Joel Azzopardi from Freddy: Acquiring the Perfect Fit | #322

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Joel talks denim, distribution and die hards.

Joel Azzopardi from Freddy: Acquiring the Perfect Fit

Joel is the Co-founder and CEO of We Are Brands, the exclusive distributor for Freddy in Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Joel Azzopardi, Co founder and CEO of Freddy

Freddy make jeans that prioritise comfort and fit and look amazing on every body, thanks to patented fabric technology. The Freddy brand is over 50 years old and in Australia has a cult following with over 150,000 Australian followers. Who knew good fitting jeans would be so popular!   In this chat, Joel shares the secrets to Freddy customer happiness, the best way to organise a distribution model and a winning formula for influencer marketing.  

“We 100% protect the brand…there is that consistent tone of voice and brand image globally”

Joel Azzopardi

Identify the opportunity and build the relationship

“We secured the distribution rights for Freddy in Australia and New Zealand in 2014. In short, we discovered the brand – I was living in Europe at the time – identified the potential the brand would have, realised that it wasn’t in Australia and ultimately, my co-founder and I put a business plan together, which we managed to get into the right hands at Freddy and ultimately took a lot of risks. 

I think in addition to having a strong business plan, acquiring distribution rights to a brand also requires building really strong relationships with the brand and having a real passion and belief in a brand. So my co-founder, Kenneth and I both have digital marketing and e-commerce backgrounds, and we were able to use our knowledge to identify some opportunities for introducing and growing the Freddy brand in Australia and New Zealand. 

And we were able to convince Freddy that we were the right team for the job and they took a chance on us. And we very quickly became the biggest Freddie distributor globally.”

Every customer is special

“It’s really being genuine and really valuing the people that are coming to your website or that are walking in your store. These are people that are willing to part with their hard earned cash and they really genuinely love our brand and the minute they have a negative experience, we could lose them. And as the saying goes, they will go and tell 10 other people about their terrible experience. And we definitely don’t want that. 

So I think it’s really empowering and having this initiative of surprising and delighting our customers when they least expect it. I think that’s what really sets our customer service apart.”

Think local with international expansion

“For us it was very important to have a local presence and distribution network on the ground in each country. The first step to consider operationally, is how to set things up. For example,  in the USA, we considered opening a US branch of our Australian company, but there were a few limitations with that. So we ended up opening a company in the USA, which initially proved to be quite difficult as we didn’t have any local directors at the time. And once we were able to get through those hurdles, we then had to open a bank account, which was surprisingly, very very difficult. 

The next step is building out your tech stack and online store, which for us being a Shopify Plus partner was one of the more seamless parts of the process, which was really great. We knew that was something that we could turn on a matter of days and that really helped give us that confidence to go into those new regions. 

And then it’s deciding on how you’re going to manage your inventory. We partnered with 3PLs in the UK and the USA.  The main reason for that is because it is important for us to ship locally to our customers to ensure they’re getting their orders really quickly, to ensure they don’t have to deal with thingslike custom charges and added costs. And it also enables us to have a seamless local returns process as well, which is really important and gives those customers confidence to buy.”

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