In the second edition of the Retailer Series, we chat with Jason Minty, Managing Director at BECKER MINTY and discover how a flight attendant and a fashion designer came to create one of Sydney’s top destinations for unique retail products and exactly what ‘Mr Minty’ quirkiness is.
The Becker Minty story started with me traveling all over the world for 12 years as a flight attendant for Qantas and buying many gifts for my friends and family. After that career came to an end, my friend Christopher Becker (who was a fashion designer at the time) and I decided to join forces to create something special for Sydney.
We wanted to create a retail space that allowed us to provide an experience for those who paid us a visit. We wanted to display items in a fashion that would be easier for the customer to visualise., whether it be fashion, home wares or art.
I select products that speak to me. But to do this, they must be stylish, desirable, individual and have a certain ‘Mr Minty’ quirkiness to them. We buy from Australia and all over the world, and items generally have a story – whether it be about their manufacture, their designer, their uniqueness or simply their use.
What is your personal favourite product?
Too many to say! I love way too many of them that’s why the store is filled with so many different category products. I’m a Libra I can’t ever choose just one!
You cannot live without?
For myself I’ve always loved vintage – so items that have a history and a uniqueness make me smile.
One of our Artists, James King, often paints historically inspired artworks, or with a somewhat vintage colour palette. His works can be very nostalgic and people (including myself) fall in love with them at first sight. They often conjured up childhood memories, and I can’t live without James’s work in my life.
Your best seller?
Too many to say. Our BECKER MINTY Crystal Glassware is almost impossible to keep in stock. Artwork sells incredibly well as does our vintage jewellery.
I’m always discovering new designers and products – the undiscovered ones are out there somewhere waiting for me. I travel regularly so I can find them. This journey of discovery is a big part of BECKER MINTY’s DNA.
What challenges have you faced with retail moving more into a digital space and what advice would you give to still maintain brand image across multiple platforms?
The digital space can be very daunting just because of the sheer amount of information out there. If you don’t know, you don’t know and that’s okay! Being technologically savvy isn’t for everyone. However, the focus has always been the same and that’s to maintain a dialogue with your customer. The digital space has allowed us to maintain a dialogue with our customer and enable us to reach new clientele in a much more convenient way, whether they’re feet up at home with a gin and tonic or halfway across the world traveling for work. Maintaining brand image across multiple platforms boils down to threading your brand identity through every element that you’re delivering in your business regardless of whether it’s through the images you put online or the service that you give in store. Keeping up with the digital world is simply hard work.
What is your number 1 social media tip?
Being consistent is key. Consistent in frequency and message. We love social media it helps us stay in touch with our customers outside of the store and it’s so fabulous to see our followers engage and have a bit of a laugh. Images are everything (and that’s a constant challenge).
What was your intention for Becker Minty before you even opened the doors?
It was really to create a space where you could come in and it’ll be always filled with new and exciting this that you had to have in your home. Our motto has always been to expect the unexpected.
What have you learnt about your customers over time?
They change, they develop, they love something new and they love the surprise element of our ever changing store. We love our customers (especially or regulars) as they are like family.
What is your top tip for other entrepreneurs?
Stay true to your brand, try not to deviate when you think you have to. You can’t be everything to everyone.
What have you learned through past failures?
Don’t stress. Everything will figure itself out. However, I still stress but it’ll still figure itself out.
Maybe we can draw something from Elon Musk’s first wife.
What excites you most about the future of retail?
It will be a challenge to keep up with the changing world, but boy will we have fun trying to.