Celebrating Australian Made – Corban & Blair, from a female economy perspective

@AuManufacturing’s Celebrating Australian Made editorial series turns today to the value of collaboration in business, and 30 year old design business, Corban & Blair. Here Jade Collins talks with Gillian Corban and Amanda Blair.

Q: How are Corban & Blair’s environmental credentials matching the expectations of ethical consumers?

A: It has always been our purpose to create products that are designer, handmade, useful, relevant and valued, using recycled materials and collaborating with others. In the beginning (1988) it involved imported recycled papers, but we continued to grow our philosophy, by using recycled and upcycled leather, carbon neutral frames, refillable, recycled carbon neutral paper pads, expanding our collaborations and supporting other creative talent in our Window Gallery. We also work with customers to challenge their assumptions about what makes gift and marketing items successful to ensure their message is valued and appreciated.

Q: What is an example of your products that delivers on your environmental promise?

A: DUALITY. The coming together of opposites. reflection, balance and interconnectedness. Made in collaboration with Indigenous Artist Lucy Simpson from Gaawaa Miyay Designs. Lucy Simpson is a Yuwaalaraay woman (northwest New South Wales). She is the founder of design studio Gaawaa Miyay (river daughter) Designs. This (is a) journal made from quality bonded recycled leather, combining 60 percent genuine leather fibres from the shoe and handbag industry. The refillable pad for the journals is made from 100 percent de-inked recycled post-consumer waste collected from offices throughout Australia, it is carbon neutral and made in the Maryvale Mill, in Victoria. Material: Recycled leather, A5 plain wire-bound recycled paper pad – 70 pages of 80gsm paper. Made in Australia.

Q: How do you help empathetic leaders communicate their kindness, concern and their core values to their staff?

A: We question WHY and HOW and what their staff or clients would value as a thank you, acknowledgement or marketing item carrying a company message. Will it be used, is it seen as value, can it be personalised with a logo, monogram or personal note? How is thought and care communicated? How will it enhance the relationship and be seen as appreciation? All these elements need to be designed into the product.

Q: How does your supply chain share and celebrate Australian artists’ stories?

A: As a creative company that relies on our next clever idea, we support and honour the work of other creatives. We do this by incorporating their designs into the linings of our products, as cover designs, (and we) provide cards in all items telling their story and how they can be contacted, by partnering with them to inspire new ideas and voice.

This story first appeared in Femeconomy here.

@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Celebrating Australian Made – is brought to you with the support of the Australian Made Campaign Ltd, licensor of the Australian Made logo. For more information about using the logo, visit this link.

Picture: Amanda Blair, left, and Gillian Corban

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