A large and passionate community of Australian mums and amateur interior decorators have together transformed Kmart’s reputation from ‘daggy’ bargain bin to modish and ‘on-trend’.
Through the use of perfectly styled Instagram photos, viral ‘hacks’, cooking tricks and fan pages of more than 300,000 people, the ‘Kmart mums’ have made the ‘luxe for less’ model more desirable than ever – and left Target’s more ‘upmarket’ brand revamp less appealing in the eyes of many shoppers.
This was clear on Friday morning, when Target announced the closure of 75 of its stores and the conversion of 92 others into Kmarts after a $67 million sales slump.
Wesfarmers, who owns both retailers, unveiled its plans to restructure Target’s ‘unsustainable’ cost base and allow focus on the more-profitable Kmart, which over the past five years has become the most successful low-end department store in Australia.
Interior stylist Amanda Bray, 33, (pictured) from Ballarat, Victoria, said she believes the power of social media has played a ‘big part in Kmart’s success’ and regularly posts snaps of her Kmart styling on her successful Instagram account
Much of Kmart’s success can be attributed to a large and dedicated community of online mums and amateur interior decorators who together have transformed the brand’s reputation from ‘daggy’ bargain bin to ‘modish’ and on-trend
The kitchen: Amanda renovated her entire home using budget décor from Kmart, including the chopping board, mirror tray, glass canister and faux plant and pot
The popular groups making Kmart ‘cool’
Kmart Mums Australia: 373,000 members
Kmart Hacks & Décor: 366,000 members
Kmart Inspired Homes: 233,000 members
Kmart Air Fryer Recipes Australia: 252,000 members
Kmart Bargains: 383,000 followers
I Heart Kmart: 123,000 followers
The Kmart Lover: 119,000 followers
Kmart Hack Queen: 89,900 followers
Kmart Queen: 85,000 followers
Kmart by you: 74,000 followers
With more than 373,000 members, the Facebook group Kmart Mums Australia was launched in November 2015, founded by mother Larnie Lawrence and was one of the very first with a specific focus on sharing budget buys from the retailer.
Ms Lawrence started talking about Kmart with her friends, and when she realised that others were as into the shop as she was, she started the group.
‘The group was set up for women who wanted to share the new-in Kmart products they’d seen in different stores, as well as their styling tips and tricks,’ Ms Lawrence told FEMAIL in early 2017.
‘It’s grown a lot… so much so that if someone posts a new-in item on the group, you’ve got to be super quick in getting down to the store.’
Since its success, more than 5,000 dedicated Kmart groups and pages have launched on Facebook and Instagram where shoppers share renovation and interior advice, fashion picks, recipe and kitchen tips and cleaning tricks.
They include Kmart Inspired Homes (233,000 members), Kmart Air Fryer Recipes Australia (252,000 members) and Kmart Hacks & Décor (366,000 members).
The retail giant has become the most successful low-end department store across Australia, with social media groups credited for its rise to dominance over Target
Amanda is known for sharing snaps of her incredible home, featuring luxury items for less
Amanda, a mother-of-three, styles her home using budget items from Kmart, including the rug, and a woven basket to store cushions
The founder of Kmart Hack Queen restyled her laundry room using Kmart’s glass canisters, jars with lids and décor items such as the plant stand
Interior stylist Amanda Bray, 33, from Ballarat, Victoria, said she believes the power of social media has played a ‘big part in Kmart’s success’ and has seen a huge following thanks to her Kmart styling advice on Instagram.
‘The biggest thing people say to me is that they see an item but have no idea how to style it,’ Ms Bray, a mother-of-three, told FEMAIL.
‘Then they log onto Facebook and Instagram and see the products styled it makes the items more appealing.’
Mother-of-four Tina Devlin, from Perth, agrees, with her own styling page seeing a similar spike after she started sharing budget styling and decor advice.
‘I think it’s definitely helped Kmart become so popular,’ Tina, 33, told FEMAIL.
‘There’s so many great ideas on how to style things and great hack ideas. It definitely makes people want what they see when it’s styled so beautifully.’
Mother-of-four Tina Devlin (pictured) said there’s now so many Instagram pages showing how everyone styles their items in their own home
In recent years, the retailer has gone from a ‘daggy’ discount store to such a ‘cool’ place to shop for all the on-trend everyday items
Mother of two Samantha (pictured), who runs Kmart Hack Queen, said she uses her platform to show how she styles the budget items to make them appear lush in her home
The Kmart Hack Queen said her followers are obsessed with her super organised pantry
Mother of two Samantha, who runs Kmart Hack Queen on Instagram with nearly 90,000 followers, said she uses her platform to show how she styles the budget items to make them appear lush in her home.
‘I get messages every day of people loving my ideas. They said they now love Kmart because I inspire them by using their items. They didn’t know Kmart was so stylish,’ she told FEMAIL.
Amanda explained how Kmart has really ‘upped their game in the past few years’ – and interest started to really peak in Australia when the retailer revamped its brand.
‘The quality of their clothing and homewares for such an affordable price is amazing,’ she said.
‘I believe it really peaked when they revamped their homewares sector a few years ago. There are so many people especially ones with children who are after affordable homewares to decorate their home.
‘I know from personal experience as a mum of three that I do not want to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on homewares and furniture that has the possibility of being broken, so Kmart gives us an affordable range of homewares that look great.’
Steph Pase, who blogs under Just Another Mummy Blog, has earned a legion of fans for sharing stunning pictures of her home using budget items from retailers such as Kmart
Thousands of mothers have been transforming every space of their home using budget items
The founder of Kmart Hack Queen said the retailer has pulled out all stops to regularly bring out luxury-inspired items for less
The dining room was brought to life by Amanda’s Kmart buys, including a faux plant and décor
Target announces closure of 167 outlets in massive restructure
Target has made a shock announcement it will shut 75 of its stores, and convert 92 others into Kmart.
Following a financial review, the company revealed plans to drastically restructure as the brand suffered a $67 million sales slump.
Announcing to investors on Friday, owner Wesfarmers said the restructure would reduce Target’s ‘unsustainable’ cost base and allow it focus on the more-profitable Kmart.
Target staff will be offered jobs at Kmart or other Wesfarmers companies, including Bunnings and Officeworks.
Samantha said the retailer has pulled out all stops to regularly bring out luxury-inspired items for less.
‘I think Kmart is not classed as daggy anymore because they have really thought about how to improve their business,’ she said.
‘They really looked into the styles of homeware and apparel from all around the world and brought these ideas into their stores to make their styles stand out from the rest.
‘Their styles in homewares became very modern in 2016. I remember all the contemporary colours coming out with greys and pinks. Not long after, the Scandinavian styles. They have done extremely well. It’s my favourite place to shop.’
Tina said most people don’t want to spend big money decorating their homes and Target was deemed more upmarket by many shoppers.
‘Kmart being so affordable gives people the option to keep up with new trends,’ she said.
‘I think Kmart is more popular than Target because of how often they bring in new items and such great prices for people to style and decorate their homes on a budget.
‘It gives you the option to change your look more often than you would usually and definitely has more exposure in the Instagram world. I started getting into the Kmart trend in 2015, since then they keep improving their products as it’s become so popular.’
Australian fashion bloggers are always raving about Kmart’s dresses that looks considerably more expensive than its affordable price tag (picture of affordable style influencer Paige Kennedy wearing a $28 Kmart versatile polkadot dress)
Affordable stylist Tina Abeysekara (pictured wearing an $18 Kmart skirt) have earned a legion of followers on Instagram for proving style doesn’t always have to cost serious cash
Last year the Trash to Treasured founder also promoted a glamorous burnt orange polka dot Kmart dress priced at $25 (pictured above)
Samatha said she prefers Kmart over Target because there’s always a ‘great variety of products’ on a budget released regularly.
‘I love their homeware items because each drop they do you can still refresh your space, adding onto previous Kmart products you already own,’ she said.
‘There’s many style incorporated like bohemian, modern, industrial and urban. I think Target has it a little wrong, they seem to do items that are same old, same old like mainly rustic, wicker, and more on the safe side.
‘Target is too pricey and some basic items like a cushion is $30 compared to Kmart’s $12 version. I don’t shop at Target because of their style and most of all, I have a budget.’
Amanda agreed with the low prices, saying: ‘It’s the main reason I feel people are more drawn to Kmart rather than Target.’
In the fashion aisle, affordable stylists such as Trash to Treasured founder Tina Abeysekara and Paige Kennedy have earned a legion of followers on Instagram for proving style doesn’t always have to cost serious cash.
The pair are known for sharing latest budget-friendly items from Kmart, including a $27 linen blazer, $28 versatile dress, and $18 leopard print skirt.