Words by Keane Fletcher
We're almost one week into business at our newly opened store at Kawana Shopping World and the response so far has been amazing! To celebrate this newly broadened vision for the Hipland brand, we're spending the next week sitting down with some of our favourite creators to see just exactly what makes them (and their brand) tick.
Next up, Birmingham-based Hemal Chauhan, managing director of Bene Culture. Opening officially in 2016, Chauhan has been a crucial part of Bene Culture since its inception, taking the brand from a a humble £50 investment to a full-blown flagship store in the British city of Birmingham where it stocks upwards of 80 different brands. Multi-genred and multi-faceted, the brand also prides itself on its 'responsible fashion' ethic, sourcing and producing its products mere walking distance from Bene Culture HQ and with local suppliers.
To celebrate Bene Culture's place on our shelves we sat down with Chauhan to talk all things fashion, branding, and why sometimes getting out of your own way is the best advice.
You can check out some of their apparel here on the Hipland website and keep scrolling for our interview with Hemal Chauhan below!
1- How did Bene Culture get started?
We actually started back in 2013 when we thought of the name of the brand; unfortunately at the time, it was next to impossible to get links for printing/production so we put everything on the back burner until we could try again. Then back in 2016, we felt that it was the right time to start again but we switched the project to focus on vintage sportswear and workwear and put the brand side to the side. Within a few months, we gained close to 100K followers on Depop and decided to introduce under-the-radar brands and the initial start of our own in-house brand. That was only the start; within a few months of the additions, we felt it was time to launch our first brick-and-mortar store.
2- What was the original vision for the brand? Has it changed much over the years?
Our initial vision for the brand was to focus on good culture; through our products, people and projects. We have tried to stay consistent with this and it has led us to work with a range of artists and host close to 40+ events with a range of different people and event styles (ranging from dining clubs, movie premiers, pop-ups and much more).
3- Was there a crucial tipping point that helped solidify your vision for Bene Culture?
The major tipping point for us was the launch of our store; it allowed us to meet new people and be able to collaborate on projects we would've never been able to do in the past. Some of the people we met at the start are just as important now as they were 5 years ago.
4- Talk us through some of Bene Culture‘s biggest failures. What did you learn from them?
We haven't really ever had a major failure but we have had a lot of hic-ups along the way especially as we had no experience in being a brand or retailer. That includes stuff like having to create a year's worth of drops in a week in the middle of a pandemic, losing vintage suppliers out of nowhere, and even traveling to Paris to win over a brand when we first started off. A lot of the issues helped us become the brand we are today.
5- How do you feel about being stocked in Australia?
Super stoked; we need to head down under soon 😉
6- What are your hopes for the future of the brand?
Our main hope is to stay true to our ethos and continue working with great people and making everything bigger and better. Then hopefully ruling the world; shouldn't take too long.
7- What advice would you give to other up-and-coming brands and creators?
Just start and see what happens.
Hipland's brick-and-mortar store is open now at Kawana Shopping World on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!