Startup: Rudies Sunwear
Belinda Lochheads decision to start Rudies Sun Wear was personal. “I am a natural red-head and my skin is sun damaged. I live in Townsville North Queensland, and in summer if I am mad enough to venture into the sun without proper protective clothing and a hat, I can assure you I am burnt within 10 minutes. Searching for a long sleeve and visually appealing swim shirt proved difficult for myself and my 2 young sons. Long sleeves were as rare as hens teeth, and the short sleeves seemed to be poor quality and splashed with unattractive screen prints. So I made a decision to make my own” she says.
However, Lochhead had no spare money, couldn’t sew and didn’t know a thing about UPF materials. So with a small tax refund she enrolled in sewing lessons, bought her first overlocker sewing machine, made her own patterns (much to the amusement of her professional pattern saviour who adjusted them later). She tested several different materials and colours, and chose to only use high quality Australian material.
“I’ve outgrown my spare room and kitchen table and now have my long sleeve swim shirts professionally manufactured on the Gold Coast, Queensland. Keeping them 100% Australian Made was an easy decision for me. Selling my shirts primarily online helps me reach many people Australia wide” says Lochhead.
Rudies have sizes for the whole family, ranging from Children’s size 0 to Ladies and Men’s XXXL.
“My next goal is to sell 10,000 shirts and being able to donate $10,000 to a selected charity I am currently in discussions with. For every shirt sold, I will donate $1 to Charity. I have been offering local schools the opportunity to participate in fundraisers. As Queensla nd schools participate in the Cancer Council “Sun Smart” program and implement a ‘no hat, no play’ rule, I think long sleeve swim shirts compliment this program too”.