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September 2017 winner – Arlo & Co

Arlo & Co is one of Australia’s fastest growing bespoke interior décor and gift companies. Using locally-sourced materials, Arlo & Co design and produce a comprehensive range of unique, personalised, and meaningful products that are easy to order and receive.

These products include customised name plaques, cake toppers and birthday boards, printed photographs on stone and wood, personalised accessories, canvas flags, and beautiful bamboo wares for walls. A quick visit of their Instagram page @arloandco shows a visual snapshot of these new-to-the-market products, taking the Australian interior décor and gift industry by storm.

Established as an online-only store in October 2014, Arlo & Co fills an obvious market gap for locally-produced, industry-quality, artisan gifts and decor that are accessible and affordable to contemporary, design-loving Australians.

In an industry that’s populated by imported, low quality, cliche products that don’t last long, Arlo & Co are challenging the status quo by offering easy-to-order products and gifts with the organic nature of artisan quality and aesthetic – on a large scale.

Arlo & Co identified a clear market gap in:
– Customer-focused, personalised products and service.
– Accessible artisan-quality products.
– Personalised, customised and meaningful gifts that are easy to order and receive.
– Customers being able to truly make something their own, while still being affordable.

Arlo & Co point of difference lies in:
– Responding to the growing trends and needs for personalised décor particularly for newly weds and families with children.
– High-quality, unique, artisan-quality personalised products that speak to the heart and capture the magic of family – the moments, memories and milestones.
– Products that are affordable, on-trend and reflect our values and those of our customers.
– A commitment to creating an outstanding experience for both our customers and employees.
– Arlo & Co are immediately able to respond to changing trends, or requests, due to our on-the-spot, efficient, in-house design and production time.

In just under 3 years Arlo & Co success has been recognised in many forms including:

  • Relocating into a commercial premises.
  • Employing a team of five permanent and six casual staff.
  • Engaging a growing social media following of more 150K.
  • Acquiring a highly-engaged email subscriber list of 20,000+.
  • Securing over 12,000 loyal customers.
  • Generating a highly-profitable annual business revenue.
  • Being featured on blogs such as Buzz Feed, Babyology, Captain + Co, Raw Styling, and Me Oh My Mum.
  • Being featured in publications that include Real Living, Home Beautiful, Frankie, Homes Plus, Little One, and Elle magazines.
  • Being finalists in the 2017 Telstra Business Awards (New Business category), as well as finalists in the 2017 ORIAS People’s Choice Awards and the 2017 National Retail Awards.

Just under 3 short years ago – while on maternity leave with a 19 month old, an 8 week old – Arlo & Co founder Gemma Holt, wanted to contribute to the grocery bills, but not put her two small girls in care. So she took her small hobby-only interest and launch a very small range of products into the online marketplace.

​With some basic photography of her first ideas, and a ‘just start somewhere’ approach, she began using Instagram as her only marketing tool, and launched Arlo & Co.

​She made the products in her makeshift garage studio, and ran the business from the kitchen bench, often while breastfeeding an irritable baby. ​And as the virtual till began to ring, she realised her hunch about the need for more personalised decor and gifts, in a style that was innovative, was spot on.

​​So she did more research and found:
​- a lack of industry-quality, personalised gifts and decor that were accessible and affordable
​- a chance to pour my creative skills into producing an innovative style of Australian-made products
​- an opportunity to create her own business and reinvent the family’s lifestyle

​And while it was only an aspiration at first, she also saw the potential for her husband, Damian, to one day jump on board.

Six months later – using his design skills to improve Arlo & Co products further – that dream became a reality as he came on as Gemma’s business partner.

Today, the company is housed in an industrial workshop + office studio, with 10 permanent staff, a collective social media fanbase of 150K+ loyal followers and customers, a highly-engaged email subscriber list of 20,000 plus, more than 55,000 units sold, and has a highly-profitable annual business revenue – growing almost 400% in the second year of trading.

Some of Arlo & Co future plans include:

  • Adding new revenue streams such as the corporate gift and wedding arenas to maximise market growth potential.
  • Investing in market research for the UK and US interiors and gifts industries.
  • Finding ways to test new markets by selling products through exclusive, small-batch wholesale partnerships.
  • Investing in new sales channels that make Arlo & Co more accessible to an international audience (such as Pinterest buyable pins).
  • Expanding product offerings in line with cultural shifts, trends and requests.

Our reason for selecting this business was to acknowledge how a mum with a baby started a home based business that in just 3 years has grown to appoint where it employs 5 full time and 6 casual staff and has been a finalist in 3 prestigious award programs in 2017.

Name: Gemma Holt

Business Name: Arlo & Co.

Address: 18/62 Ramset Drive, Chirnside Park, Victoria, Australia

Mobile Number:  (03) 97270556

Email:  gemma$arloandco.com.au

Left: Rohini Kappadath – representing Victorian State Government, Centre Left: Gemma Holt – Arlo and Co, Centre Right: Darren James – 3AW Afternoon Announcer (filling in for Denis Walter) Right: Paul Geason – Managing Director Momentum Energy

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