We are grateful everyday that we can do what we love. This is only possible through the support of our families, friends and customers. This support means we can support others, the Australian economy and strive to improve what we do.
As we sat at our dining room table in 2016 discussing and formulating our plans to set up a business, there were a few things which were always going to be the pillars of our business. These pillars are even more ingrained in our minds today as they were then, and continue to be our guiding principles.
We are proud Aussies and as such Bandicute will always remain Australian-made. Despite the many (well-known) challenges of remaining true to this belief, it is something we remain passionate about. It would be much more profitable to go offshore, but everything in our hearts says ‘no’. It’s by no means the easy path but being Australian-made is a principle we live by. We accept a lower profit margin because it is so important we keep our Australian-made Bandicute products accessible to all. We think it's the right thing to do - to do our bit to support Australian jobs and the economy.
WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN
We recognise women's struggles and often economic inequalities and so love supporting other women through Bandicute. Since 2017 we have been lucky enough to surround ourselves with amazing business women who are vital to the continuated success of Bandicute. These wonder women include our seamstresses, web developer, trademark lawyer, and marketing advisor to name but a few. We love collaborating with other women on special projects and regularly meet up with local women in business networks to swap ideas and chat about our successes and challenges.
Bandicute aims to bring nature and joy into your lives through our fun, quirky and expressive designs.
Bandicute started partially from a creative itch we needed to scratch. We come from creative backgrounds (Jess an illustrator and Ellen a printmaker) and we thought we could use these passions and skills to create a unique business. The idea of Bandicute came about when a gap in the market became apparent after Jess’ two daughters (Lilly and Hannah) were born. So many baby and kids clothing featuring foxes, rabbits, deers, raccoons, bears and safari animals! Why, when we have the most amazing animals in Australia that deserve to be celebrated and worn with pride?! The Australian type fabric designs we did find were often kitsch and old fashioned, whereas we were looking for something more contemporary and simple in design. And so our first print was born - our Little Aussies.
Since then we have branched out into hand-printed items which gives us a chance to unleash our creativity in a spontaneous and fun way. Unlike digitally printed fabric, our hand printed fabric designs can come to life in a day. Our hand-printed designs can be applied in so many ways without the financial burden of digitally printed fabric. Likewise with our lasercut acrylic products which we produce in our studio in Gunning.
Very early on in the piece we answered a call out from a wonderful Tasmanian charity, Tandum. Tandum were looking to collaborate with someone to help raise money to be donated to girls in Kenya who couldn’t attend school due to lack of feminine hygiene products. At the time we were making shibori (indigo tie-dye) products and thought we could help. We reached out to Tandum and collaborated to make hand dyed shibori scarves. A portion from the sale of each scarf was donated to Tandum which meant one girl would receive a re-usable sanitary kit and be able to attend school. To date our collaboration has provided re-usable sanitary kits to over 240 school girls in Kenya, giving them the gift of education! This is without a doubt one of our greatest achievements.
Because of our love of Australian animals and our farming background, we looked closer to home to support some worthwhile causes. Preferring to support smaller charities we reached out to Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust (a not for profit) and Hive Aid (an arm of Rural Aid) both of which suffered greatly after the devastating drought of 2019 and bushfires of 2020. Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust, a trio of koala sanctuaries, was completely destroyed in the fires. Our donations go towards the re-establishment of Two Thumbs Wildlife Trust as rehabilitation centre for wildlife, especially koalas whose local population was greatly reduced due to the bushfires. HiveAid was set up to support professional bee-keepers who also suffered greatly due to drought and the bushfires. More recently we are hoping our donations will support bee farmers affected by the recently introduced varroa mite in NSW which has necessitated the destruction of hundreds of bee hives.
We do our best to minimise our environmental footprint in all we do, from packaging to garment production, to minimising waste. We make careful decisions to extend the lifespan of the garment and our prints are thoughtfully considered - if we don’t think it’s something our customers will love, we won’t make it. Our pieces are trans-seasonal, designed to be layered when extra warmth is needed or worn on their own in the warmer months.Where possible we make our items adjustable, with elastic waistbands and adjustable straps. Our hand printed garments are cut from the blank fabric before we print on them so we can use the smaller scraps to make other hand printed items – for example zip-pouches. Nothing is wasted! In fact, those scraps we can’t use we donate to a local quilting group who use the fabric to into quilts for Anglicare, eventually going to women and children escaping domestic violence.We choose digital fabric printing for our children’s clothing as it uses less water and is better for the planet. For our hand printed items we use water based, non-toxic, eco-friendly, Australian made inks. Being a small hand-made business means our production runs are much smaller with less risk of over-production and wastage.Our acrylic items are made in our studio, so similarly we don’t make more than we need. We use every little piece of acrylic possible and recycle any pieces to small to use. We package sustainably, using compostable mailers, no-issue tissue paper and re-usable gift wrapping.
As a small business we are doing our best to continue our development while we try to minimise our impact on the environment. We are striving to do good and to do it the best way we can.