Designer fashion retailer thinks Amazon will shake things up but bricks and mortar retail still important

Bricks and mortar and online: Wollongong retailer Kelly Kreilis in her Little Wanderers store located across Crown Street Mall from her Frolic Girls store in Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.
Bricks and mortar and online: Wollongong retailer Kelly Kreilis in her Little Wanderers store located across Crown Street Mall from her Frolic Girls store in Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.

The impact from the arrival of Amazon in Australia this week will take a little while to be clear.

But Wollongong retailer Kelly Kreilis said it was good to have because it will give people more shopping options.

Ms Kreilis has run ladies designer fashion store Frolic Girls in Wollongong for 15 years and a designer clothing, homewares, toys, gift store for children and babies called Little Wanderers for three.

Around eight years ago she started selling online at Frolic and has done so with Little Wanderers since it began but many of her customers still enjoy personal service.

“I think Amazon will shake up the market and make people aware that there are a lot of other avenues to shop. But online is not definitely the cheapest,” she said.

Ms Kreilis feels bricks and mortar retailing is harder now because of growing competition but many of her loyal customers still liked to come into the shop.

“Where we manage to stay above water is we do one-on-one service with styling. When someone comes by a dress we give them six ways to wear it. Where you only see it pictured in one style online,” she said.

“So you get the added service, wardrobe styling and all the extras. A lot of our ladies have been shopping with us for 15 years so we build relationships with them. It is like we are personal stylists.” 

Designer wear: Kelly Kreilis inside her Frolic Girls fashion specialty store in Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Designer wear: Kelly Kreilis inside her Frolic Girls fashion specialty store in Wollongong. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Ms Kreilis said it is too early to really tell what impact Amazon will have on her online business and where it will lead her. One thing she does know is she needs to market more locally. It is particularly important given people seem to be starting Christmas shopping later this year.

The other thing she is noticing is there are a more new people coming into the area who don’t know where all the fashion outlets are.

Kelly Kreilis at Frolic Girls in Crown Street Mall. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Kelly Kreilis at Frolic Girls in Crown Street Mall. Picture: Greg Ellis.

So it is important to be visible if you want to compete with online shopping. Social media is one way to do that but all forms of marketing are important. The online part of Ms Kreilis’s business is done through her website.

Many of those customers are local and take advantage of the pick-up service she offers. 

She employs six people and at this time of year customers are likely to buy gifts online and fashion in store for Christmas.