Dharma Bums: The Business of Ethical Activewear

The story behind Dharma Bums – the pioneers of the true ethical Australian made Activewear

DHARMA BUMS is an Australian yoga and activewear fashion label with a difference. Based on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and established in November 2013, DHARMA BUMS is a brand devoted to delivering high quality, beautifully designed ethically produced clothing, with the belief that everyone has the right to an adventurous and rewarding life doing what they love.

From their beginnings in November 2013 as a start-up organically grown business, they now have an anticipated annual turnover of $4 million dollars per year with no external investment. This figure continues to grow rapidly with month on month increases in double digits on both retail and wholesale. They are now trading in 60 countries on a retail level and also having wholesale partners in over 15 countries. At just 18 months old Dharma Bums is making other online Australian activewear business’s take note.

DHARMA BUMS also has a strong international wholesale presence which is expanding quickly, with a waiting list of over 150 wholesalers looking to come on board in the coming months. Unlike many of its competitors the product is designed in-house and made ethically on shore in Australia. This allows for incredibly fast turnaround of product, in-turn minimising the need to stock pile thus reducing the need for markdown and sale events. It also allows for a hands on approach to quality control by the company.

The co-founders Debbie Lawson and Mat Guthrie bring together 20 years of experience from very successful careers in fashion buying and merchandising and IT system architecture and development. Drawing on this experience the company have invested heavily in the development of an integrated platform to streamline and automate many of the key business processes spanning from buying and planning to supply chain, wholesale management and e-commerce functions.

‘These functions provide us with the foundation and ability to scale rapidly whilst keeping headcount streamlined. Overheads and costs are kept low, enabling us to give the best possible price to the customers.

Also, our unique IT platform underpins the company’s aggressive international expansion plans in the coming months,” Debbie said.

Debbie also draws on her experience in fashion buying and as yoga teacher to ensure the company has the strongest range possible, enabling her to understand the needs of customers upcoming trends in the market place.

“The company adopts the policy of a first price, right price policy ensure they offer very competitive pricing without relying on promotional events to boost sales. We adopt the refreshing approach of selling for what we can afford to not what we can get away with and this enables us to make ethical consumerism accessible to as many people as possible.”

Although DHARMA BUMS focus has been building an online business if the success of the brand continues at its current rate bricks and mortar flagships stores in major Australian cities are likely to follow.

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