Common Threads | About the Project
Supporting Australian TCF Businesses Export to Hong Kong.
In 2015 the Council of Textile & Fashion prepared, mentored and lead a delegation to Hong Kong to forge new export opportunities and develop sustainable export channels for Australian brands. The program aims to equip suitable businesses with the knowledge, tools and connections they need to create global business by accessing new markets in Asia, focusing on Hong Kong. Support for this program is underpinned by funding from Austrade as part of the Asian Business Engagement Plan. This innovative program of education and mentoring sessions, networking events, specific market training and online presentations resulted in a capabilities mission to Hong Kong in August 2015.
Common Threads | Export Readiness Project
ASIAN BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT PLAN PROGRAM | SUPPORTED BY AUSTRADE
The Council of Textile & Fashion Industries of Australia has partnered with Austrade as part of its Asian Business Engagement Plan, to create an exciting Export Readiness Program, titled “Common Threads". This program looks to foster a sustainable future for the Australian Textile, Clothing and Footwear (TCF) industry by equipping them with the knowledge, tools and connections to create global businesses through accessing new markets in Asia, particularly Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been chosen as the focus market due to its position as gateway to China. It offers a good foundation from which to access the region and do business in Asia, and has a number of established organisations from which to engage for support and linkages.
The Australian TCF industry is diverse and broad, reaching across multiple sectors and supply chains. The majority of businesses are small to medium enterprises, which makes it difficult for them to individually access the skills and connections they need to strengthen their business operations and offerings, hence the need for Programs such as the Common Threads Project.
The Project aims to provide an on-going sustainable framework for industry to gain an understanding of the cultural and commercial aspects of doing business in Hong Kong, providing practical skills, linkages and showcase opportunities to access the market.
The Program will be achieved through tailored activities including educational and mentoring sessions, networking events, capability mission elements and ongoing industry advisory groups, that will ensure there are both immediate and ongoing benefits from the participation pathway.
This program will be assessed by its ability to assist TCF businesses with gaining access to the Hong Kong market through:
- Creating strong recognition of Australia's capabilities within fashion and textiles design, education, specialist /technical services and inwards investment
- Providing core skill development relating to export procedures
- Improving knowledge, preparedness and capability to do successful and sustainable business in Asia - via the key gateway of Hong Kong
- Improving this capability via commercial and professional networks that introduce and showcase Australia’s reputation for innovation, quality and creativity
The goal of the Program is provide a legacy pathway for industry to leverage off. This includes an innovative online platform to acquire key ‘doing business in Asia’ information, forums linking Hong Kong’s fashion connections with Australia, case studies of firms working in Asia, and knowledge exchange networks.
The Common Threads Project was implemented via three strategic stages of activities that will benefit a range of varying business levels and TCF sectors: Export Readiness Seminars, the Australia - Hong Kong Fashion Capability Mission and Legacy Planning.
1. EXPORT READINESS SEMINARS
A series of seminars and webinars providing expert information and advice on a range of export related topics. TCF industry participants had opportunity to learn comprehensive business, product and cultural information crucial to conducting business successfully in Hong Kong. The Common Threads Project began in April 2015 with each stage taking place in both Sydney and Melbourne:
Free introduction sessions took place in Sydney on Tuesday 28 April and Melbourne on Thursday 30 April.
In the session Hong Kong retail was brought to life by Roger Ouk of Thyvane. Having launched his bowtie business in Hong Kong in 2013 he is experienced with the complexities of launching a fashion business in the luxury-focused market and shared his insider's tips.
In Sydney, Roger was joined by Paula Rogers who has extensive experience working with and in Hong Kong and outline dthe process of entering the complex Hong Kong market from Australia.
Our own CEO, Kiri Delly, also articulated details for the overall Common Threads Project, outlining the Export Readiness Seminar Series, the tailored export readiness support offered, the pitching process involved and the selection criteria for the Capabilities Mission to Hong Kong in August, 2015.
The Export Readiness Seminar Series
The Seminar Series was developed to help businesses determine their export readiness for Hong Kong. It took place as a full day event in Sydney on Tuesday 12 May and in Melbourne as a series of individual seminars over 3 weeks on Wednesday 13, 20 and 27 May.
With industry experts leading the sessions participants were introduced to the current market trends in Hong Kong and the opportunities that these trends offer, the logistics of supply chain management between Australia and Asia as well as how and when to adapt your product for the specific market of Hong Kong. Session topics included; Developing and Export Plan for Export Success, Supply Chain Opportunities and Strategic Exporting for Hong Kong, Guangxi and the Culture of Conducting Business in Hong Kong, and How to develop your export marketing plan.
2. AUSTRALIA - HONG KONG FASHION CAPABILITY MISSION
TFIA and project partners accompanied selected participants to Hong Kong to present their brands / collections in a platform that showcased the Australian TCF industry to potential customers and associates.
BUSINESS PITCH TO EXPORT DAY
Following the Export Readiness Seminars, the participating brands were invited to pitch for a place on the delegation to Hong Kong. Applications to pitch officially opened in June 2015, with Business Pitch to Export days taking place in Sydney (27th July 2015) and Melbourne (29th July 2015). Participants were to prepare a 15 minute presentation demonstrating their business's Hong Kong market suitability and preparedness. The Common Threads Advisory Panel of industry experts reviewed the presentations and determined the final delegation with those chosen receiving further one-on-one mentorship in preparation for the Capabilities Mission.
The Presentation Guidelines:
- Clear Business Plan to enter Hong Kong Market
- Tartget Market Analysis - Who and why?
- Product Suitability and Adaption
- Sales and Marketing Strategy - Value proposition and elevator pitch
- Entry Checklist - Market entry method, legal, budget and risk management
The Hong Kong Capability Mission
The delegation visited Hong Kong from Monday 24 August to Friday 28 August. The week comprised of delegates pitching to media, PR and buyers, showcasing their products and included networking activities with local fashion and textile businesses.
3. LEGACY PLANNING
A number of strategic partners both within Australia and Hong Kong were engaged throughout the project, based on activity requirements and relevance.
TFIA as Project Lead is the peak body for the Australian TCF industry, undertaking its role to facilitate opportunities and provide support, networks, knowledge and experience.
This program is critically important for the TCF industry to ensure Australia’s innovative designers, manufacturers and fashion services sector are well educated and informed on Asia’s growing economies and how Australia can position its industry to achieve greater prosperity.
Disclaimer | This Activity received funding from Austrade as part of the Asian Business Engagement Plan. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for any information of advice contained herein.