Published on 27/11/19
This year marks 30 years in business for the Melbourne-based brand Wilderness Wear – a business founded on a passion for outdoor sports and specialising in top-of-the-range, outdoor apparel.
Australian manufacturer, Wilderness Wear, are bucking the trend to offshore manufacturing by continuing to invest in local production.
“From the beginning, I made a conscious decision to manufacture locally. It’s a mindset. Everything we do under the Wilderness Wear brand is made in Australia, without apology,” says owner and managing director Philip Endersbee.
With local production at the core of Wilderness Wear, ECA® accreditation was a logical step.
Philip knows his customers are informed about ethical and sustainable practices and are looking for confirmation that the people involved in making the products receive fair wages and are working in safe conditions.
“Our market is conscious about sustainable and ethical practices. They are looking for traceability, transparency and authenticity in the products they buy.”
Wilderness Wear was founded on a passion for outdoor sports and a belief in the potential for growth within the sector. Over the years, Philip has overseen the business’ growth as a niche manufacturer of high-end, performance based outdoor apparel, designed by – and for – enthusiasts.
In the beginning, Wilderness Wear’s range was limited to socks. Today, the brand – which bears the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo as a mark of its Aussie authenticity – runs more than 1200 outdoor clothing lines and can be found in 340 Australian retail stores and overseas in Europe, America, Japan and China. The business has focused on servicing independent outdoor and lifestyle stores.
“The people who buy our products want specialised service. They shop at specialist stores where 99 per cent of the time, the staff use the product; they travel, they climb, they cycle. They have extensive product knowledge,” says Philip.
Although the outdoor and leisure sector has changed remarkably over the last 30 years, the business remains focused on customer driven product development and technical innovation.
“We’ve stayed true to our end user focus, gearing our products to the high-end technical segment of the market,” says Philip.
In practice, this means adding innovative fibres to the predominantly merino-based apparel, attracting customers in search of high performing, quality products.
“A whole range of new fibres are becoming available; including cut and flame-resistant fibres. Wilderness Wear stick to the science of a fibre, offering products based on the fibre’s unique features,” says Philip.
By adopting specialist fibres, Wilderness Wear have expanded their offering and now service many State-based police, fire and ambulance services as well as the Australian Antarctic Division and the Australian Defence Force.
Philip plans to keep investing in machinery, adopting innovations wherever possible, and remains committed to manufacturing in Australia.
“We’ve reached a wonderful stage in business. I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved. The future looks very promising for all our staff and our loyal retailers who have shared in our journey.”