Queensland Government backs FNQ fashion house push into US market

Published Friday, 16 July, 2021 at 02:00 PM

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Cairns’ fashion house Mainie will extend its online reach into the American luxury retail market thanks to a $10,000 Queensland Government grant. 

Premier and Minister for Trade Annastacia Palaszczuk said Mainie is one of 45 Queensland companies to benefit from Trade and Investment Queensland’s $440,000 E-commerce Grants Program, alongside 23 other regional producers.

“E-commerce grants are a key part of my government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan to boost Queensland businesses’ global marketing,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“COVID-19 challenged small businesses like Mainie that were previously exporting through traditional bricks and mortar stores. These grants will back their pivot to more online sales, which is key to competing in an increasingly virtual global marketplace.”

Mainie Managing Director Charmaine Saunders said the grant would go towards building a new US-focused international website to market the company’s handmade silk and merino wool garments that feature unique Aboriginal artworks.

“We will build a new global website, on top of our Australian site that has been the strength of our business since we turned quickly to e-commerce when COVID hit,” Ms Saunders said.

“Our international presence is essential as we are set to join the high-end US aggregator site Verishop in the coming weeks, after being approached by them to be included among their independent designer brands.

“Before COVID our main retail outlet was at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, where international visitors could choose a luxurious, authentic and unique Australian piece of clothing or art to take home as a lasting memento of their visit to Far North Queensland.

“We also sold as a wholesaler through destinations such as Sydney International Airport and Uluru.

“Losing those outlets drove us to the brink, so we swung to e-commerce to survive.

“We could not keep growing and tackle the global market without this grant and the continuing support from the Queensland Government.”

Ms Saunders founded Mainie to produce distinctively Australian fashion and gifts in 100 per cent silk and Woolmark Merino wool, while empowering Aboriginal women.

She is a descendant of the Gunggari Aboriginal people from the Maranoa River region of southwestern Queensland with family ties to the Woorabinda and Cherbourg Aboriginal communities.

“Our social responsibility toward the traditional female artists of the Central Desert and contemporary Aboriginal artists from Tropical North Queensland, who retain the intellectual property of their work and are paid royalties, underlies our company’s success,” she said.

“Our ethos as well as our products are what captured Verishop’s attention.

“We are gearing up to meet the US demand for socially responsible, sustainable clothing delivered in the quick turnaround time that American customers expect.

“We are appointing a wholesaler in California and installing an inventory management system to instantly track and update stock levels around the world.

“We are also in talks to supply to a major American retailer under a private label arrangement.”

Mainie is also the exclusive supplier of Indigenous fashion and apparel to the Australian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, now rescheduled to run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

Trade and Investment Queensland’s E-commerce Grant Program has recipients based in South-East Queensland, the Darling Downs, Wide Bay, Central Queensland, Outback Queensland and Far North Queensland. Companies needed to produce and export Queensland products, have e-commerce marketing plans and strategies for their overseas markets, and have been exporting for more than a year.

For more information visit tiq.qld.gov.au.


Media contact: Chris O’Brien 0419 774 004