Niche Brisbane distributor sets up European expansion base

By Martin Vedris

BRISBANE: In under three years, three former Crest Electronics employees have gone from a local start-up to European upstarts, and they did it by aligning themselves with a narrow client base with a massive retail distribution.

E3! Style supplies Coles and Woolworths companies, including Dick Smith, Tandy, Big W, Target, Kmart and even Aldi. The company’s product range includes audio visual, IT and optical products with brands such as A4 Tech, G-Cube, DPI, PPlus and SAKAR.

E3! is Vanessa Jordan, Jill Mulder and Richard Chen. All three are ex-Crest Electronics employees who chose to do business a different way: source and develop product from China, but only for a few major retail chains. The business model worked and now the company is setting up in The Netherlands to work the same model in select European markets.

“We chose the Netherlands because we have a lot of networks over there and we needed a European base,” said Richard Chen. “Jill is from Holland, so it is easy access to the rest of the European countries from there.”

The company has also launched into the USA, but the European market was high on the agenda.

“We’re already working with a couple of US companies and the way we laid out our expansion plan, we only work with a limited distribution in each country — we focus on large retail networks.”

The company’s new Netherlands office, in the city of Zwolle, will work with European retailers to design product specific to their markets.

“In Europe, because there are many different countries there, you need to spend more time developing it and we’re planning to have a dozen contacts over there to make sure we drive the business properly,” said Chen.

According to the company, its first European market priorities include the UK, France, Germany and Benelux.

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