With the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still being felt across many different industries, there’s never been a better time than now to shop local.
‘Australian made’ refers to products that are manufactured right here in Australia using only local materials and resources. Not to be confused with ‘made in Australia’ labels (products only partially manufactured or assembled here using imported materials), homegrown is synonymous with quality and reliability.
Whether it’s buying a new bed or ordering an office table, furniture that is made and sold on Australian soil is saving jobs and businesses, as well as saving buyers from what is often a lengthy and expensive experience off-shore.
So, if you’re still thinking about investing in a piece of Australian made furniture, here are our top 5 reasons why you should, and why now is the best time to buy…
1. It supports the Australian economy
As mentioned, COVID-19 has had a lot to do with the current conditions that companies are in. From business costs being at an all-time high, to staff numbers being at an all-time low, the road back to recovery has been a bumpy one, and it’s ongoing.
However, consumers – everyday Aussies - have the power to make a difference.
By spending and investing in local businesses, you’re keeping your money in Australia where it’s needed the most right now. Your interest has a ripple effect, helping to create more demand for jobs, therefore opening up more opportunities for work, thus boosting the economy.
When you buy Australian made furniture, you’re not just buying that piece, you’re buying a piece of that company’s history too, meaning they can afford to stick around and make even more.
2. It’s made to Australian standards
Furniture that is Australian made is required by law to adhere to strict quality standards.
For example, children’s furniture must not have any dangerous parts or gaps that a child can fall in or get trapped in, and must specify safety information. There are also several Australian and New Zealand standards applied to upholstered furniture (such as ignitability and cleaning) and wooden furniture (including distortion and surface finish).
This attention to detail and focus on quality means that Australian made furniture is always strong, stable, functional and robust, and therefore, more likely to last. But if a customer does have any issues, having the business they bought from nearby will make follow-ups or repair enquiries simple and stress-free.
Getting custom pieces created is popular and also easy when it’s made locally too, as understanding design briefs, costs and approving examples of the finished piece itself can all be done in-person and without delay.
3. It’s ethically made & sustainably sourced
Although a lot of companies claim to be ethical and environmentally friendly, it’s hard to know for sure, especially when they are based overseas. Slave labour, unsafe work conditions and toxic materials are all unfortunately still commonplace, but not common if you buy Australian made.
Here, it’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure their workplace, machinery and any other pieces of equipment onsite are safe and properly maintained. They need to provide all staff with adequate training and instructions, supervision, pay and entitlements, and be prepared to act professionally and promptly if any allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behaviour arise.
Sadly, these basic human rights aren’t afforded to all employees overseas, and although imported products are cheaper (therefore more desirable) it’s often because savings have been made at the expense of the workers’ safety and security.
For example, furniture that is imported is likely to contain chemicals that are banned in Australia, either used in the manufacturing process or as part of the packaging for transportation and shipping. They’re often found in timbers, glues, foams and fabrics, and can be harmful to both humans and the environment.
Here at ND Furniture, our products are crafted from local and sustainably sourced materials, and our team are all highly trained. We predominately work with reclaimed wood, such as old building materials from old homes, factories as well as industrial crates, wine boxes and timber signs, which minimises our environmental impact by reducing waste and mass-producing practices. Using recycled wood also means our furniture is full of character, texture, one-of-a-kind features and the stories of their previous lives ingrained.
4. Cheaper & quicker delivery
Another causality of the pandemic (and now the Russia-Ukraine war) has been skyrocketing postage prices.
Lockdowns and restrictions forced people to go digital, and although things are mostly open back open around the world, the online shopping trend has remained. A high demand for imported goods together with a global shortage of cargo containers has seen an increase in congestion, delays and shipping costs.
If you’ve shopped online lately, you would have noticed how expensive it is to buy from an international seller. Mailing to Australia may have been pricey before COVID-19, but now postage is almost the same as (sometimes more than) the cost of the item itself!
If you were to buy Australian made, however, this wouldn’t be an issue.
Shipping costs will obviously be significantly lower because the distance the item needs to travel is short, and depending on your proximity, pick-up might even be an option. Local delivery also means lower ecological costs, such as greenhouse gas emissions
5. Warranty guaranteed
Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), Australians are entitled to warranties on local goods even if they have extended beyond the manufacturer warranty period. This law applies to all businesses in states and territories across the country. Depending on the manufacturer, there may also be additional company warranties and guarantees in place for Australian residents.
Common examples of warranties include promises about the quality, condition and characteristics of the product, what it can do and how long for, and the availability of servicing and supplies.