I genuinely am impressed. I have complete respect for my parents and the things they have achieved in life. Nobody every gave them anything. They had to work hard to achieve what they have but they didn't do it by work alone they built a successful business by providing a product to families for a better quality at a lower price.
If your interested this is a nice story.
You couldn't say my parents got any kind of head start in life. My mother grew up on a farm in Ruatoria (New Zealand) it was so remote, that when she and her twin brother were born, they were taken back to the farm on a horse (a baby in each saddle bag). I don't know much about my fathers upbringing. Both his parents passed away when I was very little. I do remember both of them and visiting them in their small house in the Christchurch suburbs and I can see that my honest father is an amalgamation of the goodness in both his parents. I respect that he has always aspired to improve himself and the world around him and there is no question that made him a honest businessman and a great Dad.
When I was young my Mother (a trained nurse) and my father (a travelling textile salesman) decided to settle permanently in Christchurch and open a drapery and haberdashery business in Beckenham (a suburb towards the end of the incredibly long main street of Christchurch - Colombo St).
At the time many people still made their own clothes and providing them with buttons, patterns and fabric was probably the perfect way to take advantage of Dad's knowledge in textiles to create the income they needed to raise a family. No doubt my father did not want to be a traveling salesman away from his wife and his two young boys all the time.
It was never easy, they worked hard and made many sacrifices. I remember living in a Caravan behind the "Beckenham Drapery Store" for a number of years until we were able to move into a house.
One of the reasons you start your own business is that you dream of a time when you can relax a little bit once you business is established and you have staff. Well after working every day for years it would be good to have a few days off right? We'll unfortunately for them people slowly stopped sewing their own clothes and start buying them ready made.
My parents ended up moving on from that business to a business which made sports clothes for clubs they called it "Kasual Sports" and for a number years the manufactured sports clothing and club tracksuits for sports clubs all around Canterbury.
During this time my brother and I were attending Torrington primary school and later Christchurch South Intermediate school. My parents observe that although School uniforms were great for parents because they allowed children to save their other clothes from the hard knocks of school life, they were clearly disappointed in the price and quality of the products. Simply put, they thought they could make School uniforms better and provide them to parents for a lower cost. That's what they did.
So they transitioned from making sports clothing to making school uniforms and with that transition came a name change to "Direct Uniform Suppliers" or "D.U.S". D.U.S was very successful because they didn't just manufacture hard wearing clothes and sell them for better price, they offered a central location in Sydenham, (Christchurch) where families could try on uniforms and they would even help with alterations and custom sizes.
They owned D.U.S for a number of years and they worked hard to keep the quality high and the prices low. My mother would regularly press school blouses rather than send them to a pressing service because, especially in the early days, they needed to make rent. They spent long hours marking out and cutting garments which were then sewn together at their premisis by a lovely bunch of ladies (and one gent) who became like an extend family to us.
It was for the very best of reasons, a successfully business. It provide a great service to the community for and my parents earned a living. However years of working hard on their business took its toll. About the time the business finally started to stabilised my parents were ready to retire. You simply can't keep up that energy forever.
They sold D.U.S to someone who had been a manger for Nike in New Zealand. I'm pretty sure that he underestimated the amount of energy that was required to run the company and after a few years D.U.S ceased to exist. It was rather sad to think that the business my parents build up for so long was then run into the ground but it was even sadder that it meant the people of Christchurch had fewer school uniform suppliers to choose from and in my biased opinion, they had lost the best there was.
After a few years a strange sequence of events transpired to bring them out of retirement. After working so hard for so long I really don't think my dad new what to do with himself. He wasn't "bored" it's just that after running a School Uniform business for so long, both my parents never had much time for hobbies. Business was their hobby. Shortly after the demise of Direct Uniform Supplies, the phone began to ring. Schools and parents somehow found their home telephone number and started calling them; "are you still making school uniforms?"; "Could you make schools uniforms?"; "please?".
I don't think they really had a choice. People were asking for it and I think they missed it in a strange way. They no longer wanted to rent a property and open a shop, so the obvious choice was to create an online shop (which I built for them). They opened Distributors Direct online in 2014 electing to kept the "Direct" part from the name Direct Uniforms Suppliers because it's representative or their commitment to manufacturing and selling direct to the public.
Their online school uniform shop currently sells:
- Lincoln High School Unifroms
- Christchurch South Intermediate School Uniforms
- Opawa primary School Uniforms
- Thorrington Primary School Uniforms
- Cheviot Area School Uniforms
For people looking for Kilts, they are starting a "Kilt Shop" one of the things Direct Uniform Suppliers was most famous for was high quality school uniform kilts. They manufacture all their own kilts and if they don't have the kilt for your school, you just need to call them and they will work with the school to add it too their online shop.
They also have a range of generic items which are suitable for a number of schools, they stock:
- School Uniform Shirts
- School Uniform Trousers
- School Uniform skirts
- School Uniform Blouses
- School Uniform Jerseys
- Secondary School Socks
- Secondary School Shorts
- School Uniform Cardigans
- Generic secondary school uniform items for Boys
- Generic secondary school uniform items for Girls
I have the greatest respect for my parents. I wish they didn't have to work so hard, but I get the impression that because the were once parents of kids attending schools they know how beneficial it is to be able to buy school uniforms for a reasonable price. I know their customers appreciate them and I admire their entrepreneurial skills. They came out of retirement and created New Zealands best online school uniform shop (in my biased opinion) with a hiss and a roar and I love the fact that after a short lived retiremen really exited again.