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When Andrew Fallshaw created Australian accessories brand Bellroy in 2010, alongside his three co-founders, he hoped that, beyond designing incredible products, the brand would connect like-minded consumers through community.
Now 12-year-old Bellroy has grown to become a $300 million brand — an impressive growth trajectory from a company that was valued at $83 million just three years ago. Currently, Bellroy sells 82 products across several categories, including wallets, bags and accessories, on its website.
One of the biggest credits to Bellroy’s success has been the team’s ability to create clear boundaries for the brand. You won’t see Bellroy coming out with a fragrance or foraying into areas that Fallshaw considers outside of the “carry scope.”
“In 2010, we launched our first product, which was five slim wallets. … We re-engineered the wallet from the ground up … They took off [and] they found incredible resonance. That notion of slim wallets, which hadn’t really been a focus before then for brands, grabbed hold,” Fallshaw shared on the latest episode of the Glossy Podcast. “We had a few years of rocketship growth, but our intention was always to fill into the carry space and help people with how they organize their things and move through the world.”
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Staying true to the brand’s ethos
“With Bellroy, we focus on ‘carry products’ that we have genuine insight about. We give a different experience: We unite utility and joy into one piece. That was the mission from a product and category perspective. The other part of it is that we’ve always wanted to add value to the world. Bellroy has had a very strong mission [focused] on giving back, having impact [and] changing the space.”
The importance of a strong online community
“We planted the seed [through our online platform, Carryology], and then it grew from there. … We realized there was [an] opportunity for all the sort of bag and carry geeks out there to come together and learn better ways learn from each other [and] build community. There are events and there are collaboration products, where we work with the great brands of the world to do elevated, unique pieces that sell out in about a minute. [These opportunities] allow brands to dive deep and do elevated versions of products that they might normally be scared to go for. … There’s a lot of trading and there’s a really strong secondhand market that happens through [the community]; instead of trying to sell a really sophisticated carry piece on eBay, now you get to sell it to an audience that appreciates it. The [audience] knows all the styles and models, so it keeps resale values much higher, and that encourages folks to experiment more … it’s a fascinating area. It also helps brands reach in and get incredible feedback.”
The pandemic’s impact on an ominchannel strategy
“From day one, [Bellroy] wanted to be an omnichannel brand. We always wanted to be where the customer felt most comfortable transacting with us and engaging with us. We were selling online. It wasn’t that common back in 2010 to have a proper website that properly went into videos and images and described things. But we were also in our favorite retailers around the world. … Our own direct business has always been the major chunk of our business. We saw those percentages increase [during the pandemic] a little, but not that much. For us, the strongest growth we found was selling through premium marketplaces around the world. … We saw those marketplaces strengthen and grow [our business] fairly significantly. That wholesale base for us has always been important. It perhaps shifted a little more to e-commerce rather than pure brick and mortar [when Covid hit], but it’s coming back. Now, it’s strong, and folks like [buying products] in-store.”