Australian fashion brand Insight has just launched its online eCommerce globally, marked by a campaign collaboration with more than 20 creatives who will partner with the brand and Art by Friends.

Called ‘Systems Reboot’, the campaign series brings together graphic designers, digital and 3D artists, animators, videographers and musicians from Australia, US, Asia and Europe to produce original and immersive branded content.

Insight is a subsidiary of Alquemie Group.

Insight’s global launch will include a new standalone website and exclusive ranges, as well as a stronger presence in General Pants and a new e-commerce partnership with SurfStitch. Both are also subsidiaries in the Alquemie Group portfolio.

The second series of collaborations under Art By Friends will launch in early 2023, including exclusive merchandise and events.

Alquemie Group CEO Sacha Laing said this is a strategic move for Insight, which he describes as a brand that blends style and alternative subculture.

“With a streak for rebellion and challenging the status quo, Insight celebrates self-expression and viewing the world through a unique lens, and we look forward to continuing its growth trajectory with this global launch,” Laing said.

Insight was founded in Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 1993, bringing alternative fashion through skate, surfing, art, music.

Originally inspired by the alternative lifestyles and subcultures of surf, skate, art, music and fashion, Insight was founded on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and reimagined bold to create a signature apparel brand.

Alquemie Group CCO Jacq Vuleta said the global launch marks Insight’s evolution as it collaborates with artists internationally.

The first Art by Friends series includes collaborations with Austin-based video-artist Alex Aulson, Australian graphic designer Jericho Marcel, Paris-based visual and audio artist Michael Renassia, Stockholm-based graphic designer Achilles Marondis, US based digital creator Blaine Pate and music by Australian-based band Teenage Dads.

Alquemie Group is a retail and consumer investment platform managed by ACTA Capital. It’s current portfolio includes LEGO® Certified Stores, General Pants, SurfStitch, Ginger & Smart, Pumpkin Patch and National Geographic apparel (a partnership with the Walt Disney Company). It expects additional acquisitions in the future.

This article originally appeared in Ragtrader:


Richard Facioni, chair of retail groups Alquemie and Mosaic Brands – with upwards of 1,000 stores and brands including SurfStitch, General Pants, LEGO Store, Ginger & Smart, Noni B and Rivers – thinks ecom pure players may be in trouble. Facioni hates the word ‘omnichannel’ but says it’s the future of profitable retail.

“Personalisation, hyper-personalisation, real-time analytics of what the customers are doing. That, to me, is where we’re heading,” says Richard Facioni.

Fresh back from Dreamforce, Facioni’s helping steer both group’s commerce and ERP stacks, with a customer data platform likely to follow. He also predicts social commerce will be the next revenue frontier.

Originally published in Mi3. For more, see the full article here:


Alquemie Group today announced a new retail collaboration with National Geographic within the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) market that will see Alquemie opening a portfolio of new National Geographic experiential retail destinations across the regions, in addition to a dedicated e-commerce channel.

Richard Facioni, Founder and CEO, ACTA Capital and Executive Chairman of Alquemie Group comments: “We are excited to join forces with The Walt Disney Company and National Geographic to bring one of the world’s most highly regarded and recognised brands to retail across ANZ.

“This landmark agreement with Disney strengthens Alquemie Group’s emerging position as one of the country’s largest retail operators and investors. We intend to strategically grow its retail and consumer brands footprint, exploring relevant investment opportunities with leading local and global operators and exciting new goods across apparel, accessories and adventure travel.”

Kylie Watson-Wheeler, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for The Walt Disney Company in Australia and New Zealand comments: “National Geographic is unrivalled in its ability to bring people closer to the wonders of the world. The extension of the National Geographic brand with exciting new retail experiences brings our loyal and deeply engaged fans and consumers in Australia and New Zealand even closer to the science, adventure and exploration that National Geographic is world-renowned for.”

Meagan Sanders, VP & GM, Consumer Products of The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand comments: “We look forward to collaborating with Alquemie Group to bring our National Geographic branded stores to local explorers at heart and continue the successful expansion of our stores across the Asia-Pacific region.

“With over 133 years of brand heritage and the notable resonance and relevance that
National Geographic has in the Australian and New Zealand markets, we couldn’t be happier to bring our unique offering of National Geographic apparel and accessories to consumers and fans in those regions.”

Alquemie Group is a retail investment vehicle managed by ACTA Capital. The Alquemie portfolio consists of a number of leading consumer and lifestyle businesses including LEGO® Certified Stores, General Pants, Ginger & Smart, SurfStitch and is currently exploring additional investments and licensing partnerships, with some in advanced discussions.


Alquemie Group and the LEGO® Group today opened the largest LEGO® Certified Store in the Southern Hemisphere at Melbourne Central (GPT).

The 559sqm custom-made store showcases an immersive new retail concept featuring hybrid digital and physical experiences designed to inspire creativity and encourage play.

Richard Facioni, Executive Chairman, Alquemie Group comments: “The new landmark LEGO experience is set to delight both local and international brick fans, with custom built features that are a tribute to imagination and creativity.

“We are pleased to set new benchmarks for innovation and design with the opening of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest LEGO® Certified Store at Melbourne Central.”

The new store format has been developed following two years of LEGO® customer research which identified consumers were seeking opportunities to play, customise retail experiences and to have fun.

Troy Taylor, the LEGO® Group, says, “The new store format is part of the LEGO® Group’s strategy to innovate across retail channels, with a similar concept to be introduced around the world.

“Our new store at Melbourne Central showcases LEGO® brand experiences whilst also allowing customers of all ages to share their ideas and creativity.”


ACTA Capital today announced that its retail investment platform Alquemie Group has acquired General Pants Co.

The acquisition strengthens Alquemie Group’s emerging position as one of the country’s leading retail businesses with General Pants Co. joining a growing portfolio which includes LEGO® Certified Stores, SurfStitch, Ginger & Smart and Pumpkin Patch.

Under the terms of the transaction the current owners of General Pants Co., which include the Victor Smorgon Group, Phil Staub and Jackie Vidor, have agreed to reinvest a significant portion of their proceeds into Alquemie Group.

Founder and CEO, ACTA Capital, and Executive Chairman, Alquemie Group, Richard Facioni comments: “This acquisition brings Alquemie significant scale and breadth of operations as we seek to partner with exceptional, like-minded management teams to build great businesses.

“General Pants Co. is highly complementary to our existing portfolio and positions Alquemie for continued growth as we build a leading multi-channel retail investment business.

“I’m excited that the current owners of General Pants Co. have agreed to become shareholders in Alquemie, a testament to their conviction in the strength of the Group as an investment.”

General Pants Co.’ current CEO, Sacha Laing, has been appointed as Group CEO, Alquemie Group. Sacha Laing is a highly experienced executive, having held various senior leadership retail roles including at Colette, Country Road Group and David Jones.

Sacha Laing says, “Alquemie Group has a strong, well-diversified portfolio of retail brands and strong forward growth ambitions. It’s a privilege to join the business at this pivotal time and I look forward to working closely with Richard.”

Founded in 1972, General Pants Co. is an iconic specialty retailer of youth casual apparel. It currently operates 60 physical stores across ANZ with a growing e-commerce arm, offering customers a flexible omni-channel experience. The business has a portfolio of well-established vertical brands and in-demand third-party brands, anchored by a market leading and sought-after denim offering.

Funding for the transaction, in addition to reinvestment by the vendors, comprised an acquisition debt facility provided by CBA and a dedicated investment fund raised by ACTA Capital.

ACTA Capital and Alquemie Group were advised by Hamilton Locke and Greenmount Advisory. General Pants Co. and its vendors were advised by Monash advisory and Danaher Moulton.


The biggest Lego Certified Store in the southern hemisphere is set to open at Melbourne Central in April, bringing a slew of new features and experiences to Australian customers.

At 559 square metres, the store will be roughly twice the size of other Lego Certified Stores in the country and will feature the brand’s new store design, which was unveiled in New York City last year and is being rolled out globally.

“It’s going to be a destination,” Richard Facioni, executive chairman of Alquemie Group, which holds the rights to Lego Certified Stores in Australia and New Zealand, told Inside Retail.

“Pre-pandemic, Melbourne Central was one of the highest foot-trafficked centres in the country, and as we come out of the pandemic, it will come back to being one of the highest foot-trafficked centres.”

In addition to popular features that exist in other Lego Certified Stores in Australia and New Zealand, such as the pick-a-brick wall and mini-figure station, the new store will debut a personalisation studio called the Mosaic Maker, where customers can take a photo of themselves in Lego form to commemorate their visit.

It will also offer 3D models of Lego sets and hands-on building experiences to inspire creativity and imagination, alongside a wide range of products.

“There’s a lot of engagement in there,” Facioni said.


Room for growth

The Melbourne Central store is just one of a handful of new Lego Certified Stores that are slated to open in the coming months.

“There will be a couple more openings before June, and then we’d like to see another four to six openings in the second half as well,” Facioni said.

Alquemie Group currently operates 13 Lego Certified Stores across Australia and New Zealand, but plans to grow that number to 25-30 over the next few years.

That could include up to four more stores in New Zealand, and several more stores in metro Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth, as well as key regional cities like Geelong.

“We notice plenty of gaps in the network,” Facioni said. “There’s plenty of opportunity to grow the network without stores cannibalising each other.”

At the same time, Lego’s online sales have increased rapidly since Alquemie Group launched a local e-commerce site two years ago.

“It was very rudimentary, but we knew we needed that online presence,” he said. “What we’ve been doing since then is building on that online store, and it now has a full delivery service, customisation and personalisation.”

About 25-30 per cent of sales are now made online, including click-and-collect, which remains popular with customers even though Covid-19 lockdowns have ended.

“It actually has been feeding traffic into the bricks-and-mortar stores because people go online, pre-order their stock, and go pick it up, so they can minimise their time in-store,” he said.

Between the brand’s online growth and new store openings, Facioni expects turnover to hit $100 million by June of this year, a significant milestone seeing as Alquemie Group only teamed up with the toy-maker three years ago.

He credits this to the strength of the partnership: “I’ve always said, the beauty of this partnership is they do all the brand marketing and product development, and our job is to create really amazing retail experiences, whether they’re in-store or online. And it works really really well.”


Alquemie Group has welcomed Mareile Osthus and Rebecca Khoury to its team as its readies for further growth.

Osthus has joined the business as digital projects director and Khoury has taken up the creative director position.

The pair will help the investment firm grow its portfolio, which currently includes businesses LEGO Certified Stores, Ginger & Smart, SurfStitch and Pumpkin Patch.

Alquemie Group executive chairman Richard Facioni said the strategic hires comes at a critical time for the firm.

“We are pleased to announce strategic additions to the Alquemie Group team as we prepare for the next phase of growth.

“It’s an exciting chapter with the continued expansion of our core business and a number of significant partnerships on the near horizon.

“We welcome Mareile’s and Rebecca’s experience and talent to the team at this pivotal time,” he said.

Osthus brings her extensive experience as a career retailer to the role, having previously held various senior roles in Europe and Australia including at Zalando and Hugo Boss.

She joins the business from The Oroton Group having previously spent five years at The Iconic, where she served as part of the executive team as chief category management officer.

“I am delighted to work with the incredibly talented team at Alquemie Group as the retail portfolio enters a new era of strategic growth,” Osthus said of her appointment.

“I look forward to playing my part in contributing to the group’s ongoing success,” she said.

Meanwhile, Khoury brings her comprehensive knowledge to her position, having previously worked at ACP Magazines, holding roles at both Harper’s Bazaar and Grazia.

She was previously associate editor and co-publisher of 10 Magazine and 10 Men Australia and has been a member of the Advisory Council for the International Woolmark Prize.

“I’ve been passionate about fashion from a young age and have been fortunate to work with some of the industry’s most formidable talents,” Khoury commented.

“The vision for Alquemie Group is incredibly exciting and it’s my privilege to help shape its forward creative direction,” she said.

Alquemie Group is a retail and consumer investment platform managed by ACTA Capital.


SurfStitch has announced a new partnership with General Pants Co.

The collaboration will offer SurfStitch customers access to the full portfolio of General Pants 11 private label brands across both men’s, women’s and accessories.

Richard Facioni, Executive Chairman, Alquemie Group said the partnership was part of a wider plan to strategically grow the SurfStitch consumer value proposition via marketplace.

“We are excited to welcome General Pants to our growing marketplace offering and giving SurfStitch customers greater access to these fantastic brands.

“Recently we’ve seen macro trends in retail accelerate, including retailers and brands collaborating and actively working together to grow their respective businesses.

“We look forward to working with new and existing brand partners in the months ahead and introducing them to SurfStitch’s active, engaged customer base through our marketplace.”

The eleven General Pants brands available from today include renowned denim brands Insight and Neon Hart, and in demand favourites Arvust and Alice In The Eve.

Sacha Laing, CEO, General Pants Co., said the partnership with SurfStitch will play a key role in the business’ accelerated growth strategy.

“It’s our core focus to continue evolving and catering to the needs and demands of our customers,” Laing said.

“We’re thrilled to announce our new e-commerce partnership with SurfStitch.”


Alquemie Group and The LEGO® Group today announced that Western Australia’s first LEGO® Certified Store will open in late 2021.

The landmark new store will be situated in prime position at AMP Karrinyup as a signature LEGO® brand immersive retail experience.

Richard Facioni, Executive Chairman, Alquemie Group said the new store would capitalise on the enduring appeal of the renowned LEGO® brand and bring a world-class retail concept to WA.

“We’ve listened to the strong community of brick fans in Western Australia and we look forward to bringing this leading global retail experience to Perth.

“The new store will be a destination in its own right for brick fans of all ages who we believe will respond positively to the creativity and imagination that are hallmarks of LEGO® Certified Stores,” adds Mr Facioni.

Western Australia’s first LEGO® Certified Store will be a custom-built retail space, including multi-sensory brick-built features that draw inspiration from local WA landmarks and familiar icons.

The new store in Karrinyup marks the announcement of Alquemie Group’s eleventh LEGO® Certified Store, as part of a partnership with The LEGO® Group.

Claus Kristensen, Vice President and General Manager Australia and New Zealand, The LEGO® Group comments: “The LEGO® brand mission is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow through creative free play and developing the imagination.

“The brand, which has delighted generations of children and adults, has been available in Australia for over 60 years. We now look forward to showcasing the creative potential of the LEGO® brick with Perth’s first LEGO® Certified Store.”

Alquemie Group is a leading retail and consumer investment platform, managed by ACTA Capital. The portfolio of investments within Alquemie Group includes LEGO® Certified Stores, SurfStitch, Ginger & Smart and Pumpkin Patch, with a pipeline of additional investments planned.