Step into Summer at Scanlan Theodore Bal Harbour
Scanlan Theodore, an Australian staple since the late ‘80s known for well-crafted designs that empower women, has opened in Bal Harbour Shops. Owned by two powerful businesswomen formerly in finance, Sarah Blank and Melinda Robertson, the brand has embraced women’s individuality for more than 30 years. Here, we take an inside look through their eyes—as they began their journey in Australia and eventually landed in New York City, where they decided to make a bold move from finance to fashion.
Given this unique moment in time, which we are all experiencing together, what are some of the most important things you’ve learned during these past few months?
On a business level, it’s been quite demanding for us to adapt to the current times. As human beings, we are not meant to live alone in isolation, and we need social interaction to survive. So, while sometimes we love to wear lounge attire or exercise gear all day long, we also love to dress up and go out. Having to adjust to the present limitations has been particularly challenging for retail, but hopefully, we are on the other side and can safely open the boutiques and continue providing our clients with our staple wardrobing solutions. The key learning for us during this time has been that growth should not be prioritized over profitability. Whilst slower sustainable growth requires an immense amount of patience, it also enables you to build a business that has a greater chance of withstanding an immense external shock.
What serves as the inspiration for the Scanlan Theodore brand?
Our inspiration is the Scanlan Theodore woman who leads a multifaceted life and requires a wardrobe that carries her through all elements of her day. We constantly push ourselves to provide solutions that take the pain out of dressing for our clients–women who need to look amazing without having to think about it.
Why was opening in Bal Harbour Shops so important for the brand?
We have always viewed Bal Harbour as one of the premier luxury shopping destinations in the Northern Hemisphere. The exquisite atmosphere and curation of brands and restaurants have led to a unique shopping environment, which we have wanted to be part of since we launched the brand in the U.S. Our boutique was designed with the Miami client in mind, focusing on luxury accents and sumptuous fabrics, and creating a beautiful space that allows for the complete Scanlan Theodore experience.
During the pandemic, what motivated you and your team to “pivot your factories to produce much-needed protective clothing for our healthcare workers in hospitals in New York?”
Within a week of shutting down the boutiques, our focus shifted away from sales toward adapting to the needs of our community and clients. We understood that, for the time being, our clients were not necessarily focused on wardrobe solutions, so we discontinued our marketing efforts and focused our energy on doing what we could to help those on the front lines. Given our extensive and high-quality supply chain, which has been established over the last 30 years, we had the capacity to produce PPE in an expedited manner and it just seemed like the right thing for us to do.
What are some of the key pieces that every Bal Harbour shopper should have in their wardrobe?
Definitely our dresses, which are timeless pieces that are both memorable and easy to wear. Each design is crafted to transcend traditional fashion, for garments that can be worn for years to come. Our summer collection focuses exactly on this—sumptuous European fabrics in unique and wearable designs that are elevated and versatile enough to be worn throughout the year.
How did Scanlan Theodore become known for providing “wardrobe solutions for corporate women”?
It’s really important for us to listen to our clients. In doing so, we have learned that professional women require a wardrobe that is feminine, boardroom appropriate, travels well, and exhibits an achievable price point. Consequently, we focus on designing effortless clothes that will stand the test of time and can be effortlessly paired with items from previous and future Scanlan Theodore collections.
What’s been the key to your success in expanding the brand from Australia to the U.S. market?
Resilience and patience. Building a brand takes time and presenting a storefront in one of the most beautiful. There are no shortcuts.
Can you describe the Scanlan Theodore shopping experience at Bal Harbour Shops?
We are excited to be able to provide a safe and exclusive retail environment for our clients in Miami. We know that everyone has been on lockdown for an extended period, and the thought of getting out of the house and being able to shop safely is very appealing. Our team is extremely focused on implementing our safety protocols rigorously, so our clients in Miami can shop with peace of mind. For our clients throughout the country where lockdowns are still being enforced, we have made online shopping a more seamless and cohesive experience, and we are also launching Scanlan at Home, a new online initiative offering exclusive products. Make sure to follow us and stay in touch for all the information on the latest from Scanlan Theodore.