AMANDA’S AUSSIE EXPORTS

Byline: Patty Huntington

Fun, flexibility and affordability drive Amanda Briskin’s creative fluids.
The 30-year-old Melburnian built up Mimco, her accessories company that has a wholesale business volume in excess of $2.5 million, based on those three tenets. And now, she’s is ready to take the Melboune-based firm global.
Kicking off her company in 1996 with six brightly striped PVC totes, Mimco today offers 300 stockkeeping units. Handbags, small leather accessories, synthetic beauty cases and toiletry bags account for 60 to 70 percent of the business, while hair accessories make up the balance. Jewelry is being launched for spring 2002.
“We don’t want to put our eggs in one basket, and we think that’s in part what’s working for us at the moment,” said Briskin. “There’s not one thing that’s making or breaking [us].”
One of the line’s bestsellers is a clever “Lucy” shopper, a printed polyester tote with silk trim that folds into a purse-sized wallet, available in either vinyl or denim. Another popular item is a soft, slouch leather “Mim” bag with T-gusset and movable collar.
In Australia, Mimco wholesales to 200 outlets. In November, Briskin will open the first standalone Mimco store here, a 1,076-square-foot flagship on the trendy Melbourne retail strip Chapel Street. Depending on its success, the company plans to roll out up to 10 more stores in Australia over the next five years.
Briskin predicts exports, which already make up for 40 percent of the business, will account for 50 percent of her business by Christmas. She is currently scouting for London retail locations, where Mimco is already being sold at stores, including Selfridges and Urban Outfitters.
Mimco now boasts 150 U.S. wholesale accounts, including Barneys New York, Fred Segal, Nordstrom, Henri Bendel, Verve, Kitson, Bliss Spa and Sephora, that latter of which is carrying an exclusive range of Mimco hair accessories.
Prices range from $10 for a box of colored “Chillpins” hairpins in metallic caddy to $400 for an oversized vintage-look leather “Doc” bag that has been a best-seller in the U.S. for the past two seasons. For spring 2002, Briskin is offering an Italian napa leather range, smocked denim story and the “Stripes” vinyl tote story — another U.S. bestseller — in a matte-toned canvas with a bamboo panda print.
At lightning speed, she has also just turned around a “Stars and Stripes” collection of hair accessories for the U.S., which was delivered on Oct. 22. Five percent of proceeds go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
“There is a teen audience, but Mimco positions itself very much in terms of the mind-set of the person buying it,” said Briskin. “It’s about wanting something different, unique and fun and not necessarily needing something that has got a massive label to give you an identity.”

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