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Katy’s small business adventure pays off

Each morning thousands of people put on their adventure pants to face the day, thanks to cult Melbourne brand Captain Robbo. Super comfortable pants made in Australia from high quality fabric, the Captain Robbo brand has stolen the hearts of many an online shopper, lured in by the unique, screen printed designs and even the option to personalise your own pair with a colour in pattern.

With a background in visual arts, printmaking and screen printing, Katy Robinson aka ‘Captain Robbo’ has capitalised on a gap in the fashion market by providing an on-trend, ethical leisurewear alternative. With Adventure Pants designs incorporating elements of the natural world (think ferns, butterflies, clouds and flowers), quirky head-turning prints (pants covered in Melbourne trams anyone?), and even designs that you can colour in, the brand has come a long way from its humble origins.

Starting off selling directly to customers at market stalls in 2010, the brand is now available in select boutiques and through the Captain Robbo website.

“Making Adventure pants in Australia is all about keeping another point of difference, as well as maintaining a high level of quality control,” Katy explained. “I think Australia makes the best fabric – especially merino! I like supporting the wool industry, as well as the remainder of the (local) manufacturing industry. It’s nice to be a part of it.”

Offering free shipping on all orders within Australia, Katy thinks one of the greatest upsides of online shopping is that feeling you get when you open a package that you’ve received. To enhance this experience for her customers, she screen-prints a special design onto the bags before orders are sent out.

I think Australia makes the best fabric – especially merino!

“A part of the Captain Robbo experience is having an exciting-looking parcel turn up on your doorstep. So, I started screen-printing on the bags. I print them in lots of 50 so they are different each time. I do get some really great emails from customers about this, so I’d say it’s worth it,” says Katy.

While running a small business can be stressful at times, Katy believes there are many positives to running your own show, with freedom and autonomy both being major drawcards.

“It’s satisfying to know that my designs are loved by people! I love it when people tell me all about what adventures they have been on and how many pairs of adventure pants they have. It’s lovely,” says Katy.

She also has some pearls of wisdom to share with anyone who is thinking of taking the brave step to set up their own enterprise.

“Make sure your business involves something you are really passionate about, preferably have skills in, and also really want to do. If in doubt, try and get some experience in the field or else research the heck out of your idea.”

With order numbers growing each month, Katy has just reported her busiest month since she started her web store, with online orders breaking all previous records. Katy attributes the growing success of the brand to a number of factors including the undeniable universal appeal of owning a pair of comfy pants and the growing desire for consumers to support locally-made products made by small businesses.

Make sure your business involves something you are really passionate about, preferably have skills in, and also really want to do

“I think Adventure Pants are perfect for any person who wants to feel good not only in their skin but in knowing they are buying a high quality product with a very small footprint straight from the maker. They make great yoga pants if sporty or shiny active wear isn’t your thing, and they are also particularly good for travel, as they are light and fold into baggage well,” says Katy.

Anyone who has ever been stuck on a long haul flight in tight jeans will surely understand the reasons behind the ongoing success of Captain Robbo’s adventure pants!

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