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It’s always been somewhat of a mystery why Australia can boast of so many fine men’s underwear brands. One possible explanation comes in the form of Aussie underwear giant Pacific Brands, whose financial troubles we recently reported.
It appears that as a result of Pac Brands’ decision a few years ago to offshore some of their production to China, enterprising and patriotic blokes rerouted their underwear budgets to smaller, locally-made brands in solidarity with their laid-off compatriots. These smaller brands like 2wink and Aussiebum were able to make the most of Pac Brands’ bad PR. One brand, Grundies, even claimed to be founded as a result.
Pacific Brands is responsible for the iconic Australian brand Bonds, which for a long time was identified with Australian masculinity itself. So it’s easy to imagine the blow Australian men felt when, in 2010, Pacific Brands ceased all manufacturing in Australia and let 1,850 workers go. Aussiebum, a much smaller competitor who still shared this national identification, was able to capitalize on the bad sentiment Bonds had made for itself, and indirectly condemned Pacific Brands. They advertised themselves as 100% Australian made and owned. To drive the point home, they said “We choose to manufacture all our underwear in New South Wales. Why? Because we are proud of our country and the fact is, it needs our support”. As a result, Aussiebum saw its sales rise almost 40%.
Another brand, 2wink, recently held a day-long promotion dumping the last of its “Made in China” inventory beginning a new era of Aussie-made only underwear.
“At the time when Pacific Brands took their manufacturing off shore, we did receive an increase in unique traffic numbers to our website and sales from Australian consumers.” 2wink CEO Carl McNeill told The Underwear Expert. “At that time, we had just introduced our first 100% Australian made range and due to the positive response and praise from the public, we decided to bring all our manufacturing from China to Australia.”
And although more costly, the benefits of producing in Australia present more than an opportunity to support the Motherland. “Being Australian made was a commercial decision for us as the cost of manufacturing in Australia is far higher,” McNeil continued, “however, the benefit is in stronger quality control and turn around of releasing new ranges at appropriate times.”