By Megan Harman
Australia-based women’s fashion brand Ever New is expanding its presence in the Canadian market, with two new stores opening in the Greater Toronto Area this spring.
Ever New, which goes by the name Forever New in the Australian market and operates more than 270 stores globally, opened its sixth Canadian store at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga on April 12th. In May, the brand will open another new store at Vaughan Mills.
“We’re looking to grow our Canadian base,” says Carolyn Mackenzie, managing director of Ever New. “Canada has always felt like a really good alignment. The brand is definitely getting out there and getting more traction.”
Ever New specializes in semi-formal and formal wear for women, including dresses for various types of special events. The brand also carries workwear, weekend wear, outerwear and various accessories. All collections are designed in Melbourne with a focus on feminine silhouettes and high quality fabrics and details.
“Femininity is at the heart of the Ever New collection,” says Mackenzie. “We’re very passionate about creating really wearable, timeless pieces that have an edge and a twist, as well.”
Ever New’s target client is between the ages of 25-40—however, Mackenzie says it’s not uncommon to see a broader age range, with mothers and daughters shopping together in the stores. The brand primarily caters to educated, working women who are comfortable spending some extra money to have a quality garment compared to the selections at many mainstream retailers.
Ever New first expanded to Canada in 2012 with a store at Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre. That was followed by a handful of other Vancouver-area stores, including locations in Guildford Town Centre, Metropolis at Metrotown and Tsawwassen Mills. The brand opened its first Ontario location at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre in 2015.
Mackenzie sees lots of potential for Ever New in the Canadian market, especially for its formalwear collections. This month, the brand is introducing its ‘Main Event’ collection of bridesmaid dresses in Canada.
“There’s definitely opportunity in Canada for beautiful dresses for proms, and for all of these evening events,” Mackenzie says.
Ever New’s Square One store is unique compared to the chain’s other Canadian stores, with a new design concept. Whereas the stores have traditionally been plain white and minimalist in design, the new concept incorporates colours such as blush and sage green, as well as terrazzo-inspired tiled floors, brushed brass detailing and fluted glass panels. Designed by Melbourne interior design firm Hecker Guthrie, the 2,100-square-foot store aims to embody the feminine feel of the Ever New brand.
“The store is a more modern, welcoming environment. It has a very luxury feel,” says Mackenzie. “It’s a massive departure from where brand was.”
Ever New plans to eventually bring that new concept to all of its stores. In June, the CF Pacific Centre store in Vancouver will be closing to make way for a new, redesigned location within the mall, which will open in November.
Ever New focuses on busy shopping centres for its locations. Its stores are typically between 2,100 and 2,500 square feet in size. Having sufficient space is important, Mackenzie says, in order to maintain a quality environment that’s not crowded with too much merchandise.
“They are substantial size stores. For us to be able to showcase everything we do—because our range is really comprehensive—we need that sort of space,” she says. “We spend so much time picking fabrics [for our collections], making sure the fits are great, showing the detail, that we need to showcase that product in the same way.”
The range of merchandise in an Ever New store—as the name of the brand indicates—is constantly evolving, as part of a strategy to keep customers coming back on a regular basis.
“We’re dropping new lines every week,” Mackenzie says. “Newness is really important to us.”
E-commerce also represents a successful channel for Ever New in Canada. Later this year, the brand will be relaunching its Canadian website and introducing a customer loyalty program. “We’ve seen really good traction with our online business,” Mackenzie says.
Ever New continues to focus on the Toronto and Vancouver-area markets in Canada for its physical locations as it builds brand recognition. Once it’s more firmly established in those regions, Mackenzie says the company will explore opportunities in other Canadian cities.
*In Eastern Canada, Ever New is represented by Aurora Realty Consultants and Jeri Brodie acted on behalf of the retailer in the lease deal with Square One. In Western Canada, Trevor Thomas of JLL represents Ever New. Ever New seeks space in AAA malls.