Grana, one of Asia’s fastest-growing e-commerce sites with $16 million in funding, is set to boost its exposure and capitalize on its momentum in America, where sales are on an upward trajectory. Across the U.S., a series of pop-up showrooms to introduce the brand’s affordably-priced luxury basics to Millennial consumers are under way.
Grana reported a 210 percent increase in U.S. sales in the second-quarter of 2017 versus the second-quarter of 2016. The brand, which last month entered Mainland China through Alibaba’s online store on Tmall, reported a whopping 800 percent increase globally in the last 12 months. The company attributed the leap in sales to “Millennials shopping online for affordable, quality basics.”
The first pop-up store will bow on Friday at 156 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The program will continue through the end of 2017, with stops in cities such as Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Austin is the first planned location in 2018.
“We’re testing the pop-up series in cities where our existing customers are based,” said Luke Grana, cofounder and chief executive officer. “We explored having a flagship in New York and decided to go with popping up instead. It makes more sense, given the high rents in New York and the fact that Grana is sustainable as an online start-up. New York is our fastest-growing city, driving sales in the U.S., which is our biggest market this year. We wanted it to be our first stop to meet customers and build our local awareness.”
While making inroads in the U.S., Grana has also expanded its global shipping capability to 50 new countries across the Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe.
Customers purchasing from Grana’s pop-up showroom in New York can have their orders delivered to their home or office within two days. “They can leave our showroom with no extra bags to carry and continue their day,” Grana said. “By having our products shipped directly from our centralized distribution center in Hong Kong to customers in the U.S., we’re able to lower our prices.”
The brand will operate the Orchard Street space for three days, showcasing top-selling styles. Consumers can shop the new fall pieces IRL for the first time, and experience the “try offline, buy online” concept to see the styles, feel the fabric and find the right fit. Customers making purchases at the pop-up will receive free standard shipping and a Grana linen tote bag.
Grana had no apparel manufacturing experienced when he visited his brother in Peru and came across the high-quality Peruvian Pima cotton. He was annoyed by the low-quality and high markups of apparel, and decided to do something about it. Grana in 2013 left his home and surfing spot in Manly, Australia and moved to Hong Kong where he met Pieter-Paul Wittgen, an investment banker, who became Grana’s cofounder.
The company started with a 500-square-foot warehouse in Hong Kong. Grana in April 2014 launched the first batch of T-shirts, which sold out to customers across three continents within a couple of weeks.
Grana said the roadmap for the business in the next year is to test new product categories, introduce more sustainable products and continue to disrupt the price of quality sustainable clothing.
“Given that our headquarters is in Hong Kong, it will remain our flagship showroom for local customers,” Grana said. “For markets such as Australia and the U.S., we’ll focus on operating 90 percent online with a minimal offline presence to introduce Millennial consumers to our brand, then bring them online.
“Being locked into long-term retail spaces, especially in the U.S., is just not sustainable for a digital startup,” Grana added. “The costs would add up with wages, rent and inventory locations. We’re going to be as diligent as possible to make sure we sustain our business growth.”