A Guest Post by Summer, a local Gold Coaster passionate about Australian Made UGG boots
From its humble beginnings within the shearing sheds of New South Wales, UGG Australian Made Since 1974 is an iconic, third-generation, family owned business that prides itself on remaining fiercely Australian in the face of international competition. The company’s heritage, quality workmanship and bespoke Australian products speak volumes of unwavering patriotism and is something not only we, as Australians, should undoubtedly take pride in but Australia as a whole.
The company blossomed under the watchful eye of an adolescent, Aussie countryside, Arthur Springthorpe, whose passion for quality sheepskin, wool and wool products stemmed from his experience in Australian woolsheds where he was employed as a wool classer. As a wool classer, Arthur’s expertise laid within examining the raw characteristics of the wool and grading it accordingly. What better experience to have if you will go on to handcraft the world’s finest quality UGG boots?
With a wealth of knowledge and skills, Arthur (with the held of his wife Faye) began handcrafting sheepskin and kangaroo products out of a small shed in a coastal town of New South Wales. It was then, in the early 1970s, that the iconic Australian innovation known as UGG boots rose to fame on the east coast of Australia. Naturally, as the popularity of UGGs increased within Australia, Faye and Arthur began selling them as part of their pre-existing collection of kangaroo and sheepskin products. For Faye and Arthur, their initial vision for the company was to support their family by capitalizing on the ever growing, Australian tourism industry; however, little did they know that the product of their Australian dream would become a worldwide necessity.
Arthur and his wife Faye relocated the company to the Gold Coast in the late 1980s where they continued to work tirelessly to maintain quality workmanship, luxurious comfort and timeless style in each and every pair of UGG boots.
By the late 1990s, UGGs were splashed across billboards and magazines, rising to fame universally on the feet of celebrities, politicians and athletes. By this time, the company had been passed to the next generation of the family to continue Arthur’s legacy, and going on to work in collaboration with luxury and pop-culture brands such as Swarovski and Hello Kitty.
Then, with the innovation of the world wide web in 1990, the world quickly started to become a much a smaller place. It was almost impossible for the company to meet the demand as more and more people sought genuine UGG boots made in Australia - particularly, in countries with colder climates where reaping the benefits of the properties of sheepskin boots was priceless.
However, the internet enabled Australian products and ideas to be shared across the seas and it was only a matter of time before the American company Deckers Outdoor Corporation trademarked “UGG” in 1999, claiming the mark exclusively related to their product despite UGG boots having already been sold in Australia (and arguably many other countries around the world) well before their trademark application was made.
This move by Deckers inhibited the sharing of Australian Made UGGs with 174 countries across the globe, giving only Deckers the ability to sell sheepskin boots called UGG. However, after several years of protracted legal battles led by a group of Australian UGG manufacturers, Deckers lost their trademark in Australia and New Zealand, with our Australian Courts correctly ruling that UGG was not capable of being trademarked by Deckers, given what we all already know: UGG is indeed a generic term for a sheepskin boots.
Sadly for our iconic Australian innovation, Deckers retains their trademark over UGG in most countries outside Australia and New Zealand, meaning that any “UGG” boots purchased outside of Australia are likely to be Deckers boots (or counterfeits of them), which either way, are not made in Australia. Due to the overriding power of marketing and a multi-billion dollar company, people still believe that what they are purchasing is authentically Australian and genuinely manufactured here. However, the reality is that 96% of the world’s “UGG” products are mass-produced in China, Vietnam and so on.
Another common misconception is that anything branded UGG is genuine and produced in Australia – particularly, if it has Australian Made tags. Unfortunately, customers can again be misled because there are many other companies with UGG logos appearing similar in appearance. Most of these companies now sell only Chinese made products. This is how many companies “pull the wool over the eyes” of their customers, so to speak. Sometimes, customers believe they are buying Australian Made goods for a price that is not achievable for genuine products. Frankly, it is real a challenge to find Australian Made UGGs against this background and checking the sew-in label is an absolute must.
Now a third-generation family business, UGG Since 1974, has been making the finest quality UGG boots within Australian and with an Australia work force for almost five decades. They are as real as real gets in terms of truly Australian UGG boots staying true to their origins, offering factory tours and customers the option to customise their handmade UGG boots within 24 hours.
Whilst it would be easy to join the crowds and take manufacturing offshore, the work of businesses like UGG Since 1974 leads to a healthy farming sector, higher employment rates throughout the supply chain and a stronger Australian economy. It also gives our nation a true presence in the world as a leader in the quality of goods that we produce. In true Australian fashion, UGG Since 1974 is proud of what they do and this bleeds into their manufacturing. Their customers purchase their products knowing they are buying quality, 100% Australian made products. This is a reputation that has been built by the family who gave birth to the idea and have nurtured it for almost 50 years. UGG Australian Made Since 1974 is a true credit to our country, our farming industry, and what Australians stand for. Every UGG boot and every day is important to not only their legacy, but to the reputation and economy of Australia.
So no matter your view on wearing UGGs, we ask to start thinking about what you are buying and where you are buying from. Have you checked the sew in label to ensure you are buying local?
The boots manufactured by UGG Since 1974 aren’t just another pair of UGGs – they are one of the minority that are actually Australian made. And by the time you purchase a pair, they’ve already been through more than 50 pairs Australian hands: from farmers to wool classers, couriers to suppliers, cutters to machinists, packers to sales assistants, and into your home. Now that’s something with a story, and something worth buying.