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TV debut for Australia’s last eyewear manufacturer

12/07/2017By Matthew Woodley
An appearance on Weekend Sunrise has provided Dubbo-based eyewear manufacturer with such a publicity boost that its website shut down due a large increase in traffic.

Clive & Wally was on the verge of insolvency two years ago before current owners, Messrs Gino Trigatti and John Hansen, acquired the business. According to Trigatti the company is Australia’s sole remaining spectacle manufacturer.

Since then a rebranding, factory relocation, and a stronger focus on producing frames for local designers has resulted in the business going from strength-to-strength.

However, despite the successes the new owners had enjoyed prior to last weekend, the business’ television debut has generated a level of interest that co-owner and managing director Trigatti did not predict.

“Our website crashed, it went crazy. People were so interested and had no idea that we made eyewear here and they were contacting us from all over the country,” he said.

“I had no idea the response would be like that. Most of them wanted to support Australian manufacturing.”

Last year the business manufactured around 7,000 frames, but, with a new emphasis on working more closely with Australian designers – and the increased awareness garnered from the TV appearance – Trigatti said he expected that figure to more than triple over the next 12 months.

“That number’s been continually growing. One of these designers said to me recently ‘you’ll do easily 20,000 next year’ but after what’s happening now, we believe that’s going to grow quite considerably,” Trigatti said.

The growth has been engineered by the purchase of new machines from Europe, an ability to accommodate lower minimum quantities with a much faster turnaround than the business’ overseas competitors. Clive & Wallys’ ability to make life easier for local designers with regard to facilitating the design process has also helped the business overcome the extremely competitive prices offered by international competitors.

As a result, local independent heavyweights such as Niloca and Paul Taylor have already commissioned orders, while Trigatti let slip Jono Hennessy was also planning an ‘Australian Made’ range of spectacles.

“When you’re competing with [frames from] overseas it is tough. We’ve got to keep the momentum going,” Trigatti said.

“We’re just trying to keep the dream alive.”

AFT Pharmaceuticals


Carl Zeiss

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