Cotton On Company Profile


The Cotton On brand was founded on the surf coast of Victoria Australia in 1991 with a single store and a handful of employees. In 14 years the company has grown to over 70 retail stores Australia wide, with a further 20 stores planned for the 05/06 financial year.

Primarily, Cotton On operates as a ‘design to retail’ business allowing huge flexibility over the design and timing of product released to the retail outlets.

Our mission is to become the most innovative and responsive brand within our market without compromising the values that have made us what we are today.

We pride ourselves on making our customer feel and look fashionable without the guilt of spending excess dollars — fashion should be fun, affordable and updated weekly.

Cotton On represents huge value for money — leading fashion at affordable prices.


An important element of the Cotton On success story has been the strength and commitment from our people to maintain and improve the standard of product and the service to our customers. When customers visit Cotton On, they are not just walking into a store; they are entering a brand.

Cotton on has identified a significant niche in the market for exceptionally quality, fashionable and affordable casual clothes. To maintain this, the product team are continually exposed to emerging local and overseas trends that reflect the lifestyle of our core customer base. Our product team travels regularly to Europe, UK, USA, China and India, constantly sourcing items that reflect our customer. Weeks are spent working on the fit, colour palettes and price points, all to make the end result an item that stands alone in the retail environment.

Our stores have a strong presence and vibe, as do our team members. This backed up with the product quality, provides an ambience that has our customer coming back continually. The company’s corporate image is represented by a high standard of visual merchandising under central control. This ensures that every Cotton On store is unmistakable, presenting a consistent face to consumers.

Our young teams are all very diligent and take their positions very seriously. Their primary focus is making sure that all our customers leave feeling and looking good, with a positive and happy experience. However, in the volume market it is vital that our product speaks for itself — shopping is done faster than ever these days and decisions are made on the spot. Our product focuses on key elements like touch, colour and price point so the customer is not confused.

Cotton On invests in the future to ensure continued success. We look to areas of store design, distribution of product, quality assurance, management and training personnel. Store presentation is monitored continually and an ongoing store refurbishment strategy ensures that the required high standard is always maintained.

The primary focus of our real estate strategy is locating and developing stores that provide a comfortable shopping environment and positive store atmosphere that will allow the customer to feel the pleasure of buying fashion.

Design Team

Our talented team brings to the table years of combined experience in the fashion industry, in both Australia and overseas, and in both commercial and high fashion.

Rather than designing what the market already has, the design team focus heavily on what they believe is the next big thing in graphics and styling and furthermore capitalizes upon a keen fashion sense and highly regarded talent to style and place garments together.

This cutting edge style is also applied to the every day basics program such as ribs, racers, tees, and denim to inject a whole new life into our core product. Focusing on innovative artwork and styling, a unique yet highly commercial garment is created. Cotton On’s unique approach to design found a gap big enough to make a noise that attracts attention. Our standard of ranges has created a niche positioning for the brand, as it reflects contemporary and fashionable product at an affordable price.

The owners, Nigel and Tania Austin oversee the team personally, supporting and approving all designs; every garment has been thoroughly thought through, the emphasis in particular on the following factors;

  1. Consistency
  2. Responding to the customer needs
  3. Innovation

The Design, Graphic and Merchandising Teams travel extensively overseas to monitor where the market is moving, focusing on fashion direction and product performance. From the inspiration derived they create the look and the feel for each seasons merchandise.

Product which makes the brand distinctive, fashionable and wearable.

Customer Profile

Our customer is not easily defined. We attract consumers from both the surfwear & streetwear markets as well as a more fashion conscious lifestyle brand consumer. Our brand is complimentary to all three markets. We are careful to provide product that can adapt to ones own use of clothing as self-expression and enhance their own image through fashion.

Cotton On is primarily a youth focused brand targeting the 18 — 30 yrs age bracket. The consumer is fashion aware yet, not dictated to. They are ingeniously looking to achieve the season’s look without the designer price tags.

Menswear has the directional yet masculine look of contemporary urban wear

He feels comfortable within our store, he knows what he wants, ‘a print tee with a zip through – oh yeah and a pair of jeans’. He knows at Cotton On that he can’t go wrong, even without his partner. He is happy to carry the Cotton On bag with confidence.

Ladies wear consists of fashion basics and high trend garments for everyday wear

She, on the other hand, cannot help herself from touching, grabbing and making her way to the fitting rooms. She layers up her basics and finishes off with a fashion top. She shops with us continually and looks for the weekly injections of new product. By entering our stores she knows that she can obtain the latest looks at a price she’s happy with.

Our customer appreciates the innovative designs, graphics, use of fabrics, colours, and furthermore enjoys this visually appealing apparel product at a value for money price.


In 2005, Cotton On is considered a major player in the casual contemporary fashion market. Initially the company relied on very little commercial marketing and let the product and store presentation do the talking. Cotton On now regards marketing as an important element in its future growth, and has implemented a public relations program, as well as updating it’s website, promotions, and in store POS.

This area is developing daily with an active advertising campaign in its development stages. We feel this is imperative to ensure that the brand integrity is developed in an appropriate manner and at a consistent rate.