I'm Steve Gunn. I'm the chief executive officer of Blundstone's
. We're based in Hobart in Tasmania. Our main business is we make wonderful boots and shoes that go all over the world. Blundstone's has been in existence since 1870. It actually is the result of two family-owned companies, people that travelled to Hobart town, as it was in those days, which was pretty much a convict settlement that had blossomed into a town. And it had a number of different bootmakers - cobblers, as they were called in those days. The Blundstone family was one. There was also the Cuthbertson family. In 1930, the Cuthbertson family bought out the Blundstone family but decided to retain the Blundstone name, and it's continued through in that family to today. Blundstone is synonymous with an elastic-sided boot. It's a very simple boot, it's very comfortable, however, and it's worn in all sorts of circumstances - at work and play, by young people, old people. We make up to 180 other different styles of boots. Some of those are still elastic-sided, but we also make a lot of lace-up boots, we make thongs and slides. Working for the company these days, we've got about 450 people. TRACEY SCHOFIELD:
I've worked at Blundstone's for nearly 24 years. I started when I was quite young, so it was my first job.
But once I started, I made a lot of friends. Most of my friends now are from people who work here. STEVE GUNN:
It's something which is probably fairly unique to family-owned companies, is we've got a lot of people that are very loyal to the company and that have worked for us for a lot of time, they've maybe got 20 or 30 years of service. Blundstone is very important to them. Something about the place is magnetic. I guess the people have a fair bit to do with that, but there's something to do with the brand and product and all the whole Blundstone story that makes it the sort of place that you want to keep coming back to, day after day. The life of Blundstone's has been an interesting one. In recent times, we've had a close alliance with the Tap Dogs
touring dancing troupe, which are some guys that have come out of the steelworking area of Newcastle. They were wearing Blundstone boots. Well, that was a wonderful opportunity for us to have the brand in lights. Rugged, heritage, authentic. We've got people that treat their Blunnies as though they're pets, in some cases. We receive all sorts of letters from appreciative wearers from all over the world. We've even had one lady decide to get married in them, where she sent a picture of her in a wonderful wedding dress and underneath there were a pair of our elastic-sided boots. Some of whom are telling us that they're into their seventh or eighth generation of Blundstones and would never wear anything else. TRACEY SCHOFIELD:
Blundstone boots? Mmm! I have quite a few pair. Well, they're comfortable, one thing. They're hard-wearing. STEVE GUNN:
It's a safe thing for people to wear with most other items. It's considered to be cool enough but not really cool. The reality is that there's a lot of competition in terms of the footwear industry, so we can't take anything for granted, so we need to stay strong in our home markets and that's going to be through development of new products, to continue to be relevant and to survive for another 140 years.