bailey-nelson-store

Bailey Nelson's new Rundle Mall store. Source: supplied

Inspiration
Eloise Keating

From Bondi Markets to retail juggernaut: How Bailey Nelson brought a human touch to the eyewear industry

Authors
Eloise Keating
Retail
6 minute Read

Setting up a stall in the early morning light, arranging your products to entice customers walking by, hours spent hoping to make a sale. It’s a scenario familiar to the many Australian entrepreneurs that start their businesses selling at markets. And it is one Bailey Nelson co-founder Nick Perry remembers fondly. 

When Perry and business partner Peter Winkle first started selling fashionable glasses frames at the Bondi Market 10 years ago, they were aiming big; they knew the retail eyewear market was ripe for disruption, and they were armed with experience at The Iconic and Booz and Company (Perry) and McKinsey (Winkle).

But the pair may not have imagined their optometry and retail business would one day span 100 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, employ approximately 900 staff, and have annual turnover in the ballpark of $100 million. 

That revenue has grown by 28% year-on-year compared to last financial year, says Perry, and the company has doubled its store footprint in Canada to 35 since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Eyewear is of course a health purchase for many people, and the mass shift to remote work and Zoom meetings reinforced this. 

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