Founder and CEO of House of Brands, Karin Adcock, took an unexpected turn after studying to be a school teacher. She spent ten years in project work in Australia and across Europe before securing the Australian distribution rights for Danish success story Pandora, a brand well known throughout the world for its charm bracelets. After eight years with the company, Karin, a passionate entrepreneur, was looking for a new challenge. She knew she had the experience, skill and drive to bring exciting new products to the market — products with the power to make a positive difference to people and society. Karin tells The CEO Magazine how she realised her aspirations with House of Brands.
Karin Adcock on how House of Brands has evolved
“I decided to start up House of Brands in 2013. I took on a few brands before I realised that was not quite the right strategy. I ended up just having one brand called Fleye, an abbreviation of Fine Looking Eye and a cool Danish eyewear brand. Now we have about 100 Fleye stockists across Australia.
“Later, I was contacted by ALEX AND ANI. We were in talks for around two years before the end of late 2015, when we agreed to take on the distribution of ALEX AND ANI here in Australia. I thought it was a very exciting brand with a huge following — it’s the fastest growing jewellery brand in the US. I felt compelled by the ALEX AND ANI story and it’s very much a brand that’s about giving back to the local community.”
The Alex and Ani story
“ALEX AND ANI is a brand which, over the last five years, has donated over $US36 million to charity. The majority of its pieces are made from recycled metals. So rather than producing new, they are actually taking old picture frames, old door handles and all sorts of other items and crafting them into beautiful pieces. I thought it was a whole new and different way of bringing jewellery to the market,” says Karin.
“ALEX AND ANI has such a beautiful message about wanting to bring positivity into people’s lives. When people purchase an ALEX AND ANI bangle they get a little meaning card and on it there is a little positive message as well as an explanation of what that specific bangle is all about. I think that’s just a beautiful way of communicating to people. You can buy so much out there in the marketplace so I think people are more discerning about what they want to buy and why they are buying. If there is a reason for buying that piece, I think they will be more inclined to actually want to invest in a brand.”
Karin on building the House of Brands culture
Karin believes that “everybody is seeking to have a purpose in life and seeking perspective”. She says, “We really try to foster an environment where there is respect across the organisation, regardless of what your title is or what you’re doing. It might be a little thing that seems fairly insignificant, but every few weeks everybody comes together for morning tea and a chat about what’s happening in the various departments. It promotes bonding, regardless of whether you are in the packing room, or doing digital marketing, so there is a fundamental respect across the board. I think that comes across to the retailers that we work with.”
Where House of Brands is headed
“We have a lot going on, we have huge opportunities with ALEX AND ANI and also a great opportunity with Fleye and we’re investing in state-based staff for these opportunities. For the time being we’re not looking at adding any other brands to the portfolio,” says Karin. “I get a lot of questions from people about whether I’ll take another brand on, but at the end of the day, if you end up having too many brands on and you try to do too many things then you end up not really doing any brand properly. But I’d never say we’ll never consider adding to our portfolio.”