Hao Phu, the founder of Kokaine, pays close attention to his business’ relationship with the market by putting in an effort to connect with the brand’s growing crowd of avid followers.
The Kokaine brand is more than just a forefront label for Phu’s products.
Its a name and a sub culture that people connect with as they express themselves through Kokaine’s clothing and accessories and Phu’s extraordinary passion for life. The brand is inspired and motivated by the Japanese culture, from fashion to vending machines.
Inspiration behind the Kokaine retail brand
“We realised the need for our customers to be part of our journey and eco system,” Phu said.
“We have enabled our customers to have more human interaction with our label – so they understand there is a real person behind the brand that they can engage and interact with.”
“I wanted them to get a sense of who I am, makes me tick and my life to share in the vision.”
In seven short years, the brand has amassed a huge following and draws majority of its sales through its online engagement. One of the key platforms that Kokaine uses is YouTube.
Phu created a YouTube channel called ‘Hao You Phill’, a cute play on words, which he delivers with his girlfriend Philly. The channel has over 35,000 subscribers and is continuing to grow.
Phu mixes in his love of entertaining, DJing, visual merchandising, fashion design and more. His approach has worked, Phu is a YouTube sensation who has loved the world over for his quirky, insightful antics and amazing fashion sense!
“We show our customers in very raw form – something that we have been documenting from day one, our venture from humble beginnings to where we are now,” Phu said.
“We keep our brand transparent for our clients so there are no smoke and mirrors or hidden agendas. They get to see why and how we create certain products and the process involved.”
Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are also used by the business to connect with the brand’s customers and to broaden its market reach. Kokaine currently has more than 40,000 followers on Instagram alone!
Kokaine retail brand’s Hao Phu is passionate
Phu spends a lot of time intimately involved in Kokaine’s operations and also manages to find time to post to YouTube and other social media channels almost daily.
It’s no wonder Kokaine is a star performer in Australia’s retail fashion industry.
The business is seeing constant growth in its customer base with an average of 35% of sales coming from repeat customers. Phu and his team keep a close eye on fashion culture and actively take in all kinds of feedback about their brand and products.
“We also stay super close culturally to our customers – knowing what they want, and their feedback is important to us,” Phu explained.
“We have managed to build a brand in Kokaine that extends beyond common trends. In fact, we are one of the few brands in the industry that sets our own trend in fashion.”
“We are able to attract more customers and stay ahead of the competition. It is important as a fashion brand to understand what the trends are, but not necessarily follow them to a tee. We paved our own lane. Fashion trends come in cycles, and we have to be ahead of them.”
The brand has won the title for 2019 Business News Australia’s ‘Number 1 Business’. It has achieved numerous breakthroughs with one of those being the closure of Collins Street.
When Kokaine opened its store on Collins Street, people queuing up to get into the store stretched two to three blocks from where the store, with a waiting time of about three hours.
What keeps the brand from drowning under the intensity of industry competition is its goal to not compete – but to create. The brand is also doing collaborative projects with other pop-up stores as a way to help each other grow in the industry.
“There are a lot of brands out there that are trying to do what we do, but they can’t touch our traction and following. We are heavily involved in the community; my girlfriend and I have been involved in just about every type of fashion / sneaker-related thing in Australia.”
We have travelled all over the country to build the brand – connecting with our followers where ever we can. Kokaine is definitely up for more success and we are excited for the future. COVID has only helped us to engage further with our customers online,” Phu said.