Bellroy. Turns out both guys were also customers of the brand. A big thanks to Andy, Scott and Jimmy from Bellroy for being so generous with their time and stories and hanging around to field questions over a beer off mic at the bar.

Here are the tweet streams 1 & 2 and comments from the night. Dean Jacobson won the door prize on the night….you guessed it a Bellroy wallet & some other goodness. Here’s a little video Dean made that shows off the packaging of his new wallet.

Random links:

Growth Mindset book by  Carol Dweck  Ando mentions re hiring employees. Want to work at Bellroy? Better watch this first. Big thanks to Steve Vallas my fellow bloke and Honey Bar owner for hosting us.

Missed this event? Shame on you!

To get advanced warning of our next event, join us here.
The format is simple: our events are free, open to anyone with an interest in commerce and brand. 40 mins of interviewing our guest then 20 mins of Q & A from the audience. We chose small intimate venues with limited numbers, RSVPs are required.

Our next event will feature the team from Frank Body Scrub. Put Tues 29th of Oct @ the Honey Bar in your diary. Details to follow.
And yes sound and especially lighting will all be sorted for the next event and we are planning to turn the events into an video series.


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