SPLASH OUT WITH DENNIS MACKENDER

Written on the 18 August 2011

SPLASH OUT WITH DENNIS MACKENDER

TODAY’S clothing industry may be dominated by mass Asian production, but in the niche market of sports swimwear one Gold Coast company has remained strong for 25 years.

Nova Swimwear managing director Dennis Mackender (pictured) attributes the company’s longevity to quality products, quick turnaround of orders and personalised design and service.

These qualities have ensured Nova’s products remain 100 per cent Australian-made, with materials sourced from Sydney and manufactured in the company’s Nerang factory.

This year the sports swimwear manufacturer will turnover about $1 million in sales, with clients primarily from private schools and surf life saving clubs.

“There are a lot more people using this type of swimwear than you first realise. There is a huge number of private schools around Australia that require customised swimwear, with some of the larger Sydney schools putting in orders of 1000-1500 items,” says Mackender.

“Overseas competition doesn’t really exist in this market. We use 50 SPF plus UV protected fabrics and clients require a quick turnaround of a few weeks. We also get a lot of small orders for surf clubs and schools that are impossible to send offshore.

“But there are plenty of competitors in the domestic market, so we need to ensure we maintain our point of difference and market share.”

Some 90 per cent of Nova’s clients are Australia-wide with the remaining in Singapore, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Its distributor in Western Australia generates about 25 per cent of Nova’s sales, with orders also strong from Darwin, South Australia and Tasmania.

Locally, the company supplies racing and training swimming costumes to several schools including Emmanuel College and Trinity Lutheran College; as well as a number of surf life saving clubs right along the Gold Coast.

Noting he could capture a larger slice of the market, Mackender is preparing to undertake a large marketing push to strengthen the Nova Swimwear brand and push the company into its next growth phase.

“Chloroban material came in around 10 years ago as a more durable alternative to lycra, so customers now get two or three seasons out of their swimwear instead of one,” he says.

“This has heightened the need for swimwear manufacturers to market their products and attain new customers. We used to rely on word of mouth to pick up new schools and clubs, but now we’re on the verge of a strong branding push to grow the business.

“We’ve forecasted 8 per cent growth this year, 12 per cent next year and 15 the year after that. I’m confident we can achieve these growth figures by implementing this business plan effectively.”

Mackender has also purchased a state-of-the art dye-sublimation printer from Italy which he says gives the company an edge.

Nova Swimwear has been awarded the July Gold Coast Business Excellence Award for Manufacturing and Construction.


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