11 September 2019

Cooma fashion house 'Birdsnest' creates a base in Canberra

| Ian Campbell
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"Big Bird" Jane Cay. Photo: Supplied.

“Big Bird” Jane Cay. Photo: Supplied.

A Cooma success story continues to ‘spread its wings’ with fashion house Birdsnest opening an outlet in the heart of Canberra.

The much-loved retailer will open a pop-up store in The Canberra Centre on Monday (July 2).

“We have so many Canberra customers who shop with us online, some of which regularly make the trip to our Cooma store,” says Birdsnest founder, Jane Cay.

“To be able to bring the in-store experience to Canberra over the busy end-of-year period was an unexpected opportunity that we couldn’t refuse.”

For Canberra shoppers, Birdsnest HQ or the ‘Nest‘ as it’s fondly referred to, is located an hour down the Monaro Highway.

The Canberra pop-up nest will be on level 1 next to David Jones and across from Country Road, and will stay in place until December.

“Being a predominately online business, the Birdsnest girls are thrilled to be offering a physical in-store experience in Canberra,” Ms Cay says.

“This is a chance to connect with our Canberra-based customers in a new way, and an opportunity to introduce ourselves to new ones.”

Customers will have the opportunity to do an ‘in-store pick up’.

The ‘in-store pick up’ allows customers to do the groundwork, ordering items online from the comfort of their own home for later pick-up from the new Canberra pop-up.

“This means that customers won’t be limited to just the stock that fits in the pop-up store,” Ms Cay says.

Birdsnest has become famous for the online experience they offer customers.

‘Big Bird’ Jane Cay was announced number 1 on the list of Top 50 People in E-commerce by Internet Retailing earlier in 2018.

Other gongs include:

  • Winner of the Hot Innovator Award at Power Retail’s All-Star Bash 2018
  • Winner of Best Online Marketing Initiative for the “Changeroom” service in the Online Retailer Industry Awards 2017
  • Winner of Best Online Customer Service in the Online Retailer Industry Awards 2015 and 2016.

“Over 85,000 women have told us about their body shape, favourite colours, their lifestyle and other elements that are important to them in creating the perfect wardrobe,” Ms Cay says.

“We have responded by designing our own in-house labels to address those needs.

“Customers can create their own ‘style profile‘ online and receive personalised style recommendations to help find their perfect style matches,” Ms Cay says.

The Birdsnest range now consists of eight ‘bird’ labels along with carefully curated styles from selected brands and suppliers.

“We are constantly trying to extend the size range and offer sizes 8 to 18 in most styles and 8 to 22 where we can,” Ms Cay says.

“We want the pop-up store to be a place where we can help solve your wardrobe dilemmas or just to have fun indulging in some retail therapy.”

Weaved into the Birdsnest story is a story of regional empowerment. Falling in love and marrying a Monaro farmer forced Ms Cay to rethink her career as an IBM e-business consultant, the opportunity she created for herself quickly spread.

The Birdsnest team in Cooma now boasts 140 ‘birds’ – local jobs that didn’t exist 14 years ago when the business launched. In 2018, Birdsnest is reportedly on track to turn over $30 million.

Walking through the backend of the operations on Sharp Street there is an energy, colour and attitude about the place that seems to inspire those within the four walls and the town itself.

Birdsnest was voted the 4th best place to work in Australia for businesses with over 100 employees in the BRW Great Places to Work Awards last year, not the first time the nest has been recognised.

Birdsnest also engages in a range of initiatives around social issues, last year About Regional brought you the story of their partnership with teens from Monaro High School keen to raise funds for domestic violence support services.

More than that, Birdsnest and Jane Cay’s leadership has opened people’s eyes to what is possible in a country town, young Cooma fashion designer Charly Thorn is living that.

As a Birdnest trainee, Ms Thorn has travelled to India and been supported through the creation of her own fashion line for Vancouver Fashion Week and New York’s Parsons School for Design.

Ms Cay is also changing the culture around fashion and body image.

“The Birdsnest girls have made it their mission to help women find the perfect outfit to make them feel amazing – inside and out. I can’t wait to bring that to the streets of Canberra,” Ms Cay says.

“They consider themselves ‘Wardrobe Wingbirds‘, creating a trusting and welcoming environment where women of all different body shapes and style personalities can come and explore.”

A little bit of Cooma spunk is now on the streets of Canberra, a further boost to this powerhouse of the Monaro economy.

The Birdnest Canberra pop-up store opens Monday (July 2) and will stay in place until December, it is located on level 1 of The Canberra Centre in shop CF09.

#This article first appeared on RiotACT

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