Minnow Designs Creates a Wave of Success in US Expansion

As in many great businesses, the idea for Minnow arose from a problem. For Minnow, the problem was one with which most young Australian families are familiar. Mums Lorraine Cherry-Nguyen and Stacey Fisher need a simple solution to protect their babies’ feet from the hot summer sand and slippery rocks. After searching unsuccessfully for comfortable, durable booties made for growing tootsies, they decided to make their own.

Having found success in the local market with their trendy, neoprene booties, Minnow has continued to increase its range of prints and sizes to suit a growing market. The founders quickly discovered, however, that continued success would require the business to expand into international markets such as the US.

When Lorraine and Stacey discovered FD Global Connection’s NYC Immersion Program, the pair knew it would be a great opportunity to prepare their expansion strategy and begin gaining traction in the market.

“As a fashion business, we were very excited to gain a deeper understanding of the US retail market. It was a big learning experience. There were so many selling avenues in the US that simply didn’t exist in Australia and gaining that insight is going to be critical for our business moving forward,” said Stacey.

FD Global organised for the Minnow team to meet with several fashion retail brands who could help fast track the brand’s expansion, such as Susan Corea, founder of eco-friendly clothing brand Art & Eden.

“We mentioned during the discussion that we were looking to find local sales reps and within five minutes, she had emailed all her USA reps and introduced us and our brand. We were blown away by her willingness to help and the speed at which it could all be done,” said Lorraine.

The pair also participated in workshops with experts who could help them understand the intricacies of everything from marketing and public relations to insurance and legal requirements.

“We had exposure to inspiring professionals that we otherwise would not be able to access on our own. The program packed with high-value workshops and meetings – and supported by mentors the entire way. We kept thinking surely the next meeting won’t be as good as the one we just had and then it was!”, added Stacey.

The business is now taking on board everything learned during the FD Global program and gearing up for what it is expected to be its busiest summer seasons yet.

“Being there in the US forces you to be realistic about the size of the market and what you need to have in place to achieve results. The FD Global Connections program was an incredible way to kickstart our expansion into the US.”