Hungry for profit, patient for growth: Bellroy’s motto for sustainable growth

The story behind Bellroy, an Australian brand making waves in global retail
Matthew Kidman

Centennial Asset Management

Traditionally, on the show, we talk to people involved in some shape or form with the share market. Today, we are excitedly going off-piste and delving into the unlisted world in one of Australia's outstanding success stories.

In 2008, Lina Calabria and two partners decided to start nine separate businesses as consultants. They had plenty of bright ideas and thought that creating a portfolio of companies, while unorthodox, was a potential path to success.

Image: Lina Calabria, Co-CEO, Bellroy (Supplied)
Image: Lina Calabria, Co-CEO, Bellroy (Supplied)

Within a few years, they selected Bellroy, an accessories business that specialises in male wallets, as the pick of the bunch. From humble beginnings, Bellroy, named after combining Bells Beach and Fitzroy, has grown into a global brand with more than $130 million in sales.

Bellroy sells in dozens of countries and has created its own category called Carry. In other words, they design products you carry around, such as slim wallets, backpacks, work bags, duffel bags, totes, passport holders, and phone cases. It's niche but nicely profitable.

Today, Calabria sees a great opportunity to expand Bellroy in both products and countries, and she believes doubling and possibly tripling the business is a realistic goal.

Click on the player below to hear how Calabria and the team at Bellroy created their own category and navigated the trials of COVID-19 to build a business making a name on the global stage.

Others ways to follow and listen


  • 0:00 - Introduction
  • 2:06 - The ‘carry’ category
  • 6:45 - Growing up in suburban Melbourne
  • 9:30 - Early exposure to design
  • 11:45 - The appeal of engineering
  • 14:02 - Early career in supply chain consulting
  • 21:05 - Launching Bellroy
  • 26:38 - Generating demand and the impact of Google
  • 30:10 - Hungry for profit, patient for growth
  • 31:40 - Going to the US and beyond
  • 35:25 - Working with Apple and meeting demand
  • 37:08 - Defining and creating a brand
  • 41:44 - Defining the target market for Bellroy
  • 44:29 - The role of data in retail sales
  • 48:25 - Bellroy’s growth aspirations
  • 53:01 - Scaling tech business versus product businesses
  • 55:37 - Will Bellroy list on the ASX?
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Matthew Kidman
Principal and Portfolio Manager
Centennial Asset Management

Matthew is the Principal and Portfolio Manager at Centennial Asset Management. Prior to this, Matthew was the CIO at Wilson Asset Management between 1998 and 2011, achieving 18% p.a. over the period.

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