[‘oro’ Latin origin, meaning gold / ‘ton’ Latin, to imply a tonne of gold or fortune]
Oroton is a brand of entrepreneurialism and resourcefulness: characteristics that give rise to our Australian culture of modern innovators and creators. Retail is surely one of the most competitive industries in Australia and brands are constantly needing to update, redesign, and innovate to stay relevant in an industry effected by often fleeting whims and vogues. Oroton is no exception. The company’s origin was in the high-end textile trade, but through courageous and innovative foresight coupled with a sense of self, Oroton evolved into the accessories market with a ground-breaking use of an industrial product: interwoven metallic mesh. The metallic mesh was created for the fabrication of industrial safety gloves and thoughtfully reimagined with purpose into make-up “powder puff” compact, a must have accessory for the fashion conscious Australian women of the 1950s.
Oroton continued to push the limits of this unexpected material and created a series of clutches and purses reimagined over the decades adapting to modern tastes. This development period also saw the inclusion of new materials including leather, and new products being brought into the fold including shoes, accessories, eyewear, and apparel. Nevertheless the designers always strive to attain a classic style absolute to the brand’s pedigree for modern elegance.
What’s in a name?
Before Oroton, the company was known as Boyd Lane & Co established in 1938 by founder and Sydneysider Boyd Lane. The name Oroton was developed in response to the development and release of the ground-breaking powder puff: it signified the company’s transition from an importer to a manufacturer. The name Oroton is of Latin origins and implies a tonne of gold or fortune: ‘oro’ meaning gold and ‘ton’ indicating a tonne or simply, a lot of gold. The name is suggestive of the brand experience: an air of luxury that is associated with effortless, modern and elegant design. Products that are well made, are worthy of a hallmark (the O) and are steeped in a tradition of innovation and reinvention.
Oroton now trades as a publicly listed company under the name OrotonGroup which was registered in 1987 with the Australian Stock Exchange. While the Group’s mainstay brand is Oroton, the company’s wider objective is to distribute international brands to the Australian and New Zealand marketplaces, often through licencing or franchise agreements.
The most well-known brand OrotonGroup has been associated with, aside from Oroton, is Ralph Lauren. This relationship saw, through a licence agreement, OrotonGroup distribute Ralph Lauren for 23 years domestically until the licence ended in mid-2013.
OrotonGroup looked to securing a new partnership with Gap and Brooks Brothers in 2013 which rolled out in locally in 2014.
Interestingly, a recent publication by Deloitte on the top 250 global retailers saw an increase in the top international companies who expanded their operations into Australia. Furthermore, 43% of these top 250 global retailers active in Australia are in the fashion/apparel industry. (i) This shows a trend towards international retailers looking to Australia as a new, and importantly viable marketplace in which to expand their business.
For me, this shows some great incentive for other retailers to diversify their business model to include distribution of international brands, just as OrotonGroup has. If international brands are seeing feasibility in opening bricks and mortar stores in Australia, local retailers who are set up with transferable market research metrics, supply chains and distribution infrastructure are well poised to take advantage of this global retailer appetite to expand into the Australian and New Zealand market.
You can find OrotonGroup’s Annual Reports here:
My next post for Assignment 1 will be some thoughts on some of the trends I discovered from looking at the annual reports and company ASX media statements, and importantly my draft assignment. I would love feedback on the draft assignment and would be happy to provide feedback (via the feedback table) on yours too! Just send me a comment and follow up with an email to email@example.com.
(i) Global Powers of Retailing 2015, Deloitte (2015)