Angus often gets asked the question about how his business came about; how it all started. “It’s a hobby gone wrong!” he often says (jokingly of course!).
He grew up on the land, riding and working horses. He left school when he was 16 and went to work on a mixed farming property near Griffith, NSW. From there he worked on cattle stations in the Northern Territory and he also did some mining in Western Australia.
Throughout that time, he was always riding horses and working with my hands, including doing leather work of a night time. Angus had a small box of tools that he carried with him wherever he went. He used these tools to make bridles, belts, chaps, gear bags, halters, and generally anything he could turn his hands to.
In 2000, Angus came to Orange, NSW to study business at university. He obtained a student tertiary loan for $5,000 and used that to buy a second hand sewing machine and some leather. ‘Angus Barrett’ the business was born!
Gradually the business grew and in 2009 we incorporated Angus Barrett Pty Ltd. Angus purchased a larger manufacturing premises and showroom in North Orange in 2012 and in 2016 we opened a new store in the main street of Orange.
The business has evolved organically from plenty of hard work, perseverance and also innovation. Angus loves creating things and he's learnt, from all the places he's been to, and people he's worked with along the way, to be resourceful and to think outside the box.
Angus believes passionately about manufacturing in Australia. He thinks it’s something that we can, and should, do. It just requires courage and a certain amount of ingenuity. He continues to insist on manufacturing in Australia because he likes to control the quality of our products from start to finish, and their suitability for the Australian environment that they're designed for and used in.
Our products are a specialist product for a specialist customer. Our products are tested in environments unique to Australia, with 'droughts and flooding rains'. Our hobbles are dragged through the round yard and then hurled in the shed. Our document holders are thrown on dusty dashboards and driven all across the country. Our gear bags ride on the back in the beating sun. Our saddle pads are worn under a variety of saddles and horses, through all extremes.
To create our range of products, Angus has taken inspiration from every tradeshow and horse event that he's been to around Australia. He's listened to feedback from every customer that he has met along the way, from Rockhampton to Adelaide, Broome to Bunbury, Sydney to St George, and everywhere in between. His travels have also led him overseas to America and Europe, where I've worked for some of the world's leading saddlers and watched master craftsman create their magic.
Those travels have helped Angus to refine his own craft in saddlery and to come up with new and inventive ways of making things.
So what does the future hold?
Well for Angus, it's about continuing to improve and evolve. His focus is not on growth, but on quality. His most common remark in the workshop is, "We don't do things here, we make things here.” It's unheard of, for us to start and finish a product in the workshop without improving it each time. It's our very deliberate goal to improve every day at each and everything we do, from manufacturing to customer service.
We often get comments from people along the lines of, "I had no idea that you actually make all this," or "We didn't realise how much was involved." We can assure you that we are committed to our philosophy of only selling what we make. And in doing so, Angus is totally committed to making lifetime pieces; multigenerational heirlooms. He wants to create products that stand up to everything that gets thrown at them; products that don't wear out, but that get worn out.
We look forward to constantly surprising you and to providing you with products that you can rely on and enjoy for many years to come.
Sign up to get the latest on sales, new releases and more …