Bashful opens sister creative agency specialising in luxury brands, SMILE

Independent ad agency Bashful has opened a sister creative agency, SMILE, which specialises in luxury, fashion, beauty and lifestyle, Mumbrella can reveal.

Led by CEO and co-founder of Bashful, Simon Bookallil, the agency already has a roster of clients including Alice McCall, Zimmermann, David Lawrence, Noni B Group, Jag Jeans Philippines, Hot Springs and Goldwell Hair.

Bashful’s Smile Agency logo

SMILE, which has offerings including strategy, creative, production, design and digital, was created due to a gap in the Australian market and aims to combine business and brand strategy to help retail and fashion brands keep their competitive edge, Bookallil told Mumbrella.

“We have a great reputation in that space and Bashful has grown significantly in finance, travel, FMCG and we thought it is appropriate and the timing is optimal to launch a sister agency which has a specialist offering.

“We also believe that the Australian market is in need of one, one that combines the understanding of codes of fashion which is different to a lot of other categories, with robust business and brand strategy, which we have bucket loads of in our agency, and experience and this gives us a unique, potent formula or cocktail which is perfect for that category.

“We are in a different place in the world, the Australian brands are now competing with global brands, there’s a lot of global brands coming into the market trying to steal the local retail and fashion brands’ lunch and we need to arm them with the best possible response to that.”

Simon Bookallil said: “A lot of ad agencies can’t do fashion and a lot of design companies or fashion specialists just do pretty pictures.”

Bookallil will now become the CEO of both Bashful and SMILE while creative director and co-founder Emil Vrisakis will lead the creative department at SMILE.

“Our vision for SMILE is to create world class work that is as distinctive as it is inspiring. I want to make stuff that is strategically robust, informed by culture and that people fall in love with,” Vrisakis said.

Bashful’s business director, Jolene Cornford will also move across to SMILE to handle the agency’s new business.

“I’m excited to work with the guys to launch a new business in a space I’ve been passionate about my entire life. I’m a strong believer that when great minds come together we can create work that is not only beautiful but effective,” Cornford added.

SMILE will have its own creative, business and account management teams independent of Bashful.

The CEO of both SMILE and Bashful said the new agency brings a deep understanding and wholistic approach to luxury, fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands which other traditional agencies are often lacking.

Bookallil said the agency brings “a deep understanding of the category matched with aesthetics and creativity and brand strategy”.

“A lot of ad agencies can’t do fashion and a lot of design companies or fashion specialists just do pretty pictures, they don’t have the strategic thinking to match it, so we think there is a unique place that has big agency thinking with an understanding of the codes and the aesthetics and that is where SMILE lands.”

Looking to the future, Bookallil said the new agency is working towards collaborating with more international brands.

“SMILE has the ability to stay very much focused on its core offering which is fashion, beauty and lifestyle luxury brands. We would like to be working with more international brands.

“I feel that as the business of SMILE branches out, we could be working across more and more Asian brands, asian-centric brands as well as great Australian luxury fashion brands.”


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