Australian Business ??
Yes I am an Australian Business. Doing the best I can in the strange world we now live in. I could just drop ship products direct to you from China like the majority of suppliers you will have seen on Instagram but I cannot do this to my customers. These are the suppliers that should be avoided as they are funding China with no financial investment in products, no contribution to our economy, no staff and avoiding all tax liabilities and making huge profits for China. I cannot use or sell bad products to make money. I cannot sell without caring about the whole buying experience so choose to take great care in creating my own branded products and stocking others I believe are the best you can find. I have my products in stock so I can support my service with easy returns and exchanges. Please read below if you want to understand how I operate.
I am as horrified as you at the lack of Australian made products. How did we get ourselves into this mess? When I started Surfdog I had visions of making everything in Australia. I beavered away on my sewing machine until I couldn’t keep up and then discovered Australia manufacturing no longer existed…
So I had a few options..1. Give up 2. Continue to sell 10 a week in 2 sizes and 1 colour as I started with. 3. Try to start a manufacturing business, and triple my prices to cover the costs (Tell me? would you buy a Drying Coat made in Australia if it cost over $200??) …. or to look overseas.
I love and believe in my products and get real joy from happy customers, so I had to select the last option. The reality is that small creative businesses are forced to manufacture overseas as soon as their products become successful and need larger scale manufacturing. Unless of course we can start to attract customers prepared to pay at least 4 times our current prices. And there lies the absolute truth.
What you need to know
I design and create my own products, making to my specifications, including patterns, fabric dying, and testing. I have them made by quality suppliers then bring them into stock to deliver direct to customers. This is the key difference with Surfdog Australia. A difference that is rare these days. It takes time, investment, skill and a lot of hard work and stress. It needs to be appreciated and understood by consumers, especially those waving the flag for Australian Products. The flag wavers need to understand that it is not businesses like mine that are the problem. The pet market is totally awash with 100% Chinese products making huge amounts of money for China. The internet has enabled retailers to present products as their own and present them to consumers looking for a bargain. Most pet products come direct from Chinese factories with sellers having nothing to do with their creation, products they simply put their logo on or just sell with no consideration to quality or fit they just want to make money. They usually know very little about dogs and are just selling to a lucrative market. Even worse are the enormous amount that 'drop ship’ from China (fluffy dog beds, harnesses, teeth cleaning dog chews, more harnesses…etc). Taking orders from customers in the guise of an Australian business and passing them to Chinese factories that ship direct to buyers. Social media has a lot to answer for, glossy instagram videos making them look their own creations. They offer no customer service or returns. You are usually unable to contact them direct. They often have not even seen the products they sell and the worse thing is this makes a huge profit for China. How it is even legally possible in consumer law to do this is beyond me. They import and sell them without paying any GST on sales or import duties, so contribute nothing to our Australian economy. They fill the world with bad products that end up in landfill. These retailers also like to mark their stores "100% Australian" or "Wholly Australian owned". Please be careful and read the small print. If in doubt just check for yourself on Ali Express or Ebay and you will find the same products at a fraction of the price.
Small creative businesses like Surfdog are stuck between these unethical retailers and the big brands who manufacture in huge quantities in Vietnam and China enabling them to make good products at cheap prices. Not to mention the likes of Amazon.
My Surfdog branded products are made in the best factories I can find all over the world including Australia, the USA , India and yes China. I prefer to use manufacturers that make human products, as I have found the quality of the materials and work is much better. But the key difference is they are my designs. My patterns cut around Australian dogs. My specification of fabric and colours. Months of sampling to approve the quality, finishes and practicality of goods. This is where the difference lies. I did not go to China and and select off the shelf products and simply put my name on them. They are 100% my products. And I would not ever consider drop shipping as it is unethical in every way.
Everything I sell on my website (both my own Surfdog Brand and the few products I sell from other manufacturers) is in stock as I have actually Invested my money in them so I can provide them to my customers without any delay with third-party distribution. This is why I am able to offer customer service with no quibble returns and exchanges. In particular those that drop ship are unable to do this - you will always find these products on sale and if you read the small print it will say they don’t do returns on sale items.
I am proud of the products I have created. I lay awake at night and worry about the design, worry about the colours as I want to create beautiful products and each product is totally down to my decisions. I am one of a handful in Australia still creating products and selling direct. I can only do what I do by working 7 days a week and investing all my earnings back into my business to obtain new stock. My greatest reward is happy customers. I work on my own and employ 2 local Ladies that help me. I bring in export revenue to Australia by shipping my products internationally. My profit stays in Australia. I pay enormous amounts of GST on my imports and on my sales. I am supporting the Australian economy in the only way that is possible at this time.
I stock my own Surfdog brand and a few great quality products from other manufacturers because they are simply the best you can get. I am an Australian business. I contribute to the Australian economy. My products are purchased by Australian customers and the revenue stays here. I employ Australian staff. I am contributing to the economy with my exports loved the world over as they celebrate our wonderful Australian lifestyle.
I am Australian and very proud of it.