Alright, I have some big news for you about the future of BM. Unfortunately, it’s not the exciting/fun/cool kind of news... it’s the other kind.
So I’ll cut straight to it: we’ve made the decision to close BMLA and merge the US webstore back into the AU webstore.
It goes without saying that this has been an unbelievably challenging decision to make. In getting to this point there has been a lot of discussion, a lot of emotion, and a lot of sleepless nights. It’s really not a decision we wanted to make but we’ve had to make the call. I know this will affect a large number of our customers so I wanted to write this blog post to keep you in the loop.
What has lead us to this decision?
1. The drastic drop in the value of the Australian dollar
When we first opened the US store, the Australian and US currencies were pretty much valued the same. We knew there would be currency fluctuations and we expected them, but we didn’t expect the spectacular dive in the Australian dollar that we saw last year. For some companies this is not a big deal, however, for a place like us that manufactures and distributes locally it really messed things up. US customers ended up paying more from the US operation than from the Australian operation. We found ourselves in the absurd situation where it was cheaper for sharkies in LA to buy clothes made in Australia than to buy the exact same garment made 10 minutes down the road.
2. The US site is too expensive for the Aussie and international sharkies to shop on.
On the flip side, after the drastic currency drop, US prices soared and it became an extremely unaffordable for Australian and international girls to buy from our US store.
This meant that any products we sold only on the US site would simply get passed over by most sharkies. The US only products sold, but they just didn’t sell as many as they could have or should have. Even though many girls wanted these pieces, they were reluctant to actually buy them, knowing that they were paying a lot more simply because they were being made in the US.
This meant we couldn't split our product range across both sites and had to replicate every single product across both operations. Not particularly efficient.
3. The US customs issue has (pretty much) disappeared
Something very important happened on March 11th 2016. The US government raised the minimum for customs taxes on products going into the US from US$200 to a very respectable US$800. Basically, the US government figured out what the boys in Las Vegas have known for years - that if you’re going to fleece someone, you might as well fleece big spenders. The upside here is that the only US customers who are going to get hit with taxes by buying Black Milk from Australia are those putting in individual orders for over AU$1000, and that doesn’t happen often.
So that’s where we are at - we have been making the exact same clothes in two different locations and selling them at two different prices. Now that the customs thing is no longer really a thing it really doesn’t make sense anymore. We will start winding the operation down next week, so Off Beat will be the last collection produced by BMLA.
In conclusion, I want to mention a couple of really important things:
First, a massive thank you to all the US team. I always loved my visits to LA and you guys gave it 100% every day. I will definitely miss you guys.
Second, an equally massive thank you to all the sharkies who supported BMLA, you stuck by us, and that means a lot to me.
Lastly, please understand that we are certainly not giving up on our US customers. No way! We will continue to promote BlackMilk in the US, we will simply be directing all our US customers to the one website.
And, don't worry, we will continue to do events and fun stuff in the US - parties, pop-ups, cons, and more. Promise. :)
All the best.
P.S We've made a list of helpful FAQ's, check them out here.