There are literally dozens of Australian businesses who have opened shop in New York. Some we know well, and others not so well.
We want our readers to learn about these businesses, where they are located, as well as share the personal stories of their owners.
We spoke with Melinda Robertson and Sarah Blank to learn more about their business Scanlan Theodore located at 117 Prince Street in SoHo.
Sarah, where were you and Melinda born and educated in Australia?
Melinda and I were both born in Melbourne and we attended the University of Melbourne for our undergraduate studies.
What did you both do in Australia before arriving in the US?
Melinda worked in Investment Banking in Melbourne and Sydney, most recently at Deutsche Bank. I worked in Management Consulting.
Sarah, what brought you to the US?
I originally moved to the US to complete my MBA at MIT. I met a guy there and after school we decided to move to NYC together. I found a job in finance, he works with tech startups. Ten years later, we are happily living in NYC, married and with two kids.
I moved to the US for love. I decided to pack up my life and follow my husband-to-be over here. My family thought I’d lost my mind! Needless to say it all worked out as we are now married with twin one year old boys.
Melinda, what inspired you both to open Scanlan Theodore in New York?
Sarah and I were both working in finance in NYC, and we were always complimented by our colleagues and friends on our work attire – we both wore Scanlan Theodore exclusively. It was clear there is a gap in the US market for high quality women’s clothing that is both versatile and flattering for a corporate environment.
Sarah approached Gary Theodore about launching the brand over here and asked me to join her. Gary is a creative genius and the most wonderful business partner. Given the positive feedback we have been receiving from friends and colleagues, and our passion and belief in the product, it was a no-brainer.
Sarah, what is unique about Scanlan Theodore?
What makes Scanlan Theodore unique is its exceptional quality and timeless designs. Gary designs pieces that are both understated and elegant. In this era of ‘fast fashion’ where everything is disposable and nothing lasts, we are advocating quality over quantity.
Our pieces are of the highest quality and are designed to be worn season after season. I have Scanlan Theodore pieces on rotation in my wardrobe that I purchased ten years ago, and every time I put them on I feel exceptional. Sarah and I are delighted to be able to provide the same experience to our US customers.
What advice do you have for anyone opening a business in the US?
It’s all about the product and the team. You must have a great product and have identified a true gap in the market. Look for a great business partner and build a solid team of people who are truly better than you at what they do.
You also need to take calculated risks.
If you are going to quit your day job and invest your life savings in a business venture, analyze your worst case scenario where everything goes pear shaped, if you and your family can survive that, and you truly believe in what you are doing, then go for it!
Scanlan Theodore, 117 Prince Street, SoHo NYC 10014