The garment industry was a
product of the 1987 coup. After establishing a thriving export
business to Fiji from our NZ based facility, Image Label Systems set up our own Fiji operation
The industry in Fiji has survived and grown through times of
both challenge and prosperity, showing considerable reslilience as
it has faced both fierce international competition and local
The garment industry plays a significant part in the countries
GPD, vying with sugar and tourism as the top exporter each
Part of Fiji's garment resilience has been it's ability to
develop strategic responses to international trends. The most recent trend flows most
definitely in Fiji's favour and directly affects the markets they
cater to - which is 'near sourcing.'
If you can't do it at home, look to your closest neighbours for
Near-sourcing sees first world countries like
Australia and New Zealand, who find local manufacture
uncompetitive because of high local labour costs, outsourcing
to local or geographically near producers, like Fiji.
Near sourcing is also attractive where companies need something
they can't necessarily get out of the larger global sourcing
locations, for example, a low volume range with fast turn-around.
If you try to source this requirement from, for example, China you
are likely to be told, "You have to buy this many, and you have to
by this many per SKU or size and style and your turnaround is
This becomes very expensive for a new designer or somebody just
starting off in the industry.
Having a fast turn-around is important, because the slower your
turn-around, the more stock you carry and therefore the more
discounting you will likely face at the end of the season.
What Fiji offers, is a flexible and local alternative to China and
other volume sources.
Fiji offers a 'near source', cost effective alternative to
Australia and New Zealand production. Fiji will also manufacture
any number of items per SKU right down to one unit with fast
Volume and turn-around is where Fiji has been able to secure a
niche market with a particular focus on product groups like
sportswear (which in the broader definition includes things like
rugby jerseys) and work wear (overalls, Hi-Vis apparel etc).
When it comes to sportswear, sales and demand stem from a range
with a large number of sizes, but not necessarily large numbers per
size; resellers don't want to carry huge amounts of stock. They
want to be able to order on a short lead time.
Do it in Fiji like Kookai do
Kookai is an excellent
example of a brand that has successfuly implemented the 'near
What many people may not
know is that Kookai manufacture a significant amount of the
garments retailed in Australia and New Zealand in their own
facilities in Fiji.
This vertical integration
enables Kookai to work on a supply cycle that is one of the
shortest in the industry.
The secret to their success is that they are able to make a very
small number of garments per SKU and keep turning them over. The
result is lower stock redundancy and discounting and faster
turnover of inventory in store.
And as we've mentioned this is the way the apparel industry in
Fiji operates. They successfully deliver to a niche sector of the
market, to great success.
Kookai's model illustrates how well the industry in Fiji is able
to achieve success within a niche market segment, and why Fiji is
now becoming a place of interest for other fashion brands.
The process, flexibility and fast turn-around make it a very attractive option and
this is further enhanced by Fiji's inate advantages, including
language and time zone commonality.
Outside of the fashion
sector, sportswear production is also growing in Fiji,
including vertically integrated operations
producing player and supporter merchandise for a range of sporting
codes in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
These operations are able to
offer production of one-off or low volume per unit.
If somebody comes along and
wants an XXXXXXL in a particular Rugby League shirt for example,
this can be accommodated, something that is unlikely to be
available anywhere else in the world as far as we know.
Similarities and proximity account for a lot
Fiji benefits from being in a similar time zone to both New
Zealand and Australia.
The currency also works in Australia and New Zealand's favour
and overall it's much easier doing business in Fiji than it is with
other Asian based manufacturers. Fiji's business and legal cultures
are familiar for Australasian brands.
It's never too late to get on board!
Growing the fashion sector of the industry is an important step
in the apparel industry's evolution.
People are often surprised when we tell them that the Kookai garments are made in
Fiji. This is something we think needs to change because quite
simply, a lot of designers could grow their business a lot quicker
if they manufactured in Fiji.
There has been an understandable focus on SE Asia for sourcing,
but knowing the Fiji industry as we do gives us confidence that
many designers would benefit greatly from a switch to sourcing from
A growing example - ongoing
Danam is one of the largest garment manufacturers in Fiji, and
sustained growth has resulted in the construction of a new custom
designed facility in Lautoka. In our recent trip to Fiji we
visited Danam's new facility to see how assimilation was
progressing of their previous several locations into the new
Danam's new facility is an excellent example of local investment
in securing the long term future of Fiji's garment industry and
providing security of supply to its export customers.
The pictures show a photo of Image Label Systems CEO David
Marshall (right) with Ranjit Lal of Danam in 2014, during
construction and on our recent visit.
To get a better understanding of what we can do to help you in
your garment development plans, give our
team a call.
With a pool of talented, international staff, you can be assured
that we will get both the ideas and relevant information to help
you get the most out of your production process.