Olivia Carr started her business Shhh Silk in 2015, and immediately travelled to China to organise manufacturing.
And while Olivia insists that the Chinese silk for her products is by far the best, she still encounters many difficult hurdles when dealing with manufacturers - including sexism.
“I go to China every few months and still after three years I don’t have the respect of the factory managers, which makes it incredibly challenging to look at things like negotiating price, and even having quality control conversation and getting agreement on things,” Olivia said.
“I’ve had to learn over time to take a male with me, and in Australia that’s not what we stand for; women are girlbosses in their own rights.”
Another challenge is the quality control elements, with many factories having policies for full payment to be received before the products are shipped.
“So for us we’re paying upwards of $100,000 USD for large orders, and they can hold your product or you don’t know where it is and you’re locked in a pricing battle,” Olivia said.
“But I will never drop the ball on quality; for example - our zipper, I am adamant they must be imported from Japan, they have to be YKK as it’s the best zipper on the market.”
“The second that switches I would rather stop manufacturing and lose sales than accept poor quality.”