Celebrating the growth and development of Mortimer Apparel, one milestone at a time
Milestones are a celebration of the relationships we have built with our clients, our team, and the people who believed - and still believe - in our vision.
More importantly, it is a reflection of how authentically connected we are to our community.
The early days of Mortimer Apparel were tough. Our first office was a single car garage in the backyard of our Turvey Park home. Rebecca and I worked part time jobs to help pay the bills, we had a toddler at home and a baby on the way, it was a challenge to say the least. For the first few years my in-laws', Rob and Deb Finch, served as dispatch staff with their Sans Souci home our packing facility.
The business was small. It was hard work but it was ours and we were proud of it.
First custom order
Our first custom order was from Michael Doherty at Ashfield Cricket Club who ordered 32 playing shirts. Although we were excited to be processing the order it was also a little nerve wracking to navigate each step of the design, import and delivery process for the first time.
All start-ups need a bit of luck
Our first bulk order was placed by Group XI JRL. It was five different items with a total cost of approx $11,500. We are forever grateful to Sue Egan for showing confidence in our business and were over the moon when she finalised the invoice early. Sue is affectionately known within MA as “Sue saved Christmas”.
A new direction
Our introduction into work with the NSW department of Education was via Jason Wilesmith at Riverina SSA. Jason cautiously tested our products, quality and service across a range of small orders for 12 months before entrusting us with a bulk order of souvenir apparel. The first order of 550 pairs of walk shorts would prove to be a turning point in our business. Jason knew a good quality product, ordered in bulk to achieve the best pricing, would be a win for his association.
The order was well received by the school sport community and as a result 2300 pairs of Riverina shorts were sold in the proceeding 18 months. This experience would shape our business model moving forward.
Challenge of Growth
Once we had a small database of customers we turned our focus to growth. I felt it would be beneficial to steer away from the traditional business model of having a warehouse / office full of staff adding unnecessary overheads for our customers.
It's challenging and expensive to gather lots of information manually so we explored the possibility of taking everything online. The vision was to build a website that could process all the back end information for our suppliers and keep our customers informed in live time. The cost of completing the project in Australia was out of reach for us financially so we found an alternative in the form of a digital agency in the Philippines. The website took three years to build and was quite impressive but was not user friendly and required a lot of upkeep. It was a lesson learnt however the process opened my eyes to the opportunity of employing staff outside of Australia.
Our first hire
It's easy to be motivated when working with great people and were extremely lucky to have connected with Rouselle Carpio as our first hire in 2017.
Rou started as a shy admin assistant who quickly developed into a natural leader. She displays all the qualities we value in a team member at Mortimer Apparel and has played a pivotal role in the business as it stands today.
We are proud to have assembled a group of hard working, responsible, highly motivated people, who use their individual skills to benefit our customers.