Australian athleisure brand LSKD has appointed its first chief retail officer, the former director of retail for Lululemon ANZ Alex Shaughnessy, as part of its strategy to become a world-class retailer. During her time at Lululemon, which spanned 13 years from 2006 to 2019, Shaughnessy led over 40 stores and oversaw the brand’s national wholesale and community presence in ANZ. Later, as head of retail at global eyewear retailer Bailey Nelson, Shaughnessy was in charge of operations, customer s
r service and communications for over 70 stores across the region. Speaking about her appointment, Shaughnessy said she is excited to bring her online community experience to life in stores for LSKD. LSKD, or ‘Loose Kid’ as the brand was once called, is known for creating high-quality and functional sportswear with a street aesthetic. It was founded in 2002 by Jason Daniel and now has eight retail stores in Australia, one in San Diego, US, with two new stores coming soon.The streetwear retailer is Australian-owned and operated, with a commitment to being a responsible, sustainable business that cares for its supply chain, people, and the planet, with a mission to inspire others to be 1 per cent better every day. LSKD was recently named ‘Business of the Year’ in the 2024 Telstra Best of Business Awards. It also took home the award for outstanding growth. Customer experience LSKD has ‘audacious’ growth plans for the next few years and Shaughnessy is expected to play a key role in helping the brand create a unique in-store experience and ensuring the right products are stocked in each store. New store openings are expected to increase customer engagement by making the brand more accessible to a wider community of new and existing shoppers, and allowing for products, culture and events to be showcased. As an omnichannel retailer, making it easier to shop the brand is the main priority, Shaughnessy told Inside Retail. “A key priority for us will be enhancing our omnichannel experience through ensuring our online and offline systems and processes are working together to create a seamless experience for our community,” she said. Maintaining and further enhancing the brand’s industry-leading customer experience through existing feedback channels that offer free returns, quick delivery, and bi-weekly product drops will be integral to amplifying online retail. Omnichannel approach The business will continue to leverage its existing software technology to drive growth and efficiency in its retail operations. It aims to offer a seamless retail experience whether shopping in an LSKD store, at a gym stockist or online and plans to implement new technologies in areas of the customer journey where inefficiencies are identified to improve the experience and flow. “We aim to ensure our community feels supported and satisfied through the whole process. This will include optimising technologies in all channels including online live chat, in-store ‘ship to customer’ and inventory accuracy systems like RFID,” Shaughnessy said. Store expansion and optimisation LSKD’s next growth phase will include significant investment in bricks-and-mortar retail, and two new stores will open in Queensland in the coming months. Its 10th store will open at Sunshine Plaza on March 10, and its 11th store at Pacific Fair on May 4. Part of this expansion strategy is to give LSKD customers the ability to shop directly with the brand. “We have a very audacious growth plan ahead of us – we will be looking to grow our retail stores across Australia and New Zealand over the next few years and ensure we are supporting our communities to be able to shop with us directly,” Shaughnessy said. By positioning its retail stores in locations with a lot of gyms and fitness studios, the brand can maximise the number of athletes and community members whose needs it can meet. LSKD recently took this concept on the road with its BAF (Big As F*ck) Bus, a pop-up on wheels. To ensure the brand is catering to the demographic of each geographical location it enters, Shaughnessy and the online team will work closely to analyse what each region is purchasing. The in-store design aims to create a seamless and fun retail experience, which Shaughnessy said should serve as an oasis for the LSKD community to spend time in even when they do not necessarily plan on making a purchase. “We will be elevating our in-store customer journey, creating local community events and developing a genuine team of leaders,” Shaughnessy said. Team development The LSKD team prides itself on actively creating a learning culture that encourages collaboration and accountability. Building a retail team of well-aligned and enthusiastic staff who are eager to continuously learn is integral to the success of any retail business. The LSKD leadership team emphasises the importance of this and will continue to echo it in hiring decisions. “We will be recruiting leaders who are excited to join a brand at a pinnacle time of growth, and who are driven by developing others,” Shaughnessy explained. “LSKD has a learning culture that was founded on the principles of the development we offer every team member today. From the core library books to the gift of Landmark, we want every team member to feel like they have the resources to be one per cent better every day. We have a learning intranet and many courses we already provide, and we will continue to elevate our onboarding processes and learning programs in the future as a key priority as we grow.”. Metrics and KPIs The key to LSKD’s rapid growth – the business had a turnover of $100 million in 2022-23 – is its pivot to becoming an e-commerce-led platform in 2018. Daniel, the founder and CEO, sought out business mentors in late 2017 after the business had been idling around $3 million in annual revenue for five years. Shaughnessy credits the brand’s authentic growth to partnering and fostering relationships with like-minded athletes, businesses, and community members, who bring the LSKD values to life. Moving forward each LSKD store will host community initiatives that collectively contribute to the brand’s ‘One Per Cent Better Club’. This will enable teams to attend classes and host local events in-store or in partnership with other local businesses. It also plans to hold regular feedback meetings with local athletes and LSKD community members to gather relevant product feedback and use it to continuously improve the product design and offering. Shaughnessy hinted at several new collaborations with leaders in the global fitness industry. These partnerships are part of the strategy to further reinforce the brand’s community approach within its identified key markets. Pride in the product LSKD products are constructed directly in collaboration with athletes, undergo vigorous testing and are intentionally purpose-built for all types of LSKD customers. In addition to the extensive online product offering, LSKD plans to curate the product range in each store based on its diverse and unique community. “We are also looking to create exclusive retail-only ranges and have retail-first launches in stores to celebrate the community that comes to see us,” Shaughnessy said.