From Geelong to Berlin

Posted: October 3, 2011 by jelenapotpara1987 in Arts & Culture, Geelong, Music, Social Issues

Everybody knows them. Whether it’s because that charmer sitting across from them on the train is wearing this tee


or because all the cool kids at last month’s festival were spotted in that little dress. Maybe it’s because that cutie from Home and Away models for them. Or perhaps it is because of the controversy over their pro-child abuse slogans. Have you guessed?

Here’s some thinking music Yes! It’s Australia’s very own Cotton On.

Unlike other retailers who are closing shop quicker than you can say ‘online shopping’, Cotton On is opening a new store weekly. From humble beginnings in Geelong 20 years ago to over 800 stores in and out of Australia – the retail giant is now adding to its success with their first store-opening in Europe. Location? Berlin, Germany.

To celebrate, over 400 staff members attended a ‘German Party’ because, hey, we all know the Germans sure know how to party! “As soon as we walked in there was a spread of delicious food – sausages, goulashes – they went all out. Even the steins had Cotton On logos!” says partygoer and Graphics Designer, Katerina Petrovska.

The company is taking on the European market like it has the Aussie, Kiwi, US and Asian markets. But what will this mean for local employees? Geelong based Petrovska admits that she is producing designs by the minute. “It’s a fast paced industry and we are always on the go trying to keep up with the latest fashions and trends,” she says. “I’ve designed tees for our Aussie market, the Asian market – you know heaps of foil, glitter and diamantes – and now the European market, which is really cool”.

Store Manager, Renee McCaskill, attributes the company’s success to always being “on trend and affordable. You can walk into a store and pick out a whole outfit for under $100.” But there is more to this retail giant than cheap, generic t-shirts and attention grabbing slogans. With the help of the Cotton On Foundation there is a real sense of community amongst staff and shoppers alike.

The initiatives help local and overseas projects, and McCaskill gives it a big tick of approval: “we try to keep the work environment fun and exciting by having fundraising days for the foundation which usually means dressing up in theme.” If Geelongians want in on the fun they can join the foundation’s annual fun run this November, which is raising money for the Geelong Hospital Children’s Ward. And who knows – Dan Ewing may just be there!


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