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Dressed for success

How an Aussie e-retailer entrusted Deloitte Private to steer the growth of a family business

With her fashion businesses growing at warp speed, Alana Pallister found the perfect partner in Deloitte Private.

When fashion entrepreneur Alana Pallister hired Deloitte Private six years ago, her business was booming. Tiger Mist, the young women’s label that Pallister launched with her sister, Stevie, in 2008, had strong online sales momentum and was at the forefront of tapping social media to engage with customers.

Fast-forward to 2021 and that success has been turbocharged. A second label, I.Am.Gia, launched in 2017 and has had a meteoric rise – especially in the United States, where its huge growth accounts for two-thirds of the brand’s total sales. Turnover for the business has grown seven-fold and each label has more than a million Instagram followers. Such is their success that Pallister is set  to launch a third label, CDP, for the young corporate market, in April. Inspired by  and named after her mother and mentor, Christine Dawn Pallister, CDP will debut modern suiting in timeless tones, as well as a platform featuring podcasts and a blog to empower and inspire the next generation of businesswomen. “Conversation is a powerful tool and we can learn so much when we truly listen to those around us,” she says.  Pallister’s early social media savvy was instrumental in recruiting a loyal fan base and she’s continued to evolve the ways she reaches her customers. “Being one of the first brands to have a real presence on social platforms – one that our customers were engaging with organically – put us at the forefront,”  she says. “Initially, it was an opportunity to communicate with customers but it progressed naturally as a means of building brand loyalty. 

It started on Facebook then moved to Instagram and now TikTok; we’ve constantly adapted to our customer’s habits and interests by producing relevant, engaging content.”With her empire scaling so rapidly, Pallister turned to Deloitte Private as she looked to take on international markets. “Alana realised that she needed a bigger firm to help her navigate the next cycle of growth,” says Elise Elliott, who leads Deloitte Private’s Family Enterprise group in Victoria, specialising in systems and solutions for private and family-run businesses. “Tiger Mist was looking to expand into the US. The business was very profitable but it was just Alana, her sister  and a couple of others at the time.”The company now employs 61 staff in

Australia, as well as seven in the US. Elliott helped recruit a CFO and continues to act as a trusted adviser to Pallister on issues such  as cash-flow management, tax compliance and asset protection. “By understanding the needs of our business, Deloitte was able to facilitate our global expansion, particularly the complex US market,” says Pallister.  “This has resulted in huge growth: more than 20 per cent for Tiger Mist and 85 per cent for I.Am.Gia in the US in 2020.”

When COVID-19 hit, Elliott and Pallister remained in frequent contact, discussing cash-flow planning and other steps that helped the business not just survive but thrive. “Deloitte has always taken a personalised approach to address the specific needs of our business and to continually review and adapt our strategy in the face of a rapidly changing environment,” says Pallister. “For me, working with Elise has been a dream.”