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Rise in manufacturing enquiries

28th August 2007

Reports that manufacturing prices are rising in China appear to have contributed to increasing enquiries into the production facilties operated by Soraya Bannister in Queensland.

"We are getting a lot of enquiries about our manufacturing as Chinese prices are starting to go up slightly," said Bannister who operates the ES Noelle Designs manufacturing operation as well as producing her label Bated Breath.

Bannister pushes Australian-made as a sought-after feature in certain market categories.

"It depends on the market you're in," she said. "Australian-made can help you to get loyalty from customers; I believe it's what people are looking for as well as consistency and quality of garment."

While she faces the same challenges as others in manufacturing with the skills shortage increasingly evident, Bannister said she would "bite the bullet" if it became clear demand for the company's services was on a growth spurt and required further investment.

"The hardest problem we have is getting staff," she said.

Bannister said her all-round abilities helped to make the operation run smoothly as she was a specialist in all areas including pattern making, design and sampling.

"I'm promoting us as a sample house as well, as a one-stop shop," she said.

"There are a lot more enquiries now so it's a positive situation; the work is there but the staff are hard to find and time consuming to train.

"I would expand definitely if the work came; at some stage, you have to bite the bullet."

But she also commented on how difficult it had become to "snap your fingers and get things done" with so much of the manufacturing infrastructure such as machinery no longer in Australia.

Meanwhile, she has committed to showing the Bated Breath collection at the new BIG3 trade fair in February 2008 on the Gold Coast that will focused on the board, sports and beach trade.

- Dawn Adams

Thank you to ATF Magazine for the use of this article