Having SoulHow does it look when a brand has soul?
We recently met up with Davey Hughes and some of the Swazi Clan at the annual Sika Show in Taupo, New Zealand. We are nearing the end of our trip in New Zealand. Canada's winter is laying ahead of us. We needed to stock up on Swazi gear for the changing season.
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Swazi is an iconic apparel producer in New Zealand (one of the few left in the country, thanks to globalization and outsourcing to lower cost producing countries). We like to check in with Davey, the founder of Swazi to see what innovations he came up with to keep us warm and dry for the outdoors. He's been working recently on a jacket that is ideal for outdoor emergency changes in weather. It is something light and "high-tech" that will keep you dry when hiking and won't add a lot of weight to your pack. We saw firsthand how light and durable it is.
Swazi clothes are made in Levin, New Zealand. It’s made by a passionate group of people who live nearby. Their names are stitched into the inside of the collar. I don't know of any other clothes manufacturer that takes this much pride in encouraging people to be proud of the things they make.
Swazi's clothes last. The testimonials on their site and the many letters at their office are proof that people love their gear. Who's gear you may ask? Once you become the owner of a Swazi garment, it becomes part of you. It is that durable. Swazi clothes have soul like the people that conceived and make it.
Swazi gear might cost a few dollars more. But in 15 year's time when your shirt is looking a bit worse for wear, it will still give you faithful service. If it needs repair then Donna, who made it in the first instance, is likely still around to do it for you. For Davey, it is much more rewarding to watch people grow than to look at a bank balance grow. He mentioned on his website: "Bank balances just get bigger. People get better."
See our profile we did on Davey and his team earlier this year, here.
Davey also had a Canadian Moose on display (see photo below). We just had to get the story and stayed for his presentation of the hunt and pictures from the trip. How do we know it is a Canadian Moose? Because it came from the Yukon - our beautiful backyard.
By bringing the Moose to New Zealand, he gave many Kiwi children and adults, probably their only chance to ever see the real size and grandeur of these beautiful animals. We take our Moose for granted in the wilderness of Canada. In New Zealand, a country without much wildlife, it is the main attraction to an event.
The Swazi business is an innovative endeavour on several fronts. Davey is the brand of the company. His hunting and conservation stories make for excellent entertainment and drive core values of care for people and the environment. The stakeholders of the enterprise is a big and committed family. People love making the garments. Customers like wearing it and the story of the company is inspirational.
Swazi inspires as a typical local producer that is doing well weathering the storm of globalisation and cheap overseas manufacturing by focussing on his niche of outdoor apparel. They create a tonne of value for a community and customers. The company is leading the market in online retailing by exclusively selling directly to customers.
Lastly, but most importantly, the Swazi products are outstanding! You can get them here: www.swazi.co.nz.
Keep an eye out and let us know when you spot us in our Swazi gear. The first person that posts a photo of us on Facebook, in our branded Swazi Jackets will get a Swazi gift from the Two Cowboys. That is a promise!
Hendrik van Wyk
Swazi Clansman and Cowboy
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|Moose on the... Stand|
|Keeping a Promise|