Why Australian-made is a good choice

Why Australian-made is a good choice

Buying Australian-made products does wonders for the Australian economy, local businesses, the planet, and ethical shopping. By buying Australian made, you support the Australian economy, help local Australian businesses grow, and do your bit for the environment.

  • Whether you're spending your money at local shops, markets, or online, you are supporting local businesses and when local businesses do well, the overall economy grows. Buying Australian products or working with local services (accountants, lawyers, childcare providers) benefits our local, regional, and national economy.
  • Helping local businesses grow is akin to helping your neighbours (albeit on a larger scale). By shopping with local businesses and Australian companies, you help the people who run those businesses become more profitable. This means that they, in turn, can spend more money in the community. What goes around comes around.
  • Products sourced or made locally don't have to travel from overseas, so the overall impact on the environment is reduced. Many small businesses use locally sourced materials, making their products even more sustainable. Moreover, micro businesses, solo operators, and innovative new enterprises also have better control over how their products are packaged and delivered and they can make environmentally conscious choices.

With locally made products, you can more readily trace your purchases to the source. This is important when you want to  verify that you are buying quality products from accountable businesses. Unfortunately, when international businesses take the reins, the supply chains become complex and it is more difficult to ensure that makers are using ethical and sustainable practices to make their products.

On top of that, because local makers of high-quality handmade items are often smaller producers with their own individual touch, you're more likely to find unusual, quirky, or iconic designs that reflect our Australian style.

Duality Notebook with recycled leather cover

Opportunities to buy Australian

We know from research that four out of five Australians believe that buying Australian-made is important. They say that doing so makes them feel good, knowing they are supporting Australian jobs, and ethical practices. So let's think about ways we can stimulate more of those feel-good sensations.

Personal gift giving is a starting point. Birthday gifts obviously, but there are numerous opportunities throughout the year with farewell parties, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, Valentines, coming of age, Father's Day ...  Personal and creative gifts can be bought directly from a craft person or through a business that only stocks Australian-made products. Once you start to look, you'll find a fabulous and huge range of handmade gifts, food gifts, and a multitude of other exciting gifts for people that you care about.

Whether it is party, party, party (complete with fairy bread) every weekend or a once in a blue moon situation, we can all be brought undone trying to buy the right gift for kids. Instead of wondering if transformers have had their day or Barbie is still a thing, surprise the small fry with adorable Australian animals (or birds) which are so wondrous and weird they make endlessly fascinating and ideal gifts. Look out for Australian animal toys or puzzles, but make sure you choose genuinely Australian made. When you start searching for Aussie gifts or Aussie gift ideas, a lot of Australian souvenirs will start to appear and very few of them are made here.

Australian beeswax crayon with Australian animals

And there is so much scope in corporate gifts. All sorts of companies like to reward customers (or entice new ones) with small tokens of their appreciation. Not to mention the conference circuit with mandatory (and uninspired) goodies bag; but, honestly, how many plastic laptop sleeves does one person need! Those involved in selecting corporate gifts can lift their game by seeking out truly Australian gift ideas. Small businesses would be delighted to help you put together beautiful gift boxs or gift hampers. Surprise your customers and colleagues with original and memorable promotional gifts rather than ones that are destined for the re-gifting circuit (or worse).

The landscape keeps changing

Now that you know the benefits and pleasure that can come from buying local, you need to keep yourself informed about the market. Sadly, many iconic Australian brands are no longer Australian; Bonds is American, as are some of our home-grown surfing brands; and while RM Williams boots are still made in Australia, the company's clothing line is not.

Some Australian makers have both a made-in-Australia range and a made-somewhere-overseas range because it is not viable for them to make all products in Australia. For example, a local company might supply items that are made overseas to department stores and sell the locally made products in specialty shops.

Similarly, department stores often trumpet their support for local producers with ranges of homewares, clothing, or Aboriginal gifts that feature Australian artists. These products are not made by the artists and are almost never made in Australia. Rather they are manufactured overseas through licensing agreements where the artist is paid a small fee for the use of one of their copyright designs. Providing the items sell well, the artist will earn money; as will the department store owners, the overseas factory owners, overseas suppliers, the shipping and transport company owners, and all the overseas agents that are needed to keep the wheels of cross-border commerce turning.

Keep in mind too that designed in Australia and made in Australia are not the same thing, and it's wise to be a little sceptical of the green and gold kangaroo in a triangle.

Australian designed means that some of the work involved in creating a product was done in Australia. This might mean that Australian workers negotiated the licence agreement, sourced material samples from overseas, created a pattern, specification, or prototype, while the product itself is manufactured overseas. Touting that a product is "designed in Australia" really doesn't say much but might be intended to convey the impression that a product was actually made in Australia given that so many of us care about supporting local makers.

Products that are designed in Australia cannot carry the little green and gold triangle label reserved for registered Australian-made products. However the regulations say that label can be awarded to products that have a pretty flimsy definition of being Australian. The official website says "The Australian made claim is about the production process rather than content of a product. A product with an Australian made label will not necessarily contain Australian ingredients or components. A product can be described as Australian made or made in Australia if it underwent its last substantial transformation in Australia."

All this means that you have to do your homework or buy from local businesses that do it for you. At O Gosh, as an Australian-owned online gift store with a remit to sell only Australian-made, we can guarantee that all our fantastic makers use ethical and sustainable practices to make their beautiful products here in Australia. We handle the stock ourselves and only accept quality products that are distinctive and reflect our community and culture.

Switch to Australian-made and soon you'll enjoy feeling good while you're doing good.


The candles at the top of the page are made in Queensland using locally sourced beeswax and local Australian fragrance.

Back to Articles