James and Erica Bartle at Outland Denim headquarters in Mt Tamborine.
James and Erica Bartle at Outland Denim headquarters in Mt Tamborine.

Meghan Markle's top jeans choice gives boost to designer

BREAKING into the cutthroat world of the denim jeans industry is no easy feat.

And staking claim to being a world-leading brand is rare - especially for a social enterprise.

But that's what happened t business Outland Denim after a successful online campaign resulted in the sale of a pair of skinny black jeans to The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

During last year's royal tour of Australia, when the newlywed couple announced they were having a baby, the Duchess wore a pair of the Outland Denim's jeans.

JOBLESS FUNDING

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle wears a pair of black skinny jeans made by Mount Tamborine denim designer Outland Denim.
Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle wears a pair of black skinny jeans made by Mount Tamborine denim designer Outland Denim.

Since then, the company, based at Mount Tamborine, has grown from strength to strength, which is expected to continue after it received a $7000 state government grant to promote itself online.

The sustainable jeans designer, whose motto is profit for purpose, is one of 237 Queensland small businesses to share in $1 million of state government grants to enhance their digital capabilities.

Outland Denim co-founder Erica Bartle said the money would be spent on employing a specialist to develop a plan to improve the three-year-old company's online sales and website in the highly competitive e-commerce environment.

James and Erica Bartle at Outland Denim headquarters at Mt Tamborine. Meghan Markle wore their jeans on their Royal Tour to Australia, bringing a global focus to the brand. Picture by Luke Marsden.
James and Erica Bartle at Outland Denim headquarters at Mt Tamborine. Meghan Markle wore their jeans on their Royal Tour to Australia, bringing a global focus to the brand. Picture by Luke Marsden.

"Greater online brand recognition will lead to more sales and ultimately we will be able to employ more vulnerable people," Ms Bartle said.

Employment and Small Business Minister Shannon Fentiman said the grants were to help small businesses success and then employ more staff.

"It's fantastic that we can assist businesses like Outland Denim who are doing incredible work in the social enterprise space, producing high-quality denim clothing while offering sustainable employment and training opportunities to women who have experienced exploitation," Ms Fentiman said.

"We know 62 per cent of customers stop considering a small business if they can't find them online, which is why it's so important to invest in businesses to increase their online presence."

Since 2016 the Small Business Digital Grants program has supported more than 1400 small businesses in Queensland with more than $7 million.

Round seven of the Small Business Digital Grants opens on 11 November 2019.