Items 6 to 10 of 104 total

Or: 'When marketing overcomes all authenticity.'

 


OPINION


 

–by Ben Kepes 

 

There's been a lot of recent media attention given to a New Zealand fashion brand that has been selling, for a number of years, t-shirts made in Bangladeshi sweat shops factories that have swingtags on them proudly stating “Fabrique en Nouvelle-Zelande" (Made in New Zealand).

 

Apparently, the owner of the brand justifies the statement, saying that since the swingtags themselves are made in New Zealand, there is nothing factually incorrect about the statement. The owner is (how ironically) a vociferous defender of New Zealand manufacturing, and has regularly chastised those who don’t meet her purported standards.

 

Welcome to the post-truth era.

 

Actually, it is a little complex. I'm a shareholder in Cactus Outdoor, a 25-year old company that manufactures backpacks and apparel here in New Zealand and sells it all around the world. All of our products are lovingly sewn in our own factory, and other independently owned third-party factories, here in New Zealand. We are proudly New Zealand owned and operated, and are proud that we keep many skilled people gainfully employed. Our customers love the fact that our products do what we say they will, and are happy to pay what are, to be fair, quite high prices, in order to receive a product that will give them many, many years of dependable service. 'Fast fashion' we certainly ain’t.

 

Alas, over the last couple of decades, the apparel industry in New Zealand has been decimated and, whereas in the past there used to be textile mills in every decent-sized town, today there are almost no fabrics made here in New Zealand (other than some merino ones, like Nuyarn, which Cactus uses). Cactus has no options, therefore, but to source some fabrics from overseas. The same goes for buckles and zips etc. So, yes, many of our raw materials come from outside of New Zealand.

 

But I reiterate, our products are made in New Zealand. We don’t import sewn t-shirts, sew a patch on them locally and call that NZ-made. We don’t try and get away with bunging a locally printed swingtag on the t-shirts that says "Made in New Zealand" on it, and hoping no one notices the "Made in Bangladesh" tag surreptitiously sewn into the hem. From our perspective, if you’re an apparel company and your product is sewn in New Zealand – you’re New Zealand made.

 

The example World has set is unscrupulous. L’estrange Corbet, World’s founder, has for years waxed poetic about New Zealand manufacturing, and harshly criticised others for moving offshore. All the while she has been duplicitously leading her customers astray.

 

Claiming a swingtag that is printed in New Zealand justifies an NZ-Made moniker is offensive to her customers, her competitors and the entire local business community. It is also, I believe, a very real breach of the Fair Trading Act and undoubtedly constitutes misleading and deceptive conduct.

 

While I totally disagree with L’estrange Corbet’s claim that World simply couldn’t make t-shirts in New Zealand (for the record, Cactus does without any problems), my biggest issue is with the lack of truth in what she tells her customers. Apparently, L’estrange Corbet thinks of her customers in the way McDonald’s thinks of theirs – as mere waiting mouths, to fill with products that satisfy a short-term whim, but leave no sense of being sated. Apparently, she has no respect for her customers or their belief about what her product is.

 

It’s a massive shame, and a sad reflection on this modern, post-truth era.

 

Luckily there are still brands that are prepared to be up-front and honest, and who are authentic to their ideals.

 


 

Comments | Posted By Kester Brown

Riding from the Sheets

9/05/18 3:26 PM

In need of a break from boss-duties at Cactus, Daryl recently took some time out to complete a multi-day bikepacking trip in the Central Otago backcountry.

 


 

Bikepacking Central Otago


You know how sometimes life just stacks up on you? Worksheets, spreadsheets, timesheets, all getting to you … then you crack and just need to blow it all off. I got to that point a few weeks ago, so headed to a place far away from any calculations. And beyond how far we could go in a day. It was also a good excuse to give the Cactus bikepacking gear a workout.

 

John and I manufactured a small window of oportunity, and headed to the remote hills south of Omarama for a 'big spaces' refresher. We set out with very lofty ambitions of riding a bunch of skylines, sleeping rough, and riding until we couldn't ride anymore. In the end, new snow and cold winds moderated our plans, but we still got a long, long way from the week before … on multiple levels. 


We met some characters, experienced some fascinating history, rode and pushed our bikes up to some pretty high places, and felt very isolated. And it was good. 


I love my bike and the amazing places it can take me.

 

bikepacking lake benmore

 

bikepacking central otago

 

bikepacking central otago surly

 

bikepacking central otago 

Relive 'Morning Activity'

Relive 'Morning Activity'

Comments | Posted By Kester Brown

We've been doing it all wrong.

 

For 25 years we've been making Cactus products in NZ. But thanks to recent news stories about World and their NZ-made swingtags, we've made the startling realisation that you don't need to actually make your stuff in NZ to market it as NZ-made ... all you need is a magic swingtag, with 'Made in New Zealand' written on it in French! Of course! French. Why didn't someone tell us this already?

 

So, we've found a few products around the Cactus office that are up for sale as genuine, NZ-made merchandise if anyone's interested …

 


 

NZ made apple

Genuine NZ-made Feijoa iMac. 

Running macOSTararuas 10.6.2

3.6 KZ7. 

$5000


 

NZ made microwave

Panasonic Billy-Boiler.

All the microwaves that operate in this machine are 100% made in NZ. (Unless you take it overseas).

Made in Waimatuku.

$10,000


 

NZ made Honda

Honda Massey Ferguson. 2-wheeled version.

Perfect for ploughing donuts into any Upper Hutt cul-de-sac.

Assembled by engineering students from Katikati Kindergarten.

$50,000


 

nz made boombox

Boombox

Thundering bass from 700watt subwoofing speakers.

'True Colours' by Split Enz CD stuck in the player.

'Skip/Search', 'Memory' and 'Surround' written on it.

Made in Taupo.

$500


 

nz made rob

Rob

We thought he was from another planet. But this swingtag proves us wrong.

Made in Newtown, Wellington.

Not actually for sale, sorry.

Comments | Posted By Kester Brown

#cactussummer Photo Comp

28/02/18 5:01 PM

 

 

Thanks to everyone who entered our #cactussummer photo competition. We had hundreds of entries, with some amazing shots in there showing the varied and inspiring adventures Cactus customers get up to with our gear - very cool!

 

After some fierce debate at Cactus HQ, a winner has emerged – congrats to Nicholas Covelli for this photo featuring Scottie Williams in his Cactus Supershorts. The pic was taken in Havasu Creek, a tributary to the Colorado River, USA, during a trip down the Grand Canyon Nicholas did with a bunch of Year 12 students.

 

A $250 Cactus voucher is on its way to Nicholas.

 

Nicholas Covelli




We had a hard time narrowing down the best entries, so we thought we'd share a selection of a few more of our faves for you all to enjoy.




Michael Dobson


Waiouru Tussock Adventure Ride, by Michael Dobson (sweet sticker placement!)




Fred Heckeroth


Fred Heckeroth took this pic (with Cactus SOS Trousers) on a tramping/adventuring trip to Patagonia in December.


 

 

texturegroup

 

Some funky trees in Conguillo National Park, Chile, during a ride from the snowfields of the Andes down to Lago Conguillo in Cactus Supershorts. photo by @texturegroup




luxeguides


@luxeguides, with canine friend and Cactus Deepwinter at Wye Saddle in the Remarkables, Queenstown, looking south into the Wye Creek Basin.




John Doogan


John Doogan testing his Gold Digger hat in a summer shower.




Brent Frame


Brent Frame gave up the beautiful NZ summer for a winter driving groomers in stunning Norway in his Cactus Down Jacket.


 

We've been posting more of the best shots on our social media feeds as well, so keep an eye on Instagram (cactusoutdoor) and Facebook (Cactus Outdoor) for more awesome #cactussummer shots from Cactus customers around NZ and the world.

Comments | Posted By Kester Brown

mark jamie

Left: Mark roadside in the Wairarapa, heading out to White Rock on a multi-day off road mission. Early 90s.

Right: Mark in Lake Ferry. Mark and Jamie got a fisherman to ferry them over the mouth of Lake Ferry so they didn't have to ride right around. It was really soft sand but they found it was firm enough to pedal in the shallows.

Both photos: Jamie Nichol.



By Mark Watson.


Back in autumn 1992 I found myself in Wellington, just returned from cycle touring to Cape Reinga and back on a well loved Stumpjumper with second hand panniers. It had been a carefree five month journey with Hana Black. Between small town campgrounds and toastie pies for dinner we’d just stretch our dole to last the week. The biggest treat of the week would be a milkshake or a pot of tea in a cafe on a rainy May day. 


We explored New Zealand’s back roads, scouring small town op shops for the coolest shirts we could find and meeting salt-of-the-earth Kiwis. We posted climbing gear around too; picking our way up Wharepapa pockets and luxuriating in the lakeside isolation of Whanganui Bay where we had the crags to ourselves.    


A chance invitation that autumn set my life on a new track when some Wellington acquaintances invited me to come for ‘a ride’. A motley crew on an assortment of early mountain bikes, we pedalled up through Wellington’s ‘burbs and into the gorsey fire roads of Wrights Hill, down into the Karori Reservoir, up Hawkins Hill and down the blazing fast ridge to Red Rocks. It was my first ever mountain bike ride and a revelation, despite a high speed crash that left me tangled in my bike frame. Wellington was suddenly about much more to me than Baring Head, Head Like a Hole and tripping in the Botanic Gardens.    


By the time I started cutting fabric and sewing packs at the Cactus HQ in Lambton Quay’s Hamilton Chambers that winter, Gwilym’s charisma and optimistic energy had drawn supporters. It was Cactus against the New Zealand giants of Macpac and Fairydown. There were little, if any, imported packs in the market back then. 


It was place of creative energy, ideas and fabrication and in an anarchistic, free form kind of way Cactus’ product line evolved, the first Vacuole (a cheeky copy of a UK product) led the way, then a rope bag. Rob Gray championed the postie bag project and Mark Schafer’s clever mind contributed innovations, while Darryl Best’s quirky linework set the branding tone.  


At the same time the cult of early 1990s Wellington mountain biking began to sweep the Cactus crew. Climbing was shelved and in every spare moment we rode our bikes in Wellington’s hills, breaking rims, bones and losing skin like molting lizards. The learning curve was brutal and the Kennett Brothers first edition of Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides was the Bible. Although I'm not sure how the rides were classics because hardly anyone had done most of them back then. 


For some of us at Cactus, combining the mountain bike with our roots in the self reliance and exploration of tramping and climbing seemed like the ultimate sport. Custom panniers followed, including Mark Schafer’s avant-garde Rackless Panniers (the Cactus Racktus – a lightweight front pannier system that worked on a suspension fork) of which only a few pairs were ever made.


It wasn’t until after a game changing ‘bikepacking’ blitzkrieg of top-of-the-south roads and trails with Jonty Richie, Simon Kennett and Tim Galloway that I decided to drop the panniers completely and take to more technical trails for multi-day tours. I made a reinforced canvas/cordura dry bag to mount on the top of my rack and carried everything else in the first version of the Zero daypack.  


A couple of very memorable South Island single track trips followed, in the lightest of style. With the reliable late December weather of Marlborough we carried the barest of essentials, eschewing tents, proper sleeping bags and stoves and surviving on bananas, pies, Mother Earth cakes and mussels picked from the shore. Jamie Nichol was probably lucky to survive; having carried one such batch of mussels through the heat of a summer day on his sweaty back, eating them for lunch somewhere on the Nydia Walkway.  

 

The term ‘bikepacking’ hadn’t been coined back then and there was no industry behind the notion of lightweight overnight bike travel. We called it lightweight touring, but we weren’t doing anything new; we were just joining legion others in the world who’ve also discovered the pleasure, simplicity and freedom of journeying by bicycle. 




Mark Watson worked for Cactus 1992–2015 in various capacities including bench worker, sewing machinist, custom design and latterly graphic design. He's currently riding his mountain bike the length of the Americas: Read his blog here.

Comments | Posted By Kester Brown

Items 6 to 10 of 104 total