Monday, October 17, 2011

made in australia interview - rachel castle

Happy Monday. You will really enjoy this interview with rachel castle of castle. I covet castles pieces Not once but twice stylists have used them in shoots at my house they looked so good just like they belonged.... only to have them popped back into their little van and driven away at the end of the day. 

Made in australia too . Yay!

Why did you decide on australian made?

When I started the business, and with respect to manufacturing particularly the bedlinen, I never even considered going offshore for production.  I have truly the most amazing manufacturer in Melbourne who supplies me with my fabric and does all my cutting and make up.  The business has been in operation for over 100 years in Coburg and I would say they have been pivotal in the success of my brand.  Having the flexibility to order low quantities at the start, and to fiddle around with the makeup has meant the difference between growing slowly and sustainably, rather than at the scary make or break pace driven by the high quantities you need to order to get started overseas.

Having said all of this, manufacturing is limited here print wise, I am still using printers on tables for some of the placement prints, and the printable sizes are much smaller than overseas which is very limiting.  And the cost, well, it is far more expensive to produce in Australia, but it is just so much more rewarding and meaningful.  

Did you look into manufacturing overseas also?

No, I didn't but am constantly being told to!  I am a control freak, I'm too nervous about the quantities and the room for error!  

Can you describe the process of idea to first samples? Was the learning curve steep?

Yes the learning curve was steep.  The production of simple unprinted bedlinen is pretty straight forward, its the printing that adds the trouble areas.  It was a lot of too and fro, getting it wrong, then gradually working through the problems to get it right.  It looks really simple, but sometimes it can get quite complicated for a non-technical person like me.

What would you do differently if you did it again?

I think the process has been very valuable throughout, without wanting to sound like a goody two shoes, I think all the problems were and are necessary to get a better product.  The only thing I would do differently and battle with constantly is following my own intuition, I need to keep telling myself 'people want to buy what I like' so I always try to make sure a product is EXACTLY the way I want it to be.  

The best thing about australian made is....

Just that simple fact, its Australian made, it doesn't get any better.

What do you hope for australian manufacturing in the future?

I hope that people continue to buy Australian, that people understand that buying Australian comes often with a higher price tag but a better, more considered, loved and cared for product.  This is what I wish for Australian manufacturing.  We want to work hard, we're not greedy, we just want to offer a beautiful product made on shore.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you to everyone who has purchased from me in the past, there is a long chain behind me from the makers, to the printers, to the web makers, to the label makers, the button makers, the delivery people, the lovely post office people.  I just want to say thanks, it keeps us all busy and working hard. xxx