Porter James Sports Sage Agency Melbourne


(PJS)
Hey Anika, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. For those who don’t know you please tell us what you do

(AJS)
I am the Co-founder and Sales Director of Sage, which is a wholesale fashion agency based in Melbourne. We work alongside labels to help grow their wholesale footprint in local and global markets. We partner with a range of retailers across the globe such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, The ICONIC, David Jones and more specialised, independent boutiques.


(PJS)
How did Sage come about? What has been your journey to this point?

(AJS)
I had spent the past 7 years working across various roles in the industry, from Senior Brand Manager at a local fashion agency to Global Sales Director of an Australian RTW brand, which enabled me to work with a wide range of brands and retailers. These opportunities shaped my career and gave me clarity on what I loved and would improve on in the industry. I wanted my next role to be on my own terms and enable the flexibility to work with labels who share the same vision and ethos. This resonated with ex-colleagues of mine and we quickly realised the only way to achieve our goal was by creating something of our own. Sage was born. It has been the most rewarding decision I’ve made to date; we launched at the start of August and now have 6 brands in our portfolio with our showroom opening in February 2021.

  Porter James Sports Sage Agency MelbournePorter James Sports Sage Agency Melbourne

(PJS)
Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion? Why do you think you were drawn to this industry?

(AJS)
My earliest memory of loving fashion spans from raiding my mums closet and playing dress ups, she’s always had the best taste. My mum always encouraged me to get into the fashion industry which led to one of my first roles at Juliette Hogan. This experience was invaluable, I learnt so much about the industry and it opened other doors for me before moving to Melbourne in 2013 which is when my career really kicked off. 


Timeless design is evident in pieces that seamlessly transition through the seasons and effortlessly slot into any wardrobe. A classic blazer, trench or denim. Simplistic designs that are made-to-last.

(PJS)
What do you look for in a label before choosing to represent them and help them grow under Sage’s guidance? 

(AJS)
There are many factors that go into taking on new brands, but a main focus is to ensure Sage is a curated space. Each label we represent needs to stand alone in the showroom to maximise exposure. Part of my role involves understanding the market and being able to identify gaps and forecast trends. This is imperative when taking on new brands to effectively increase their market share. We also take into consideration who we’re getting into bed with. We take a considered approach to brand management, each relationship we enter into is viewed as a partnership therefore it is really important to us that we have open and honest communication with the people behind the brands to foster long-term growth.

Porter James Sports Sage Agency MelbournePorter James Sports Sage Agency Melbourne


(PJS)
Now let’s ask you something a little lighter. What was the last thing you purchased that you really loved? 

(AJS)
My last purchase I really loved was a dress by Jacquemus. He’s one of my favourite designers. I love how his pieces flatter the female form but aren’t too feminine. Jacquemus has a way of instantly transporting you to the South of France when you wear his pieces.
 

(PJS)
Again looking at your purchasing behaviour, what portion of your purchases are made online vs physical retail? And what do you think the future of physical retail looks like in a forever growing, digital/global marketplace? 

(AJS)
Majority of my purchases are made online, I rarely purchase in-store and when I do, it’s generally when I’m travelling. I do love the in-store experience however my schedule rarely allows it! Bricks & mortar stores are the best touch points for brands, it allows the consumer to immerse themselves in the brand and is hard to replicate online alone. The in-store experience is essential to building brand awareness and compliments the online experience. I believe the future of physical retail will be much more strategic following Covid-19. Covid has allowed retail an opportunity to reset, rethink and evolve, which is important for sustainable growth. 

Porter James Sports Sage Agency Melbourne


(PJS)
Talk us through some of the well-designed objects that are mainstays in your life currently?

(AJS)
Being foodies, my partner and I spend a lot of time at the dining table sitting in our Marcel Breuer inspired chairs. They are definitely pieces we will have forever and only get better with age.
 

(PJS)
How do you stay inspired? Where are your drawing inspiration from lately?

(AJS)
I draw inspiration from many places but my work has been a main source lately. I’m constantly inspired by the designers I work with and collections they produce. Being a business-owner, I’m also inspired by other entrepreneurs, not only their stories of success but also the failures they’ve learned from. A key focus for us has been surrounding ourselves with trusted advisors and we are extremely grateful for the guidance we’ve received on our journey to date.
 

(PJS)
Lastly, what does timeless design look like to you?

(AJS)
Timeless design is evident in pieces that seamlessly transition through the seasons and effortlessly slot into any wardrobe. A classic blazer, trench or denim. Simplistic designs that are made-to-last.

Porter James Sports Sage Agency Melbourne      

In conversation with Anika Joshi-Smith of Sage