It’s no secret that we loved Belle Bird designs at this years’ FASHFEST, so a bit of further investigation found us in snowy Cooma earlier this week to check out Birdsnest—which includes Belle Bird, That Bird Label, Birdkeepers, and Boho Bird as well over 200 other labels in the store. By Aine Dowling.
Birdsnest is the brainchild of Jane Cay who set up the small store in 2004, going online in 2008. Since that time the company has increased from four staff (birds) to over 100; has just completed its third revamp of the now much larger store; is on its fourth website upgrade, and carries over 200 labels. Over the June long weekend Birdsnest is celebrating the opening of its Thredbo store specialising in alpine winter wear, and stocking the local Snow Angel label.
We met up with Birdsnest PR guru, Tan Ward, who gave us a guided tour of the store, the backrooms, the two warehouses—one of which was the former Woolworths supermarket—as well as a rundown on the business. But before the hows and whys of Birdsnest, let’s tell you about the store itself. It’s huge; it’s modern; it’s bright, and it’s classy. Oh, is it classy! Forget about racks of clothes all over the shop and squeezing to a change room the size of a laundry cupboard—this place is amazing! To say we were hugely impressed is an understatement! This is a business that truly puts its customers first—both in the store and online—from its laptops and iPads in the store and change rooms, to its 24 hour delivery turnaround across Australia.
Here’s how it works when you buy in store. There is one item of everything in the store—in one colour, and one size. So, you really like the size 8 grey cropped pants but you’re after something in black in a 12 or 14; no problem. Just hop onto the laptop, select the garment, click your colour and size, type in your name and hit enter. Then check the Arrivals board. In less than a minute your garment will come up as ‘in flight’, and within a couple of minutes your garment arrives on the rack in the change room with the Arrivals board changing to ‘landed’. Seriously, how cool is that! We loved it! And if the garment isn’t the perfect fit once you’re in the change room, get on the iPad and simply request another size. Now that’s customer service.
That’s the store. But the store is only a part of Birdsnest—out the back is where the action is. The office (if you can call it that) is vast open area designed in sections for customer service, packing and despatch, returns, accounts, designers and stylers, creators and writers, social media, the warehouse team, and its own photographic studio where the images taken are used in both their online and print publications including their catalogues and newsletters.
Buying online is just about as precise as you can get it by building your own customer profile when you sign up. You can choose your body shape (boobs, tummy, arms and legs), your personality (classic, modern, boho), your lifestyle (party girl, yummy granny, career, active, lady of leisure), and what colours and brands you would, and wouldn’t, wear. Within five minutes you’ll receive your own personalised style pack, and future emails and sales notifications are designed to fit your profile.
According to Tan Ward the Birdsnest online store is 94 per cent of their business. “When the orders come in we pack and send then off the same day,” says Tan. “We pack over 500 parcels a day and Australia Post picks up every day at 4.30pm, and during our busiest times it’s all hands on deck and every staff member will be packing. We also put a little thank-you gift in the bag with a handwritten card. We keep a record of all customer purchases, and we operate an awards program on the dollar spend.” If you live in the area you can also shop online and request an in store pickup instead of delivery.
Don’t like something you’ve ordered? Return it. “We have a full returns policy for all customers—no questions,” says Tan. “We want our customers to be happy and if they don’t like something they need to tell us so we can rectify it. The Birdsnest culture, customer focus, and teamwork is really important to us. It’s also important that this philosophy flow on to our customer base.”
Happy customers are involved at Birdsnest more than you may realise. When you purchase an item from That Bird Label you are automatically on the ‘design’ team. You have a vote on future garments, and if the general consensus is that those grey crop pants you really liked would be more comfortable with a soft stretch waist insert at the back, then the next design may well include it. “We listen to what our customers say, what they want and what they like, and our design team have often made changes to a garment if enough customers suggested it.”
Birdsnest is not just another retail fashion shop. It’s a whole new and exciting shopping experience. Give it a try—we guarantee you’ll love it!