How to save your business in the new world of textiles
By Emma StennerThe first thing to note about the textiles industry is that, unlike other industries, it’s not all about technology.
Rather, it relies on people, in this case textile workers, to make the fabric.
“We make our textiles from the ground up and the fabrics are hand-picked, we use sustainable materials, we try to use only the best, and we have very little marketing spend,” says Tami Dube, founder of Textiles Lab in Melbourne.
“That’s what separates us from other textile manufacturers.”
The result is that Dube’s textile factory is a living laboratory.
“When you look at our supply chain, the process is almost like a lab,” she says.
“You see the same fabrics come in, we pick them, we measure them, and then we make them from scratch.”
Dube explains that, in order to ensure the quality of her products, the company takes on a large number of different suppliers, each of whom she is in charge of sourcing.
In the case of textile factories, she’s involved in sourcing from the same suppliers as her boss, the textile magnate and textile producer George Dube.
“The first step is getting the materials, and the second step is the sourcing,” she explains.
“It’s all about sourcing the right people, the right places, and of course, the quality.”
Dubes own business is a one-woman operation, with Dube working from her home office.
“I’m the one who buys the textile, and I buy it at the factory,” she laughs.
“And then I’ll bring it back to my office, and there’s usually a lot of people working on it.”
“We’re not the only ones that get paid, but we’re the only one who gets paid in the end.”
Durga and Dube Durga Dube started the company in 2014.
She started her own textile factory at the age of 18 and it took her 20 years to start the business.
“In that time, I was making clothes and I was earning money, so I wanted to be in it for the long term,” she recalls.
“So I started a textile mill, which took me to about 20 years.”
The mill, she says, is now in her 50s, but it still produces the same amount of textile each day.
“Since I started the mill, the price of textil in Australia has gone up by about $200 a metre,” she continues.
“For the past three years, it has also gone up.”
Duxes work from her Melbourne home, and she also uses the time between her meetings to work out what she’s going to buy next.
She also shares tips on how to make a great business plan.
“Just because you make a business plan, doesn’t mean that it’s going take 10 years to get to that goal,” she advises.
“There are some companies that have done it before, and they’ve been successful and they have lots of customers.
But it’s very hard to make that kind of plan for a brand-new company.”
Dume also recommends that businesses start by building a customer base and building a reputation.
“If you have a customer, you’re going to have a huge success,” she adds.
“People are always going to ask me questions.
So I try to answer them honestly.”
And Dube has her sights set on the future.
“This is the best time in history to start a business, because we have so many opportunities,” she predicts.
“Technology has been really important to our growth, so we need to use it wisely.
We need to get a lot more business out there.
And we need more brands to make money from us.”
‘This is an opportunity to be very profitable’ Dube believes that there’s a huge opportunity for retailers in the industry.
“A lot of these brands are looking for a way to get their foot in the door and make money, and that’s the most important thing, is making money,” she argues.
“These businesses have been really profitable, but I think it’s an opportunity for us to be profitable, and to make more money.”
Dukes plans to focus on selling textiles and textile accessories at the high end of the market.
“They are a very niche market,” she reveals.
“But we are trying to get in the luxury segment of it.
We’re really trying to make them more accessible to people.”
Dute also believes that the textile industry will continue to expand.
“Australia is a very young country and this is an extremely competitive market,” Dube says.
Dube also believes the future is bright for the textile industries in Australia.
“As a country, we have a lot to do.
We are going to see more of this [technology] happening in the textile sector,” she states.
“Because this is going to be the