Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, a French fashion designer and businesswoman once said, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”
And this is what has inspired the brand and look of Eveni Carruthers.
Eveni Carruthers brand traces its origins to the coldness of Dumfries, Scotland, arid and dusty Melbourne, Australia and finally, the balmy and peaceful Fijian and Samoan islands.
And today, they now have retail outlets in Apia, Faleolo International Airport, Sheraton Samoa Aggie Greys Beach Resort Faleolo, Salelologa Savaii, Pago and Tafuna airport in American Samoa which is supported by their online stores.
Eveni Carruthers has undergone numerous changes with its business as its successive four generations take on challenges since it was incorporated as a private limited liability company in 1929.
In an interview with Hether Va’ai, Eveni’s Marketing Coordinator, she said that the success of Eveni has been due to “its ability to adapt to changes in the business conditions and also to a large extent, an element of luck.
“We are proud of our story and we try and share our unique colourful history through our branded products and even in the decor at the main store on Beach Road Apia.”
“Designing and creating our own branded products came out of a necessity to make ourselves different from the competition.
“We could no longer operate as usual and buy and sell products like everyone else. To survive in today's world with more and more international competition entering the market, we had to create and offer our own branded products at competitive pricing not only for the local market, but also globally, for exports.”
History and culture play a vital part in the new look of Eveni.
“The main themes of the Eveni Carruthers branded collections are inspired not only by history of the Eveni Carruthers family and business, but also by the Pacific cultural experience of our present fourth generation management team.
“We are very proud of our culture which we will continue to reflect in our work as we take the branded products globally to whoever appreciates and connects to them.”
It has taken five years to get to where they are now with their business and fashion line.
“We have, through trial and error worked to develop the range of new elei products and brands which now make up the latest, new looks of the Eveni Carruthers as the Elei Company.
“However, the global fashion business is very high risk and takes a long time to develop. We will keep a close eye on the markets and make another major move if, and when needed.
“We have developed the following brands - EveniPacific - our modern take on traditional elei formal wear, KokoPacific a premium resort and contemporary elei wear, EveniSport - Athleisure and urban street wear, EveniKIDS- our clothing and accessories line for children and GarlandsPacific - our range of home decor and furnishings. All our brands are sold in our physical and online stores alongside our authorized international brands - Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and Puma.”
And what contributes to the success of their brand being exposed internationally?
“Our team tries to be creative. At the same time, we keep an eye on what the market needs and the financing and supply chain arrangements to deliver the product to the market at the right price and right time,” said Hether.
“We believe our customers have become highly informed. They want top quality fashion products to be affordable and we price our branded products accordingly.
This needs a lot of reading, thinking and planning. You need to put in the work. Our team strives to know our product inside out and our targeted customers.
We try to prepare ourselves as much as we can - by studying the industry, the trends and potential competition – and then go for it!
“We spend a lot of time and money on traditional and social media advertising and promotion of the branded products which have exposed our branded products globally.
“We are also thankful that there is currently a strong resurgence of creative fashion in Samoa and the Pacific which has made it easier for a Samoan or Pacific fashion business like Eveni Carruthers to share and feed off creating products for the global market.”
Following the exposure of their new brand and collection internationally, Eveni have been fortunate to have a number of top personalities outside of Samoa wearing their products.
One of them is the actress of the Moana Disney Movie, Auli’i Cravalho and also Jojo To’omata of Te Vaka wore a shirt from Eveni at the Premiere of the Moana last week.
“We are very fortunate to have her (Auli’i) dressed in our own branded clothing,” said Hether.
“We have also been very lucky and blessed that a number of top personalities from heads of governments, sports personalities and now film stars have worn our branded products.
“However, this creates more pressure on us to maintain and further improve on our fashion designs.”
So what’s next for Eveni?
“We have to keep working on our creativity to bring out more new products and designs tailored to our market. This will involve not only our in-house design team but also collaborations with some of the up and coming designers in Samoa and other neighbouring Pacific countries.
“Following our recent exhibitions in local and international Fashion Shows in September 2016, we are happy to see that our latest EveniPacific Manuia Collection made up of men’s and boy’s shirts as well as the introduction of the new corporate wear of puletasi tops & blouses for women, girl’s puletasi sets and dresses have been well received.”