Ditto Dancewear finds its groove making medical scrubs

“I want to encourage people to think about where they put their money and re-establish an interest in supporting local manufacturing.” 

At the peak of the coronavirus restrictions, Ditto Dancewear owner Janie Grant saw a gap in the market and knew just how to help. Drawing on her 30 years’ experience in clothing manufacturing, she diversified and started making medical scrubs out of her store in Chermside West.

Tell us about your business

We make stretch wear, performance wear, costuming, school uniforms and corporate clothing. We also have a retail store and hire out a space called The Backdoor Studio for dance classes, pilates, workshops and corporate meetings.

What is the biggest challenge in running this type of business, especially since coronavirus?

When coronavirus restrictions first begun, the studio side of the business had to close. People weren’t allowed to use the space, so the income dropped drastically. Retail sales also went through the floor. Manufacturing continued because we had some work already booked in, but it was reduced to four days a week. Overall, the business dropped more than 80 per cent in those first couple of months.

What’s the business innovation you’re proudest of?

I used to make medical scrubs a few years ago, so when there was a shortage of personal protection equipment, I dug the patterns back out. I registered the name aussiemadescrubs.com.au and began selling gowns and scrubs and caps. Some of the fabrics I’m using are made in Australia and all of the garments are made locally.

Do you plan on maintaining any changes you made due to coronavirus in the long term?

I’m viewing the scrubs side of the business as another income stream. I see that particular product range as being something that could be marketed to the whole of Australia and even New Zealand. I want to encourage people to think about where they put their money and re-establish an interest in supporting local manufacturing.

What is your business focus for recovery?

I’m working with my teachers to get the students who are going back to dance in the right clothes. We do a bit of Facebook advertising and direct email, so will be utilising those to generate further business.

Ditto Dancewear

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Video transcript

My name is Janie Grant and I'm the owner of Ditto Dancewear and we're a bit of a conglomerate. We do retail dance wear, we do dance wear and stretch wear manufacturing and we have a little studio that we rent out from time to time. So, when coronavirus hit at the end of March we were just having a really good March and then the bottom fell out of the business and I lost overnight. By the second week of April we were doing almost nothing. We were down over 80%. So, then I started to think about what else I could do. The memory kicked back through about 10 years ago when I used to run scrubs. So, I dug out my patterns. I had some fabric and I figured out, or tried to figure out, what I was going to do to sell scrubs. So, then I was looking for a name that I could market via social media and email campaigns and that sort of thing. And I came up with Aussie Made Scrubs because I'm a firm believer in supporting Australian industry. So, what corona has taught me is you just needed to a take step back in reality and have a look at what you can do rather than what you are doing.

Last updated: 27 August 2020

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