Fashion from the Eyes of an Entrepreneur

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GRANA’s Founder and CEO Luke Grana didn’t know much about fashion retail models before starting GRANA, but is one helluva entrepreneur.

By Lee Ying Ying

“My most satisfying experience at GRANA is… Moving into our new warehouse. It all started in a 500 sq ft warehouse in Kennedy Town, with three team members in October 2014. Two years later, we now have 50 team members and an 18,000 sq ft warehouse in Wong Chuk Hang!”

Have you ever walked into a fashion store and walked out empty handed because it wasn’t worth paying an excessive amount of money for poor quality clothes? Or bought something really cheap online and realised that when it arrived, its quality was actually synonymous with its price? I bet you were peeved.

GRANA’s Founder and CEO Luke Grana thought the same way. Disappointed by low quality and high mark-ups in the fashion industry, GRANA was conceived. Based in Hong Kong, the clothing label offers timeless wardrobe essentials made from the world’s best fabrics at guilt-free prices.

The thing is, Luke was never a fashionista. He knew little about trends and retail businesses before starting GRANA, so he worked the floors at ZARA and French Connection for half a year in order to learn about customer service from a retail perspective. “I was able to understand purchasing behaviour, the inefficiencies of the fashion industry, and be inspired to develop a new way to do things,” says the Australian millennial.

“I’m not from the fashion world. This means I come at the business from a different perspective – the back-end infrastructure, warehousing logistics, and supply chain,” he continues. “The market opportunity is in Asia Pacific, that’s why I moved from Sydney to Hong Kong to start as an e-commerce business with a lean supply chain.”

“My happy place in life is… Surfing. I’m from Manly, Sydney, and I grew up surfing. There’s something about it. You don’t have anything to distract you when you’re out there. It’s relaxing and calming. I can think about the future and improve on things. Everything becomes clear to me.”

Luke is however, well-equipped with a business background and the enthusiasm to disrupt a traditional and inefficient industry. He’s been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, having opened three espresso bars, an electric vehicle infrastructure provider and network operator company with ChargePoint.

With Steve Jobs as his source of inspiration, Luke strives to stay true to his original vision by creating innovative products focusing on simplicity and user experience. As Hong Kong’s vibrant apparel scene continues to evolve, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to lose their customers. This opened the window of opportunity to provide high-quality products at a reasonable price point, and he seized it.

“If my 24-year-old self could see me now… He would be very happy, excited and overwhelmed with starting an e-commerce fashion brand and seeing what it has achieved today.”

What customers require is a mid-range brand innovative enough to understand the modern customer and cater their retail services to both digital and offline audiences. There’s already more than enough fashion brands at both ends of the spectrum: luxury and low-end, and it’s also difficult to source for quality and durable basics that have no ostentatious branding. “Always think differently and challenge the status quo,” says Luke. Indeed, that’s why GRANA’s positioning is a hit with customers worldwide.

By ensuring that the logistics systems are – in their own words – “lean and mean”, GRANA can maintain low prices for high-quality apparels. They are sourced directly from fabric mills in their countries of origin, sent straight to the manufacturer, then to their warehouse in Hong Kong. As for how good their quality is, Luke has hired trusted designers to draw from their creative expertise to construct a wardrobe essential collection with a GRANA twist. Check out their Peruvian Pima Cotton in the online store for yourselves!

Images by GRANA

GRANA has a range of high-quality fabrics to choose from, such as Peruvian Pima Cotton, Japanese Denim, Mongolian Cashmere, and Irish Linen. Explore their journey behind the fabrics and how they made them here.