Iconic bootmaker Rossi Boots Australia, one of the great survivors of Australia’s textile, clothing and footwear sector, is giving itself a new lease of life under fourth-generation family owners and managers.
Founded in 1910, 2019 has been a big year for the Adelaide company, which recently moved from its factory in suburban Unley to a new facility double the size nearby Kilburn.
The company says: “After 40 years at their Hilton Factory, Rossi Boots relocated to Kilburn, just 20 minutes down the road.
“Rossi Boots meet their global demand through a mix of Australian made boots as well as product made by international manufacturing partners, who produce some of Rossi’s designs offshore.”
Now brand marketing manager, Jayne-Anne Power and managing director Myron Mann have begun to show off the new facility, showing Steve Georganas MP around the new factory (pictured).
The company, which employs 80 at the new plant, received grants worth $300,000 from the state government to help with the expansion, and to pay for a new IT platform, website and 24/7 customer service centre.
But the investment belies the far deeper managerial transformation that has taken place in Rossi, with systems and strategies overhauled as fourth-generation family took over the business after the global financial crisis.
From the difficult times of the GFC, Rossi is now exporting to the US, Europe and China, and experienced 112 per cent growth in exports in 2018.
Interviewed by family business magazine, Tharawat, business development manager Melinda Rossiter said the industry had changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
She said: “The resiliency and flexibility needed to navigate these profound changes didn’t exist when we joined.
“Rossi Boots was still operating the same way it had been in its heyday, but there were too many different styles, and it just wasn’t working.”
The new generation has been able to restructure, redesign and relocate.
“Over the last four years, we’ve changed everything – including the culture, which has meant significant staffing changes as well.
“It’s been hard work.”
Founded as Rossiter’s Pty Ltd in 1910, the company came to prominence making sports boots, before equipping Australian diggers in world war one.
Now 110 years later, they have a new future.
Pictures: Rossi Boots
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