The past few months have been a mixture of a strange and interesting ride, as I am sure it has been for most of you.
Thankfully, a lot of it has been on the positive side for my business. I’ve had plenty of time to complete tasks that I had pending in my studio. I’ve been able to carry out more research and development and as a result there are new products in my store such as the natural deodorant salve which many of my customers have been asking for. I’m currently also developing a natural deodorant spray because that is primarily what my husband would prefer. It is for customers who are not too keen about a paste and seeking the convenience of the spraying action.
Along with the development of a new product comes the equally important issue of packaging. Should I opt for glass, metal or plastic? The answers are often not straightforward. My aim from the very beginning was to cut out plastic packaging. While I have been largely successful in doing this, I am faced with another problem in this age of the pandemic.
There has been a shortage of containers and other packaging that I rely on. The material of choice for most of my skincare products has been metal. But this type as well as most glass packaging are not made in this country. My regular packaging supplier relies on imports mainly from China.
The reality of the dearth of manufacturing in Australia in items relating to packaging has hit home. The monopoly and dependence on one country beyond Australia for most of the products sold here is becoming more and more evident.
This issue is not a simple one. It involves big politics, macro-economics and a host of other factors that I am not entirely clear about. But at the ground level, for a small business like mine I am beginning to understand this. I am subject to the lack of Australian made jars and containers because most of the manufacturing has been outsourced to distant lands for maximum profit.
The major thrust of my business being more about localisation, I am beginning to seen more and more the downside of globalisation. I don’t deny that there have been fantastic benefits of open trade but I am questioning the sustainability of this approach.
My attention has now been drawn to the search of Australian manufacturers. This is easier for raw products and items on the handcrafted and artisanal level but much more difficult for other industries.
I believe lessons are being learned and there is a drive to bring back local manufacturing. My aim is to continue to tap into this movement in small but steady steps.