Anyone that knows me well, knows my family is the most important thing to me, and my friends I consider my family. I love to cook for my loved ones & consider myself a foodie at heart! I love to go fishing, but don’t get to do it nearly as much as I would like. I enjoy a serious cheese platter with a beautiful local red wine to match. I also suffer from a debilitating chronic disease called Endometriosis & am working towards raising awareness & funds to assist those that suffer. Spending time with my amazing partner & his children is where you’ll find me at my happiest!
Where did the idea for Aussie Battler come from?
When it was clear I was looking to enter the apparel industry, we sat as a family and spoke about a name that would capture the true nature of Aussies and what we are known for. It was fortunate that Dad’s boat was called Aussie Battler, and what better term to capture and embody the Australian Spirit and something I could relate my personal journey to. The boat was purchased 12 years ago, we always believed every Australian can relate to the term in some way; we all experience hardships, loss, heartbreak, and difficult times. But despite adversity and all odds, Aussies male, female, young and old, we continue to battle on. Although the term Aussie Battler historically was coined for male swagmen during the depression of the 1890’s, it has morphed to represent anyone who wouldn’t and doesn’t give up. The trait of never giving up and fighting on is so relevant to the time we are currently living in.
Talk to us about your journey with Aussie Battler.
Wow!!! Our journey, and I say ‘our’ because none of this would be possible without my incredible team (we are small, but mighty) has been one hell of a journey so far! I think it’s important to say it took me roughly 4 years to secure the trademark for Aussie Battler in apparel… yes that long! The trademark was already acquired but had never been moved on, so after our case was finally put in front of the trademark board, it was quickly ruled in our favour as I was ready and waiting to hit the go button. As a brand, that was our first battle fought and won! Seeing as though acquiring trademarks wasn’t as easy as you may think, I thought about our future as a brand and decided to apply for trademarks in the Aussie Battler brand in different categories, a bit of a safeguard for our future if we decide to venture into these other areas. It was all systems go and I then began to meet with local Adelaide branding companies to find the right fit for us to develop our brand suite, logos, emblems etc. In the meantime, I’d started to put together my itinerary for my very first international trip to meet with potential manufacturers etc. I jetted off end of May 2019, accompanied by my father (my business mentor) and that was when the ball really got rolling on AB.
Once deciding to dive into AB, it was full throttle! After arriving back to Australian shores, I met with my then designer at the time in Victoria to develop our very first collection. Fun-fact: we launched as a menswear brand, but quickly learnt women are the shoppers (funny that) and they would grow our brand. Fast forward a year and a bit, I was employing my third and current designer, and we were working on the re-launch as a womenswear label. We haven’t looked back since! Having said that we certainly haven’t said goodbye to menswear (stay tuned).
We’ve just excitably celebrated our 2nd birthday early January. And as many businesses have, we’ve pivoted & changed course for the better. Sadly, launching right as Covid decided to rear its ugly head across the globe, it meant we needed to place the brand on ice so to speak & assess our why, our purpose and our goals. We decided the focus would be on women’s wear, activewear & comfort wear and away we went again! Madness, probably, but we did it! A whole new website, new social media look, new marketing, the works. But with a small number of uber talented individuals based here in SA and regional VIC, we did it. Our re-launch was a success & we quickly made the jump into wholesale, securing our first retailer here in SA & from there we’ve now accumulated and grown our retailer stockists to 30+ across Australia & New Zealand, something I’m so proud of!
Our next exciting step and add on to the AB brand was something I had written as part of my 5-year business plan, and to say we’ve managed to get here in 2 years is incredible! And with thanks to the wonderful Kylie here at Aleenta and the team at Whola, we’ve successfully entered into a new market collaborating with businesses/brands and companies to design, manufacture & deliver their very own clothing ranges. I'm still pinching myself! To say I now make clothing for others, is surreal & something I am incredibly grateful for. To have others recognise our quality, our workmanship, our attention to detail and our style and want to work with us is truly, truly amazing and we are already growing this side of the business, having secured and delivered stock to yet another super cool and growing local business. I don’t take these opportunities for granted & can’t wait to place most of my focus of this part of the business moving forward & to watch it grow.
What does Aussie Battler stand for?
Aussie Battler is a street-meets-sports lifestyle brand that recognises that Aussie fighting spirit in all of us with contemporary style codes to inspire our everyday lives. Aussie Battler is a platform where women can be strong, bold, fit and individual, yet supported. The Aussie Battler philosophy celebrates an active way of life through quality design and construction and is specifically designed to take you from the studio to street. We believe every Australian can relate to the term Aussie Battler in some way. We all experience hardship, loss, heartbreak and difficult times. Strong women are not born, they are created by the storms they survive. These women are our superheroes.
I like stories where women save themselves… The women whom I love, admire and look up to for their strength and grace did not get that way because things worked out. They got that way because things went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Life can be extremely painful at times, but some women are just too strong to let it bring them down. Not all women let life hurt and discourage them. Some come out of the fire even stronger and wiser, and they spread their wings to reach even higher heights. They can find the light in any darkness. They can survive the hardships, grow past their failures and let their struggles craft a better, stronger and wiser version of themselves. They are the inspiration that many desperate women out there seek. The strength that gives them hope. The motivation they need to push onwards and the living proof that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. Strong women don’t have a problem showing their weaknesses and let people know that they too are flawed human beings. Regardless of the hardships life throws at them, they have enough strength in them to get back up on their feet, combat the issues at hand, and keep on fighting. Please don’t be ashamed of your story! It will inspire others, I urge women, don’t stop sharing your stories! This is what Aussie Battler stands for...
What's been your biggest challenge?
Hands down – manufacturing and shipping! My goodness! Securing manufacturers both internationally and here on Aussie soil is no mean feat. Our biggest issue I feel as a brand in its infancy stages is acquiring high quality manufacturers willing to work with low MOQ’s (low order quantities). Unfortunately, most manufacturers have high MOQ’s as they may work with larger brands and companies globally, so to work with us as a small brand it’s not terribly appealing. However, we have been lucky enough to find a few rare gems willing to work with us as we grow and we are so grateful for their patience, their understanding and their willingness to work with us. As far a shipping goes, what a nightmare! Sadly, Covid has caused some serious issues globally regarding shipping and this has resulted in epic delays, HUGE costs and ultimately this flows on to our customers. For example, new collections are launched incredibly late, our RRP may have slight increases, the behind the scenes of the apparel world is a whole new world, a world to me that most don’t understand and something I’d love share more of (something I’m working on) it’s of course something we wish we could control more. I guess the upside is we are not alone in this, big brands are also dealing with the exact same issues we are and we are all in the same boat (no pun intended). A special mention also to marketing and brand awareness! This is an ongoing struggle: marketing is a whole different beast when it comes to fashion and retail, both online and in-store. It's something I recognised as a difficulty early in the business and something we are constantly working on as team.
Is being a female founder a help or hindrance?
Both!!! You only need to look at history to see some of the strongest people that have left their mark are women. Women have had to battle for everything they have attained in society and it hasn’t been an easy journey. We’ve had to fight for equal rights and still do to this day. We’ve battled to have a right to vote, for equal wages (still battling), the ability and right to play and participate in professional, male-dominated sports, the list goes on... To say I haven’t struggled to be heard in a room full of the opposite sex would be a lie, but I am very pleased to see and say that more and more men are changing their attitudes towards women in the workplace, changing their outlooks on strong, independent and confident women. Not to say there’s not a lot more room for improvement, but I feel there’s been a shift, even if slight, and I look forward to seeing more and more women breaking those glass ceilings and showing the world just how capable they are of big things!
What's the future look like for Megan and Aussie Battler?
The future…I’m sure I’m not alone when I say it’s both a scary but exciting prospect! The future for Aussie Battler as a brand is trying to combat the flow on effects and issues from the dreaded Covid pandemic and what that looks like for us moving forward. As a brand, and I know we are not alone in this, the global pandemic has shifted everything within every industry, no one has been untouched! So, it’s imperative we think about our brand position, our goals for the future. Are they attainable? If so, what do we need to do to get there and if not, it’s time to reflect and change course to better us in this new world we find ourselves in. My biggest focus for AB will be the growth of our collaboration side of the business. I want to be the point of contact for gyms, studios, sports clubs, surf lifesaving communities and more across Australia, to design, develop and create their very own clothing ranges and merch. So, moving forward, that will be our key focus as a company.
Personally, I can happily say my future looks wonderful!! I am incredibly lucky to have a truly amazing partner in my life and together with his two beautiful children, we have lots of adventures planned, lots of family time together and lots of memories to be made. On another personal level, I am working hard behind the scenes on programs, podcasts, books and conferences regarding my story and my journey with Endometriosis. I have a difficult, tough and sad story to share, but I know it’s important I do. It's time for me to disclose this and to communicate the true side to this disease, to raise awareness, to raise funding, to change guidelines, to inform the medical world, and to assist our friends and family on understanding our life with this disease. I want all sufferers to know they are not alone; I stand with them! And together we can and will battle this!
Food – Oooh, this is always a hard one, but I have to say I am a big fan of Greek cuisine!
Exercise? Why? – I’m an absolute Barre/Pilates advocate! It really is the full-body workout, you tend to find muscles you never knew you had after each session! But it’s amazing for every strength and confidence level, no matter where you are on your fitness or well-being journey, you can absolutely participate in a Barre/Pilates class and reap all the benefits. Aside from Barre/Pilates, I’m a weights girl! I really enjoy getting into the gym for a weights session. I will change up what I train according to how I feel physically that day and I think there’s great power, strength and discipline lifting weights.
Saying – ‘It costs $0.00 to be a kind person.’ What else needs to be said right!
The new Aleenta x Aussie Battler collaboration is available in-studio now! Run, don't walk, to get your new apparel today.