Carlton St Agency – No More Cookie Cutter Approach To Brand Advocacy.
COVID 19 has forced all businesses to readdress the traditional ways we do business. For industry veteran Justin Cook, the disruption caused by the pandemic played an important role in reevaluating how big brands and small go to market. Following a brief competitive career on surfing’s World Qualifying Series, ‘Cookie’ started his career on the shop floor at Beach Culture, where his flair for business was identified. At Beach Culture, he ascended to the role of Business Unit Manager, gathering invaluable retail experience that led to a multifaceted 20-year career with the industry’s leading brands, including Surf Hardware, O’Neill, Billabong and Firewire where he held the position of Australasian Brand Manager until November 2020. We caught up with Justin Cook to find out why he’s launched his own brand advocate and consultancy, Carlton St Agency.
Why did you launch Carlton St Agency?
JC: I’ve always wanted to run my own business. Covid-19 changed things and alot of brands are streamlining their organisational chart and looking at head count on costs. It also made me realise with my experience, I can still get the results brands are looking for as an agent, offering brand, sales, product management consultation under the one roof.
What are the lessons learned working with some of the industry’s leading brands?
JC: I think I speak for alot of crew when I say how good it is to work in an industry that has provided a great lifestyle and a career. I’d like to thank all the brands I’ve been with for an amazing run. From my experience, consistent leadership is paramount. Robust operational excellence and governance will always continue to improve a company’s culture and performance – but lead to long-term sustainable growth.
It is about staying true to driving foot traffic into stores, delivering on the customer experience and having great relationships with your retail partners.
Leading brands innately also have a ‘never say dye’ thirst for being better than yesterday.
“Leading brands innately also have a ‘never say die’ thirst for being better than yesterday.” – Justin Cook.
How has the market changed?
JC: Price point, closeout retail and too may labels making ‘me too’ product, this leads to a glut of inventory. However, what has not changed is premium product, brands and retail that trust their journey.
What separates Carlton St Agency from others?
JC: It is all about +18 years’ working in a range of environments where I focused on building brands and selling products, fostering relationships, and working to deliver outcomes and grow businesses. Over the years, I believe I have been able to define a shared road map that has allowed me to deliver on brand ethos and set up positive outcomes for all. This experience also carries over to all types of products launching in Australia, whether in action sports or big box retail. Carlton St Agency is a one stop agency that is Brand Driven, connecting wholesale partners with premium retail and we’re also having some fun along the way.
“It is all about +18 years’ working in a range of environments where I focused on building brands and selling products, fostering relationships, and working to deliver outcomes and grow businesses.”
What opportunities exist for new emerging labels to get in stores?
JC: Establish a well thought out ‘Go-to-Market’ plan. Stay true to your brand and unique message, make great product and the smart key retailers will 100% pay attention. Independents are always looking for a point of difference. Being nimble will help get in under some of the established brands.
And of course, look at Carlton St Agency! Why risk your business with additional head count or top-heavy employees, when you could hire a cost-effective Agency that knows how to compete.
CARLTON ST AGENCY PTY LTD.
PO BOX 551, Currumbin, QLD 4223, Gold Coast Australia
TELEPHONE +61 404 008 618