VAANYARD are a client of Imagine Accounting and work closely with Beryl Lu – Senior Client Manager. We spoke with Paul Gilligan – Brand Director who shared how the last 3 months have impacted his business.

What does Vaanyard do?

VAANYARD is an premium fashion eyewear brand. We design, manufacture and distribute our own high-end sunglasses and optical frames.

How did you get involved in the eyewear industry?

My background is sales and product development within fashion, but I’ve had always had a love of fashion eyewear. My partner is an Architect & Graphic Designer whose family has a background in optical practices overseas. We combined our experience and understanding of the market into the development of VAANAYRD.

Describe your typical working day?

This varies greatly from day to day. On any given day we will be reviewing designs, planning and refining the details of our marketing plans, working on logistical outcomes, dealing with our manufacturing partners and always focused on our sales channels.

As a brand we are heavily focused on a particular design aesthetic and how we relate to our customers. This means that the one consistent part of our ‘typical’ day would be time spent reviewing and aligning all of brand messages, from imagery to social media content and of course the product we bring to market. We have relatively long lead times with our production (it’s not unusual for us to spend 18 months on a design from concept to delivery of actual production).

A mentor of ours once told us that fashion is 90% problem solving and 10% glamour. This maxim probably relates to almost all businesses. It’s the unplanned items that seem be the most varied part of our day to day operations, and we try hard to learn from each of these.

How do you attract customers?

We’ve had some success with the usual social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn). Recently we’ve started to work with several Eyewear forums/magazines/journals, as they offer us a more targeted reader. But to be honest, nothing really beats having product placed in retail stores. Our customers want to try the frames on and this offers the most tangible ROI for us thus far as we get to combine our energies with the retailer for a mutual benefit.

Has COVID-19 impacted your business?

COVID-19 has meant that many of our long-term plans have been turned upside down, so we are finding that we are now a lot more reactive to the current ‘climate’ and adapting our initial plans around this.

This has changed the dynamic of our typical day to day operations. We’ve seen our ability to attract new business internationally significantly affected.

This has obviously affected cash flow, at least when we compare our forecasts pre-COVID-19. It certainly offers the opportunity to stress test our business and hopefully emerge from things in a robust way.

We work hard to bring our retail account base something special that also offers them a strong business outcome. COVID-19 has really proven the importance of working positively and flexibly for an outcome that keeps both ourselves and our retail partners trading profitably.

In the next 12 months what do you see as the major challenges facing a small business?

A shrinking customer base and the threat of a significant reduction in consumer spending.

What advice would you give a small business owner?

Number 1 is to be positive in your outlook but plan and budget for some significant challenges.

Number 2 is to engage with your customer base and listen to them. Find out what they really want from you and how you can best help them.

Number 3 is be a positive influence on those around you. Everyone is facing some challenges for the most part, so we all share this together. Let’s be nice to each other.

Number 4 is that being reactive is now not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t come through, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

How have the Imagine Accounting team helped you?

We were referred to Imagine Accounting by someone we respect enormously. They’re advice, services and professionalism are exceptional. Every touch point is consistently best practice. We genuinely feel very fortunate to have them on our side. We’re product people and they allow us to focus on what we are good at by being there to take us across the line with our accounting and financial advice.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

We are working towards the goal of VAANYARD being a significant boutique eyewear brand with global recognition and presence.

What is the best way to find out more about your products? and keep an eye on our Instagram account @vaanyard

If you are a small business and would like assistance from a Chatswood Accountant please reach out!

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