Today we are going to tell you a little story about two friends who live in the ‘burbs of Sydney. This is a story about two Aussies who are not too dissimilar to you or me.

Meet Shazza. Shazza is a proud employee for a long-standing Aussie owned and operated family business who specialize in classic wide brim hats. Shazza has worked for this company for yonks. She adores her role as the head designer for these hats and oversees each and every single hat through its entire manufacturing lifecycle. Just down the road lives her mate Johno. Johno also works for a company who sell outdoor clothing, including specky wide-brim hats, but this is a company who source all of their products from distant and exotic locations from around the globe.

So, let’s just take a closer look at these two friends, their different working lives and learn more about the greater impact these companies have on our economy here in Australia.

What Shazza’s workplace feels like
Shazza has been a long-time supporter of this Aussie company, a company that was built on the back of hard yakka bushmen. A family-run operation that has been handed down from generation to generation, each time evolving and changing to suit the needs of its niche customer base. Their brand fosters long-standing knowledge about what their customers love and need, in an environment as harsh and unforgiving as Australia. Whilst their products might not be the most competitively priced hats on the market, they are proud to offer a product that has been made by Australian’s, using all-Australian materials for Australian people.

What Johno’s workplace feels like
Johno on the other hand is just a small piece of the puzzle that is this multinational adventure clothing franchise. They offer a huge range of outdoor clothing, that is designed to look the part but at a price that isn’t dreaming. Johno is in charge of hunting down the cheapest manufacturing factories that are capable of producing the huge volumes of stock this companies’ customers consume each year. They launch thousands of new designs for their collections, making them one of the largest outdoor apparel retailers in the world. Since Johno works for the Australian department he must ensure that manufacturing deadlines are met so that stock can be shipped across the globe to Australia in the quickest time frame possible. This companies’ customers have rapidly changing fashion trends, that live in an age of speed and disposability. Some might know this to be fast fashion.

The effects of the pandemic…
Johno has been facing some tough times. The recent pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works for the regular operating procedures for this company. This is a company that has fine-tuned and improved its supply chain so that new designs can be developed, produced, and on the shop floor within just two weeks, exporting garments 24 hours and day, 365 days a year, offering a continuous supply of fresh new apparel. All of these supply chains have quickly ground to a halt in the wake of COVID-19. Johno has been struggling to get any new stock from their host of suppliers from various locations around the world. Their largest factory in China has, in fact, closed down until further notice. All that remains on their shop floors is a bunch of empty hangers and a handful of odd-sized mismatches. There have been many difficult discussions around cost restructuring and the doubt surrounding any future forecasting which has created a lot of uncertainty amongst Johno and many of his workmates.

Shazza’s working environment is quite the opposite, and her company has never been busier. After many years of battling with the ‘big guys’ this Aussie company has finally been given a break. With the lack of imported goods arriving for their multinational competitors, more Australian’s have started to look closer to home to fair dinkum brands like the one Shazza works for. And as a result, business is booming.

And there has been a buzz of good vibes coming from their happy customers. These customers have noticed the superior quality that is born out of the stringent manufacturing protocols in place in Australia. They can appreciate the density and softness in the Australian grown materials and for those conscious customers, they are pleasantly surprised to discover all of the environmental ticks of approval that this company is required to comply with when manufacturing here.

But the satisfaction of happy customers is only the first effect of this unexpected switch to buying local. For Shazza and her company, they of course have seen a rise in sales and now require more employees to help with the manufacturing of more of these quality Australian-made hats. What was once looking to be a dying trade, and an Australian generation void of any manufacturing skills has suddenly seen a resurgence. With many new employees moving through a rigorous traineeship to learn the ropes and gain skills that they will hopefully pass on to the next generation of hat makers.

This hive of activity within Shazza’s company has filtered through to local legend Bruce and his family of farmers who produce their materials, with increased demand equals an increase in the supply of these quality materials. These dollars of extra sales trickle down farther still to surrounding businesses, to Wayno who owns the local trucking business to shift materials and stock, Matilda and her marketing team, to Pauline in finance and accounts, and even further into the Government through the company’s taxes. Even though these hats might hold a higher price than its imported competitors, every cent is put straight back into the Australian economy which helps it to blossom and grow in this time of recovery.

At a recent backyard BBQ, Shazza and Johno got talking about business, as they often do…
And it was Johno who was the first to point out that the company he works for has been at the mercy of the lack of supply from their international factories, and how quickly this empire has crumbled as a result. In these unexpected times, it is true blue companies like the one Shazza works for that are the little Aussies battler’s worth supporting, these are the companies who operate with our country at heart.

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