Penny Sage is an Auckland-based label designing comfortable and functional clothes for all women using beautiful natural fabrics. We met with designer Kate Megaw to find out more about her inspiration and the success of the brand. Penny Sage was also one of the three finalists of the 2016 DHL Fashion Export Scholarship.
Tell me about yourself and the beginning of your label ‘Penny Sage’
I started creating and designing clothes when I was working part-time with Karen Walker in Auckland. During my spare time I designed my first collection in my tiny apartment overlooking the harbour under the label Penny Sage, beginning in 2013. I have come a long way from there and I now have a proper studio that I share with others talented designers.
How would you describe your label Penny Sage?
I would say Penny Sage is an independent label who is passionate about producing locally and sustainably.
I love pattern-making and thinking how clothing will be put together to form a beautiful, functional, simple and colour-driven garment. When I create clothing I always listen to what my friends and family would like to wear. I am hoping to reach a lot of different kinds of women with my range.
What are your favourite fabrics to work with and why?
I find all natural fabrics beautiful to wear and to work with. I think I have a good understanding of how they crease and age. I love working with wool and silk-crepe in winter and I use linen and cotton for my summer collection.
I try to source all the natural fabrics from New Zealand. It is a challenge to get natural fabrics locally and it can be quite an expensive and daunting process.
Where do the majority of your customers come from and why do you think Penny Sage appeals to them?
I have noticed in the last year a lot of my customers were coming from Australia, mainly from Melbourne, as well as North America.
By using natural fabrics such as silk wool and cotton, I hope my customers will keep and cherish their clothes and create a long-lasting relationship with my garments.
I like to imagine my customer as someone who is an honest and a thoughtful consumer but also someone who loves fashion and have fun in dressing up.
Having customers in so many different markets must present a number of logistical challenges. How has DHL helped you to tailor your delivery solutions to get the best results?
I have worked with my DHL account manager who is amazing and together we were able to offer Penny Sage’s customers a delivery price that is consistent and competitive. It was important for me to work with a reliable company that can deliver fast shipments to my retailers in Australia.
Did you need to design your packaging to be ‘delivery friendly’?
It is actually a work in progress. I would like something that fits in the DHL satchel but without creasing the garment. I am also really cautious about the weight limit and the shipping expenses, so I will have to come up with something clever bringing the satchel to life without compromising the customer’s experience.
As a fashion e-tailer, clothing returns need to be simple for customers. Do you have a logistics strategy to cope?
At the moment it is pretty manual, and I am currently working with DHL to review my strategy as I think online customers should be able to return their shipment for free. I also believe the whole process needs to be pretty simple and fast for the customer so I am working towards this.
What role has DHL played in helping Penny Sage achieve success?
Penny Sage is currently stocked in Australia and North America. The support from DHL creates an incredible opportunity to invest in growing these international sales. Creatively it also enables Penny Sage to build collaboratively and diversify the brand’s export potential. This is only the beginning, there is so much more we can do in our partnership to grow the brand internationally.
For more information on Penny Sage, visit her website pennysage.com