Penny Lane from Alterior Motif, talks all things Fashion…
How was Alterior Motif born?
Alterior Motif was born in 2012, conceptualised by my best friend. I took over the business in 2014 and introduced a swag of upcoming Australian fashion brands that were trending in the cities. I crossed my fingers that we could get Sunshine Coaster’s on board for the ride, and 16 years on, we are still here!
What has contributed to the longevity of Alterior Motif?
I believe it has been our ability to evolve with the fashion industry’s ever-changing landscape, our connection to the community and good old-fashioned customer service. We have also put everything we have gained back into the business. We have not over-capitalised or had expectations of what this business can do for us, more what we could do for it.
Your retail concept is iconic amongst the Sunshine Coast fashion set – how do you explain the cult following?
We are so fortunate to work with iconic brands and be able to represent them in our own creative way. The curation of brands that we have is unique and people really resonate with that. We also absolutely love what we do, and we love our customers, so that creates a beautiful environment in which to exist. People sense that and they feel a sense of belonging to our business because of it. We have always run events that brings the community together and we have always supported local brands, which strengthens that connection also.
How do you describe an Alterior Motif client/ customer?
The AM woman is as diverse as the labels that we represent. We are an inclusive boutique that is welcoming to all women from different walks of life that enjoy fashion and have an interest in supporting sustainable and local brands. Our buying selections have always been a thoughtfully-curated edit of styles. We have had women who have been shopping with us since their teens who now are in the next stage of their lives, so we understand the importance of not inhibiting the business to a specific age demographic.
What labels/ brands are you drawn to?
Bassike is my absolute go-to. I can’t get enough of it on so many levels. I love their philosophy, style, quality, ethos. I also love the simplicity and style of SIR if I am after more occasion pieces that are versatile, and I also love Cloth and Hide for amazing coastal vibe pieces.
What is your buying philosophy?
Buy what you LOVE and take notes on what your regulars love. We always have certain customers in mind when we do a buy with certain brands. We also strategise our categories and know what gaps we need to fill based on reporting on historical data, so that all comes into play.
What do you love most about the Sunshine Coast?
It is the best place in the world for family, work and play. I grew up here… so it doesn’t just feel like home, it is home. I love it so much.
What do you love most about Alterior Motif?
My staff (hugely), my customers and the brands we work with. Also the creativity involved in the process of running this business makes my life here super interesting and fun!
What advice can you share with fashion start ups/ designers / retailers?
You get what you give. Expect it to be a lot of hard, hard work for little financial return and an ongoing, perpetuation of learning curves. You will soon find out whether you love it, or not.
What can we expect to see in store over Summer?
Colour! Bright colour pops in swim, accessories, and apparel. Knit sets are key, as are silk top and trouser sets in a mix of bright and muted tones. Also, versatile day-to-night slip dresses with a 90s vibe and we are bringing back the head scarf. What fashion item can you NOT live without? My platform Teva sandals. I live in them!