Thursday, December 13, 2018

Up, adjust, down

If you're a new subscriber then you will soon learn we are passionate about one thing: Made in Australia. Both our own Aussie made story, and that of other Aussie pioneers.  
One such unsung story is that of a stubborn Queenslander named Llew Ashdown. With a leather goods machine maintenance background, he found himself disillusioned by leather presses on the market.  So he went straight to the drawing board.  He had one goal in mind: to not only build his own press but to make it world class.
After plenty of experimenting and hard work, exactly 25 years ago he boldly stepped on a plane and took his Aussie press straight to Geneva.  Llew exhibited at a Trade Fair with just one product - his Aussie made hand press. The press was simple, yet it provided an elegant solution.  The press won the Fair prize, and interested distributors, from the US and Europe were lining up to sign him up as supplier.  But Llew had only one condition: no consignment.  If you want to do business with Llew you have to come up with the cash. Distributors walked away, wishing him good luck.  All except one; a Canadian who placed an order for 12 presses and happily paid up front.  
In 25 years Llew's business has grown in sales and volume, but quite remarkably the business still employs just one person - its only employee is Llew himself; a man who is stubbornly doing it 'his own way'.  Today, this one man leather press shop is exporting Aussie-made presses to Canada, USA, UK, Germany, France, South Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand. The Queensland clickers sell exceptionally well in Japan for one reason: they do the job better.
My Lucris press arrived last week.  I'm yet to cut my first piece of leather with it but I'm already impressed.  I spoke with Llew, thanked him for being in business for so many decades and congratulated him on his stubbornness.
Designed, assembled and manufactured in Australia?  Yes, of course.

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