They used up all their leftover fabric and samples, began printing new fabrics and outsourced some of the cutting to manufacturers in Melbourne. “We got to the stage where we had to pass on the bulk of the cutting to our ECA (Ethical Clothing Australia) makers in Melbourne. I literally had RSI after sewing 14 hours a day to keep up with the orders,” says Tania.
The company’s manufacturer in Melbourne was trying to balance the mask orders for several brands, with demand to produce more than 25,000 masks a week.
“It is awesome to think that with so many people losing their jobs that our tiny little business was able to keep some people in work that little bit longer.”
The impact of restrictions
Stage 4 restrictions that reduce staffing levels across metro Melbourne have pushed supply times out by two to three weeks. “Our printers have had to run at half capacity,” says Fleur.
Nya-clothing believes the ability to source stock has shifted focus to local manufacturing, even if consumers have to pay more. “Our customers are saying they love that our masks are Melbourne made and they feel good to support local, just like many of us are being urged to support our local cafe,” says Tania.
“People may not be spending as they did before but when they do spend, they want it to be quality that lasts beyond one wear.”
They’re fielding orders from all over Australia including Sydney and Western Australia, producing close to 4,000 masks in the last four months – a huge increase on the 300 orders of their previous collection.
“This pandemic has taught us to go with the flow and be more reactive to change based on circumstances. Being flexible is a key skill to learn, in business and in life. Even just to be able to keep our business going and have money in the bank is a silver lining,” says Tania.
Fleur says the profits from their masks have paved the way for future growth. “We’ve got funds to launch a new range when the time comes,” says Fleur. Matching mask and dress may surely the next strategic direction.