While we currently source all of our materials and suppliers locally, we face a range of different limitations at each stage.
Material availability can be a big challenge. If a supplier runs out of a particular item, we often have no choice but to wait for a restock as there is not a back-up supplier who stocks the same item. This can cause lengthy production delays as it can take weeks for an item to be restocked. Weeks we do not have if we want to meet seasonal deadlines.
We also face a limitation when it comes to printing. There is only one printer in Australia who follows the required process necessary to treat our premium recycled stretch fabric. Being one of the best fabrics on the market, the process requires washing, steaming and drying so the colours and print do not bleed.
When it comes to cost, often rates are extremely high. We acknowledge it’s imperative the amazing suppliers we work with need to be profitable businesses, however, some suppliers charge a premium price for their materials and services as they know brands do not have the luxury to shop around.
In Australia, to produce the one product, you often have to work with several different suppliers. If we were to move offshore, it can end up being easier for us as one company manages the entire production process. This minimises any production mishaps that usually occur when there are many suppliers and makers communicating with each other.
Production capability is another issue we face. Certain styles like underwire bikini tops require a particular machine that most makers do not have. We’ve only found a couple of makers in Australia who can create our underwire styles - that is if they have availability. Which leads us to our biggest challenge yet…
Finding a maker that has capacity to make our 2023 collection is currently our biggest and most critical challenge. The maker we have worked with since we started Isla In Bloom creates swimwear for some of the largest, premium Australian brands. These brands have high order volumes which book up factory time. These bigger brands are able to demand this and in turn, push smaller businesses to the back of the production line. When this happens, we can miss important seasonal launches and end up having to release our collections at the wrong time, missing out on key purchasing times. This results in excess stock, the worst scenario for a small brand.