The new showroom of industrial apparel manufacturer Sweet-Orr aims to get closer to clients and extend its market reach, says Sweet-Orr executive director Denver Berman-Jacob.
The showroom, in Bartlett, Boksburg, is close to OR Tambo International Airport and the industrial areas of Germiston and Dunswart, en route to eMalahleni and Middelburg, in Mpumalanga. The aim is to raise the prominence of the brand and cater for walk-in clients, he says.
“We have always had walk-in clients since the factory started in 1931. The showroom gives us an opportunity to get close to the end-user, thereby giving us a better understanding of market requirements.”
The showroom will allow individual tradesmen and artisans to access the specialised and utility range of workwear, he adds.
The specialised fabrications, such as flame- retardant and flame acid bases, are produced by local fabric mill Da Gama Textiles. Other inherently flame-retardant fabrics like Nomex are sourced through Du Pont. Sweet-Orr also makes use of locally made YKK zippers
The new showroom displays the workwear made in the automated factory in Elsies River, in the Western Cape. The 5 500 m2 factory employs 300 staff producing 3 500 garments a day.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) industrial development division: textiles, clothing, leather and footwear chief director Abisha Tembo notes that the DTI is pleased with the high quality of the products, adhering to various South African Bureau of Standards and international specifications, and that Sweet-Orr has taken steps to ensure that women are protected in the workplace and that the sizes of garments that fit them are available.
“We are excited about most of the fabrics being made in South Africa, and involve one of the largest suppliers, Da Gama. Our work has helped to stabilise the industry and we are now looking at the value chain to unlock growth.”
However, the DTI’s strategy has changed from focusing on the raw materials to focusing on the retailer, working back along the value chain to ensure that value is added to the products locally, says Tembo.
“If retailers are buying locally, where possible, it boosts local demand and manufacturing. We will have a 2030 masterplan in place from September, which will include new policies and programmes,” he notes.