Home – New Forums Starting your journey Do you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

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  • #966105
    TheaM
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    • Total posts: 3
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    Hi,

    I am a mother of 2, on maternity leave, and yet again like a lot of mothers out there, I have needed something that’s not in the market. Its a maternity and nursing top with a slight difference. I believe in this product so much that I decided to go ahead with it even if we are only on one income (with my husband’s quiet support).Its still in the pipelines- design, manufacture, website advertsing and the lot! It is hard work and although the internet is great, it is actually quite hard to find manufacturing companies etc. I live in Newcastle and have had to dialogue with companies from Sydney only to hit a wall.

    So far had a pattern made, 1st mistake, went with the cheaper option and so she is not so experienced and has taken 2 1/2 months just to have patterns made and she is so overwhelmed that she could not do samples. So I found a machinist yesterday, through a dressmaker who again could not make the samples.

    My sister did my logo, and she did well. She has a background in graphic design but now retraining to be an aesthetician. I’ve asked her to do an advert too but I think she is too busy.
    Website- I’ve asked a friend who is a web developer, but again I think he is too busy developing his own thing. Now I think I might need to go to a professional web/ graphic person. I am just scared that it will be too expensive and eat up all my money.

    To register the design or not? I have not seen this design before and I want to protect it. I guess I am going ahead but I have 3 designs so will be expensive yet again.

    Australian Made or not? Do people really care about this. I want it sweatshop free. I can’t bear to know that a child or person is manufacturing my product in awful working conditions. I think everyone knows however that Australian made is expensive and I am scared that even if i register my design , there would be a loop hole and someone would manufacture it cheaper and hence be cheaper than my product. I suppose when the time comes then I will have to rethink where I manufacture, which poses another problem for me. Where? How?

    This has been really really difficult. On bad days, when I think I’ll just give up, I put one of my homemade samples and feel great again because I need it and am quite sure other women would too.

    Can’t wait to post my product here, when I don’t know but hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Thea

    #1016062
    PerfectNotes-Kathy
    Member
    • Total posts: 500
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    Re: o you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

    Hi Thea,

    It’s a tough problem you’ve got there – you have my sympathy (although I understand that doesn’t help to resolve the issues).

    It sounds like you really believe in not using sweatshop workers – which fairly much answers your question about where to get the manufacturing done, as you may never be certain of the actual conditions unless the work is done in Aus. I agree that this is likely to make the costs higher, but it should be strongly emphasised in your marketing as a great benefit, so you should be able to turn that around from a negative to a positive. Is it possible to then market your product into a higher value market – use maternity ’boutiques’ rather than the equivalent of Target to sell your product? This would then remove the issue of higher cost – it becomes pretty much a requirement, rather than a problem.

    Good luck! (And try to remember that all small business owners have bad days where they want to just give up – it’s one of the benefits of forums like this, you can talk to others about it and remember that you’re not alone!)

    Kathy

    #1016063
    Past-Member
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,815
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    HI Thea, I can really relate to your question. “I am scared that even if i register my design , there would be a loop hole and someone would manufacture it cheaper and hence be cheaper than my product. I suppose when the time comes then I will have to rethink where I manufacture, which poses another problem for me.”

    Unfortunately there will always be someone who will take a design or product and produce an illegal copy for next to nothing. It doesn’t matter if it’s you or a large company like Apple, it seems to happen to everyone. (I have found a couple of my illustrations on overseas sites pretending to be theirs.)

    I believe in fair pay for fair work and I hate the posts that recommend everything as outsourced to people overseas with super low rates with not only manufacturing issues, but also security issues if it’s for office work, web or similar. We have three World Vision kids we support in order to help their communities get out of those deplorable circumstances and become self-sufficient so there is no way I can countenance it.

    Regarding the design and manufacturing of your product: Think of a way to promote your maternity items as ‘must haves’ for the responsible and caring mother. On your website you can have a separate Tab where you can explain why you choose to manufacture within Australia or only use fair trade partners, etc.

    I have sent private message to you too.
    Don’t give up.

    #1016064
    Buy Australian Made
    Member
    • Total posts: 39
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    Re: o you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

    Thea

    We have two sweatshop free Australian businesses advertising on our website http://www.BuyAustralianMade.com.au, I was talking to Matt from Qualitops just the other day and he said that he is very busy at the moment but is always happy to talk to some one like you and help out if he can. You will be able to find his details on our website. The other is called Certton. Also we have a feature on our website which allows people to put on a request for other visitors to give suggestions as to where they might find what they are looking for.

    All the best

    Stephen Gately
    Buy Australian Made

    #1016065
    TheaM
    Member
    • Total posts: 3
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    Re: o you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

    Hi,

    I have actually used Buy Australian Made. Thank you, it has been very helpful.
    I have been in touch with Qualitops and Certton. Yeah, Qualitops may be very busy, as I did not go very far with them, and I have told them that I was disappointed. Certton has been very patient with me, as everything seems to be taking a long time but I will be talking custom manufacturing with them which I am excited about.

    cheers
    thea

    #1016066
    OCDknits
    Member
    • Total posts: 31
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    Re: o you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

    TheaM, post: 18019 wrote:
    Hi,

    I want it sweatshop free. I can’t bear to know that a child or person is manufacturing my product in awful working conditions.

    Hi Thea

    I have exactly the same concerns as you, but knowing that my product cannot be produced in Australia at a price that would make it marketable has also left me in a quandry.

    One thing I did think about was using a fair trade organisation for the production. I have researched wages in poorer countries which is difficult because some of the statistics are quite old. I calculated that the labour costs in some countries are low enough to make the product viable and still give people (I am particularly interested in helping women with families – my product can be made in the home) a living wage rather than a poverty wage. I even built a fair contingency to make up for the old values in the stats.

    The standards to qualify as a fair trade producer are stringent and cover off the concerns we have are here http://www.wfto.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2&Itemid=14

    Google “fair trade” for many more sites.

    I haven’t got to the production stage yet, still market testing and also have the same concerns about releasing the product before trademarking.

    Good luck with it all.

    Cathy

    #1016067
    MatthewKeath
    Member
    • Total posts: 3,184
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    Re: o you care if its Australian made and sweatshop free

    TheaM, post: 18019 wrote:
    Hi,

    I am a mother of 2, on maternity leave, and yet again like a lot of mothers out there, I have needed something that’s not in the market. Its a maternity and nursing top with a slight difference. I believe in this product so much that I decided to go ahead with it even if we are only on one income (with my husband’s quiet support).Its still in the pipelines- design, manufacture, website advertsing and the lot! It is hard work and although the internet is great, it is actually quite hard to find manufacturing companies etc. I live in Newcastle and have had to dialogue with companies from Sydney only to hit a wall.

    So far had a pattern made, 1st mistake, went with the cheaper option and so she is not so experienced and has taken 2 1/2 months just to have patterns made and she is so overwhelmed that she could not do samples. So I found a machinist yesterday, through a dressmaker who again could not make the samples.

    My sister did my logo, and she did well. She has a background in graphic design but now retraining to be an aesthetician. I’ve asked her to do an advert too but I think she is too busy.
    Website- I’ve asked a friend who is a web developer, but again I think he is too busy developing his own thing. Now I think I might need to go to a professional web/ graphic person. I am just scared that it will be too expensive and eat up all my money.

    To register the design or not? I have not seen this design before and I want to protect it. I guess I am going ahead but I have 3 designs so will be expensive yet again.

    Australian Made or not? Do people really care about this. I want it sweatshop free. I can’t bear to know that a child or person is manufacturing my product in awful working conditions. I think everyone knows however that Australian made is expensive and I am scared that even if i register my design , there would be a loop hole and someone would manufacture it cheaper and hence be cheaper than my product. I suppose when the time comes then I will have to rethink where I manufacture, which poses another problem for me. Where? How?

    This has been really really difficult. On bad days, when I think I’ll just give up, I put one of my homemade samples and feel great again because I need it and am quite sure other women would too.

    Can’t wait to post my product here, when I don’t know but hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Thea

    I care if the product is made in a sweatshop or by children and would not buy a product if I found out, but I think you should be able to find reputable companies to do business with.

    Most people I find support Aussie made when asked, but don’t really take the time to really check… Unless of course you are determined to keep it local and promote that.

    There are very cheap way to just put a logo and contact details. It’s always good to start with and its way better than a coming soon page, or worse a ‘under construction’ page. Any questions please ask :)

    Good luck!

    Matt

    #1016068
    Diana
    Member
    • Total posts: 26
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    Hi Thea,

    All I can say is…..if you’ve got the energy and the passion and belief that this will work – hang in there and keep going. Check out Melissa’s thread “I’m so excited….” in introduce yourself which is very inspiring.

    I’m also on the Australian made/ O.S treadmill with my bag but if I have to take it O.S. I will. Third protoype being manufactured locally now then I will assess quality,costs (again) etc before deciding.

    Have sent you a private message
    Kind Regards
    Diana

    #1016069
    [Former] FS Concierge
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Diana, post: 18712 wrote:
    Check out Melissa’s thread “I’m so excited….” in introduce yourself which is very inspiring.

    Hi Thea,
    This is the thread that Diana is referring to: http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/new-member-introduce-yourself/3834-hello-melissa-i-am-soooo-excited-about-my-new-business.html

    Cheers
    Jayne

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