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DESIGN & STYLE

Four Sydney Businesses Championing Local Products in Everything They Do

From sustainable homewares to steaming bowls of ramen, these businesses are keeping the chain as short as possible.
By Chloe Sargeant
July 24, 2019
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Four Sydney Businesses Championing Local Products in Everything They Do

From sustainable homewares to steaming bowls of ramen, these businesses are keeping the chain as short as possible.
By Chloe Sargeant
July 24, 2019
  shares

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Sydney is a global city and we — both as individuals and businesses — have access to products and materials from pretty much anywhere in the world. But there's also a wealth of glorious produce, materials and people doing amazing things right here in the city. Plus, there are huge benefits to supporting local businesses — both economically and environmentally. So, it's time you knew about some local spots that are ahead of the curve in this arena.

A bunch of blossoming local businesses have recently been participating in the City of Sydney's Retail Innovation program, which has assisted them in growing their innovative concepts into staple businesses for their local neighbourhoods. These businesses are dedicated to buying produce from nearby suppliers, manufacturing goods within Australia, working with local artists and providing ethical and locally sourced goods for local communities to enjoy. We spoke to four business owners about how the Retail Innovation program has helped them in their quest to champion the incredible produce and producers that Sydney has to offer.

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Luisa Brimble.

RARA 

"Find local suppliers that understand your business and work together."

This beloved modern noodle house is headed up by husband-and-wife team Scott Gault and Katie Shortland. Gault learned the secrets to making a rich tonkotsu broth and Hakata-style noodles by training with ramen masters in Japan, but in his kitchen in Redfern, he prioritises local produce. He says RaRa relies significantly on its close relationships with local suppliers — it even employed the assistance of a local butcher to help source ethical, free-range pork as demand grew and the line of hungry ramen lovers became longer and longer each night.

The eatery also features an extremely locally focussed drinks menu. Gault says relationships with local breweries, wineries and producers are extremely important to RaRa's success. Local produce and suppliers are also imperative to the deliciousness of each bowl of ramen. "Keeping things local means we know the true source of what goes into each bowl of ramen," he says.

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Anson Smart.

KOSKELA

"We have the joy of working with some of the world's best manufacturers right here in Australia — true masters of their craft."

This delightful company is all about designing and creating environmentally friendly and sustainable furniture that actually looks good. Founders Russel Koskela and Sasha Titchkosky ensure products are made in Australia, try to use as much local and recycled material as possible and make sure products have longevity to be sustainable. Koskela sells the largest range of Aussie-made homewares and furniture in the country and, two years ago, it became a Certified B Corporation — which means the business is part of a global movement of people trying to make progressive change.

As well as championing local designers, artists and materials, Koskela also dedicates one percent of its profits towards partnering with Aboriginal artists from all around the country to aid the continuation of traditional practices, create an additional source of income for artists and to spotlight the wealth of artistic talented people from Australia's unique Indigenous cultures.

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Trent van der Jagt.

CITIZEN WOLF 

"Fast fashion is like junk food: cheap, addictive and ultimately bad for you and the environment."

If you're sick of buying t-shirts that don't quite fit you right — an estimated 81 percent of people experience this — then Citizen Wolf is here to help. This sustainable company makes and tailors t-shirts that fit correctly and last longer, and it exclusively uses local materials and manufacturing services. Citizen Wolf buys all of its fabric — cotton, organic cotton and Merino wool — from a series of ethically accredited mills in Melbourne and every single garment is made to order in the micro-factory in Darlinghurst.

One of the company's co-founders, Zoltan Csaki, had previous experience with a company that used overseas manufacturing and says he was driven to create something that goes completely against the exploitative nature of mass production. "I've been there and done that, and I didn't want to do it again," Zoltan says. 

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Kimberley Low.

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

"[Keeping things local] is important to nurture the community and enrich our culture."

Founders of Courtesy of the Artist, Nina and Cesar Cueva, opened their first small gallery in a Surry Hills laneway in 2004. Now, 15 years later, the contemporary jewellery company has three spaces in Sydney's grand Strand Arcade to represent and showcase over 80 Australian artists. The company is the polar opposite of fast fashion. Everything is unique and made to order — meaning zero mass production.

Courtesy of the Artist is hellbent on spotlighting Aussie materials, workers and talent — it works with local artists, miners and fossickers, and uses recycled gold from Western Australia in its jewellery, as well as ethically sourced and sustainably mined gemstones from all over the country. It also holds community workshop events in the airy upstairs space, The Loft, so local jewellers and artists can come and learn new skills. 

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Learn more about the City of Sydney Retail Innovation Program here.

Published on July 24, 2019 by Chloe Sargeant

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