When Lisa Balakas and Kate Beaconsfield launched their maternity wear fashion label, Ripe Maternity, the internet was in its infancy.
It was 1996, the world wide web was still a mystery to most, email accounts were only just emerging and mail-order catalogues were the platform of choice.
Ripe Maternity had just begun operating out of a physio clinic in Victoria with co-founders Balakas and Beaconsfield balancing the fledgling business with their day jobs – and their growing families.
Fast forward 20 years and the company has grown into an established fashion brand available in more than 400 stores worldwide.
The business includes a thriving online store and branded retail stores and concessions across Australia, plus a global distribution strategy that sees products in stores across the USA, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Europe and New Zealand, among others. Ripe Maternity has also secured lucrative wholesale deals with major international players such as Amazon, ASOS, Destination Maternity and Mothercare UK.
So just how did Ripe Maternity grow from a start-up into an international retail business?
Co-founders Balakas and Beaconsfield are the first to admit there have been challenges along the way. Having survived the digital revolution, the global financial crisis, and the unpredictable fluctuations in currencies, Ripe Maternity has proved that innovation and evolution are the keys to turning challenge into opportunity.