"It was like a hobby gone wild."

That's how ex-lawyer Alyce Tran describes the business she co-founded with her friend Tania Liu: a part-time blog the pair started up to relieve their boredom.

"It started off because I was printing off a lot of pretty pictures using the work printer and putting them on my wall, doing these nice curations of different things I liked," Tran recalled.

Like thousands of other young Australian women, they decided to channel their passion for style into a blog.


"We didn't think anyone was going to look at it; it was just for fun," she said.

Five years later, The Daily Edited is a global brand that has made Tran and Liu bona fide fashion moguls, with a national retail presence and annual turnover of more than A$15 million ($15.8m).

Demand for TDE monogrammed leather bags, wallets, pouches, stationary and phone covers is so high that its limited-run designs sell out within days of being offered up for sale, and the company is poised to expand into Asia and the United States.

It now has concession stores at six David Jones in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, and last month unveiled its first stand-alone flagship store at the glitzy Chadstone Shopping Centre.

A capsule collection designed in collaboration with model Hailey Baldwin was a hit in July, and Christmas sales were "literally $1 million over our target", Tran said, forcing her to work straight through the silly season - but she's not complaining.

The Daily Edited jumped on the personalisation craze with its monogrammed leather goods. Photo / Instagram
The Daily Edited jumped on the personalisation craze with its monogrammed leather goods. Photo / Instagram

The brand's runaway success came after years of slogging it out in a demanding legal career, devoting every spare minute to working on the business.

And there was a steep learning curve at the beginning, with an initial foray into online retail - centred on the "outfit of the day" concept"- folding after 18 months.

"We actually stocked all the clothes and we tried to push out a new outfit every day, and that concept was obviously a lot harder than it sounds, because you need to have so much stock," Tran said.


"We didn't really plan it well, but it was a good learning experience and got a lot of press."

TDE went back to curating inspirational style content until mid-2014, when the struggle to find a compendium at the price and quality she desired prompted Tran to launch a leather line.

"We designed and launched a really small collection, there was a card holder and a pouch and a compendium in three colours - black, tan and pale pink - in a really small amount of product, about A$7000 worth," Tran said.

"That sold in three days via Instagram, just me posting pictures and people inquiring."

An experimental children's range called Mini TDE sold out in just six days. Photo / news.com.au
An experimental children's range called Mini TDE sold out in just six days. Photo / news.com.au

By the end of 2014, she said, "I realised I was actually working two full time jobs. I was bringing the bags to work every day, rushing down to the GPO at Martin Place in Sydney to lodge all the parcels, then running back to work and hoping I could get out early and do all these other orders that were coming in."

After making "tonnes of money" in their first Christmas sales season, the pair realised they were onto something big, but were still hesitant to quit their jobs.

"My parents were refugees who came from Vietnam and worked really hard to give me a fantastic education," Tran said.

Reluctant to throw away the private schooling and high-flying job that had made them proud, she kept working as a lawyer until she and Liu had saved A$200,000 each, as a buffer in case sales dropped off. They finally resigned in June 2015.

"I was quite freaked out about it, so I asked my boss for a leave of absence rather than a full resignation to begin with," Liu said. "Now we laugh about it because he's actually our lawyer."

With 75 staff in Australia and 30 in Guangzhou, China, Tran no longer has to monogram her products by hand.

She's focused on building the brand, negotiating overseas partnerships and testing out ideas like the "Mini TDK" children's range that launched in December.

"We didn't know how that was going to go down," Tran said, noting that the kids' bags - which came with crayons and colouring books - were no cheaper than their adult counterparts. The collection sold out in six days.