I think we all might know by now I went back to work, the paid variety, earlier this year. Whilst it’s the first time I’ve ever done fashion retail, it is once again for a family run business…I seem to be attracted to them! And I couldn’t be happier <3 Motto is somewhere I admittedly had not ventured into before but after a series of gloriously happy coincidences it was obviously where I was meant to be and happily am. And the more I learn about the remarkable family who own and run this business, the more impressed and amazed I am. To have a business which has survived over 30 years in Melbourne is no mean feat by itself…but to have such #shoplocal values at it’s core and have been designing and manufacturing in Melbourne for this long as well is just incredible. I know what Motto has added to my life so I can only imagine just how many others have been positively affected as well.
Please introduce yourself…
I’m Lauren, mum of 1, Business Owner
Tell us about Motto…
I am one of the owners of Motto Fashions. My parents started the business 30 years ago and 10 years ago I came in and started their online store. Since then, I’ve opened several retail stores and continued the growth of the online division of the business. Motto sells womens clothing and we also own our own manufacturing company so most of our range is produced right here in Melbourne!
So this is Lauren, with Faye and John, aka mum and dad. They are the heart & soul of Motto. I cannot speak highly enough of these 3 amazing individuals, (again the gushing 😉 ) They all work together on each piece which is just incredible!
Where are you based?
I’m based at our head quarters in Alphington, and we have several stores around Melbourne and 1 in Canberra. We also sell online and sell to other boutiques throughout Australia and New Zealand who carry the Motto brand in their own stores. In regards to expansion…we see this will come from the USA when we launch a new wholesale division to focus on this area. Although this will transform our business globally, our true passion lies in using our existing retail stores and focusing on building our brand to be a household name known for quality and style.
And quality is at the heart of their brand. I cannot tell you just how many customers I’ve met who have had their Motto pants, top, jacket for >5 years and it’s still going strong! For me Motto represents the whole anti-fast fashion debate. Sure a $5 tee from Kmart is a bargain and you can buy 10 if that’s what you want but how long will it last and who is making this garment and what are they being paid in order for you to pay just $5 for it?? Would you not rather pay more for a garment that will last you until you can’t stand the sight of it any more and know that it’s not underpaid workers in horrible factories making them. RMIT has an amazing exhibition on until September 9th, “Fast Fashion: The Dark Side Of Fashion“, which explores the real cost of fast fashion. And yes I am guilty of buying this fast fashion at times, especially when it comes to the kids, but replacing some of my own purchases at least is a step in the right direction and actually supports families just like mine, like yours…
When did you start your business & why?
My Mum and Dad started it 30 years ago. They previously worked together at another well-known Australian brand and Faye was the designer and John head of production. This is where they learnt all their skills, then ventured out to create their own line.
Previously to me coming to Motto, I worked in a womens fashion agency in Melbourne and was the brand manager for many brands. We also had a few in-house brands that I designed so during my time there I had a lot of experience with this field. After being there for a few years and having grown my knowledge, I was keen to come and see how I could make my mark on the family business.
Why #shoplocal is important to you?
We source as much as possible from Aus! Its pretty hard to do these days as no fabrics are made here any more, but where possible we support our fellow business owners as much as we can. We make 95% of our range right here in Melbourne and have sample makers, to machinists, to pattern makers (and everything in between). As a company, we employ about 50 staff, and also have about the same amount of contractors out there who we use on a regular basis.
Up to about a year ago, 100% of the Motto range was manufactured in Melbourne, but due to machinery and skills decreasing, we have had to “dabble” in China so we can continue to be strong as a company. For us, it has nothing to do with profits or money. We buy high end fabrics which aren’t cheap in China!! But, we have found there is more opportunity in China to add new lines to our business (such as denim which has become a staple line for us). Denim can not be manufactured in Australia at all, and many things like shirts for example, will not sell at the price they need to if we make in Australia.
This just might be the (my) jacket of the season from @mottofashions ! It’s another favourite in my wardrobe, and this week in support of Fashion Revolution Week, I am asking who made my jacket? I’m inviting Motto designers Faye and Lauren to pop by and share🖤. CHECK BELOW ON THE COMMENTS FOR A RESPONSE FROM DESIGNER @laurenkatebrowne 👏🏻👏🏻
This was the response: Hi Deb!!! You look great (as always). Most of Mottos clothing is actually made right here in Australia 🇦🇺Motto own their own manufacturing company so we have 100% control on work conditions and quality. Our makers have been long standing contractors (I’m talking 20 years plus!) and we work very closely together to ensure every garment is up to scratch. We also have in house pattern makers, seamstresses & cutters who have been working with Motto for most of their careers. Occasionally, we have to manufacture garments in China due to lack of machinery in Australia (for example, the jacket you are wearing, plus all denims and other fabric trims which you can not get in Australia). We only deal with small independently owned factories, whom we have met personally and have a long standing relationship with. We always use an Australian agent who “manages” this production with us to continue supporting our fellow contacts still in Oz. We are committed to keeping the industry alive in Australia, and will continue manufacturing here for as long as possible!!! Sadly, not many young people are taking up this trade so once our makers retire, we have no young people to continue through the ranks. This is why we are dabbling in offshore production so when that time comes (and it may still be 15 years+ away!) we are ready and have trusted factories we know.
The important question: TEA OR COFFEE???!!!!
where can we find you digitally? Give us all your deets!
before signing off, anything else?
10% member discount (forever and always for the length of your membership which is FREE), just sign up online or instore to become a Motto member. Plus if you sign up online you receive a $20 voucher!!
this is my fave piece in store at the moment, & a bit of a hint at what is to come for SS17. I cannot wait, so many gorg pieces which you will bombarded with on insta and fb as they land instore and I can share them with you! And if you’re in the market for a new pair of jeans, pop back to this post to see my argument for gunmetal over black jeans, then come and see me instore to find your fit; skinny, slim, classic or cropped. They’re seriously COMFY and I rarely find any jeans comfy.
And in exciting news for Motto, they’ve just recently announced Nikki Parkinson, as in Styling You, Nikki Parkinson as their brand ambassador! Nikki is known for her love of Australian labels and has quite the cult following so make sure you get into Motto and nab some awesome pieces before she spruiks them and they disappear off the shelves so to speak!!! Which is what happened to the Crepe Fab Tunic first time round…they’ve had to put it back into production to keep up with demand!
Thank you so much Lauren for taking part in this #shoplocal series, we’ve loved reading your story xx