|Published on: Oct 16, 2018|Categories: Geelong Local| Our Story – The Laboratory Paul Chrimes & Ben Bowen We believe that a good story is all about the journey! Whether it’s waking up and starting the day out surfing, or finishing it off sipping on a bold glass of Shiraz, this is ours! Here we are, nestled away down on the Southwest Coast of Victoria. 30 years ago we began our own journey working for Austin Brothers – an import wholesale business in kidswear, menswear and ladieswear. Paul worked within the kids wear sector and became CEO for the company. Ben worked in ladies wear. and became the General Manager. It was shortly after starting with the company that our career allowed us to started traveling over to Asia and India. Something we still value to this day is that we were able to meet with new people and begin developing relationships with our future partners, the ones who make our garments come alive. Following a brief time away from the rag trade in 2005, we decided it was our time to return to the industry and establish our own company. We started off manufacturing branded kids clothing, and wholesale selling them to independent businesses across Australia and also David Jones. 18 months later, we moved into producing ladies wear. This is where we generated and produced our first label Ellis & Dewey, which is still a major label in our business today! Just over 12 years ago we opened the doors to our first retail boutique, housing our first label Ellis & Dewey. This was later complimented with our subsequently developed labels A Little Birdy Told Me, and Alessi. Our flagship store lies on the vibrant shopping precinct of Pakington Street, here in our home town of Geelong. There was acceptance and the opportunity to expand, so we did! We have grown our store footprint from 1 – 14 as we carefully picked out unique towns and positions in regional Victoria and New South Wales. This enabled us to be distinctively unique and identified as a brand. Our stores encourage a relaxed, yet quirky environment and spread from the coast line in Barwon Heads and Torquay, through to Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and all the way to the top of the Victorian Border along the Murray River and into New South Wales. Our company values of loyalty and honesty govern our on going relationships with our suppliers internationally. Over the years we have gained strong and long lasting relationships with everyone who plays a role in bringing our ideas and garments to life. Some we have been collaborating with for over 20 years and each and every one of our relationships is based on mutual respect and trust. Our international factories always comply with ethical labour practices and policies and we are always ensuring their code of conduct is being upheld. As we evolve, so do they! We uphold our relationship with our suppliers and visit each factory a minimum of 5 times per year, giving us the opportunity to live, learn and breathe their culture, which is something we have valued doing since the mid 80’s. As we head into our 13th year, the team at The Lab is constantly growing and expanding. One thing we value most, is our people who work with us, not for us. We might still be writing the story, but thank you for reading this small chapter.