Banks Journal, a clothing brand inspired by coastal living and a love of design, is having a successful start to 2018.
The brand opened their first direct-to-consumer retail store at Row DTLA on Jan. 2. They worked with West of West to design the 1,000-square-foot space to showcase the entirety of the line and tell the complete brand story.
Banks Journal’s wholesale business is looking strong for 2018 as well.
“We went well over budget for Spring and Summer 2018,” Co-Founder Rama McCabe said. “For Spring ‘18 we grew 270% season-on-season. Globally, we grew 187% with the majority of the increase coming from the North American market. Summer ‘18 we again had a really strong result with the U.S., increasing its wholesale business by 180% season-on-season and globally by 161%.”
Sales are strongest in the United States, followed by Japan, Australia, Canada and select retailers in Europe.
The brand invests most of its resources in product, timely deliveries and providing great service to its retailers.
“Because we focus on the strength of the business rather than direct-to-consumer marketing, we see more success in the fashion market where people trust the retailers to carry quality products,” Rama said. “We are performing quite well in American Rag, Bloomingdales, Stitch Fix, Azalea, Aloha Beach Club and Jack Threads.”
Along with those fashion retailers, Banks Journal works closely with Jack’s, Thalia Surf Shop, Icons of Surf, Hobie Surf Shop, and First Surf Shop.
“Banks performs well,” Nick Cocores of Thalia Surf Shop said. “We look to Banks for the clean, well-made surf gear. They do a great job and pay a lot of attention to detail on all of their apparel.”
Banks Journal is designed globally out of their Byron Bay office but draws inspiration from their Tokyo and Newport Beach locations.
The brand was co-founded by Masa Shibahara and Motoo Noda of Tokyo, and Tim Cochran and Rama McCabe of Byron Bay.
Banks Journal combines the fashion influence of Japan with the action sports industry in Newport Beach and the coastal lifestyle of Byron Bay to design each line.
Woven shirts are a key category for the brand, followed by tees and fleece.
“For fall 2018 we stepped up our jacketing line from three or four styles to six or seven styles,” Rama said. “We also added a second colorway to each of those styles.”
Banks Journal’s co-founders have a strong background in design and create pieces with utility, function and sustainability in mind.
They use as many environmentally friendly fabrics as possible. All of the tees and most fleece items are made with organic cotton. Repurposed soda bottles are used to create the polyester tags and many boardshort styles.
Rama is pleased with the first half of 2018, and is looking forward to the rest of the year.
“This was a fantastic result for us at the summer season, and second quarter is usually a tough one for us with it being such a small part of the Japanese and Australian markets,” Rama said. “With these strong results in the first half of 2018 and the increased focus on our product development and marketing, we are looking forward to a continued positive curve in our global business for the second half of the year.”