Scout Shop® is the official online store of Scouts Australia. It exists to serve all Scouting Members in all Branches and every purchase you make directly financially supports Scouting in your Branch.
Every official National Scouting item is officially sourced and sold through this Scout Shop® site.
All deliveries are shipped from our Melbourne warehouse and standard shipping is free to anywhere in Australia, for orders over $10 in value. There is an express post option available for the same low cost to anywhere in Australia.
This site has been designed to make the shopping experience for all Members as easy as possible. Note that not all products are immediately visible. Many items are hidden from the General Public and can only be seen when you log into the site using your Scouting Membership credentials.
Every product sold on this site has been approved by Scouts Australia as being appropriate for Scouting and of suitable quality.
The site is managed under license by Inspire Apparel Pty Ltd, the owner of Snowgum Adventurewear and operator of www.snowgum.com.au. Everything sold on this site is guaranteed by Snowgum under contract to Scouts Australia. The Snowgum organisation and the people behind it have been involved in Scouting supply since the early 80's and have the interests of Scouts at heart.
MANUFACTURING, SOURCING & CARING FOR OUR WORLD
Ross Elliott, Snowgum Managing Director, September 2021
We would all like to buy only products made in Australia from sustainable materials.
Unfortunately that horse has bolted a century ago.
When I started at Snowgum 40 years ago, almost everything we sold was made in Australia. At that time we had import tariffs of 50%+ on most items. It was a different time - the personal computer and mobile phone had not been invented!
Today almost nothing we sell is made in Australia. The world has changed.
Today very few Australian school leavers aspire to work on a sewing machine. Those Australian garment factories that do exist are almost exclusively employing immigrant labour. Australian born citizens do not want to work in garment factories.
Today import tariffs are 10% at most and zero in most cases.
The average cost of a machinist in Asia is $2 per hour compared to $30 in Australia.
The factories we work with are mostly in China. We have our own office in Shanghai employing our own staff to manage our production and they have all worked with us for more than 10 years. Those that understand the constant change in China would know that a workforce this stable is unheard of.
The factories we work with are smaller family owned businesses. They are Mums and Dads like you and me trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. They did not choose to be part of a communist nation. They would like to have a vote. They would like to have a say in how their Government treats them and the rest of the world but they don't.
We inspect our factories regularly to ensure they look after their staff well. Their factories are heated and cooled. They offer hearty meals and comfortable living accommodation. They do not employ child labour. They do not work their staff too long each day. From our first-hand observations, working conditions are pleasant and the employees are happy.
Sure there is some tension between Australia and China right now but this is all political, it is not the feeling of the people we know and work with in China. Maybe in the long term we will need to establish more manufacturing in other countries but that is not easy to do right now during a pandemic. We are focussed on maintaining the relationships we have and securing supply for Scouts for the immediate future. We are not experiencing as many supply issues as others are, because we have strong relationships with our factories and because we have our own people on the ground in China.
We do not plan to move our manufacturing back to Australia. There is no government support for such a move and there are insufficient workers in Australia to embark on such an idealistic endeavour.
Anyone suggesting the Australian mass production garment industry has a future is naive.
Do we believe in Climate Change and care about our environment? You bet we do!
In our Snowgum business we focus on producting quality products at reasonable prices. Products that will serve you for many decades. We are not into fast-fashion short life-span clothing. We want a jacket you purchase from us to last many years and be passed on to others when you have no further need for it.
We aim for all of our products from our tents, sleeping bags and packs to our head torches, socks, undies and hats to last an exceptionally long time so they don't go into land fill too soon. We know that ultimately most of our products will end up in the ground at some point. We make high performance clothing and footwear and for the most part it is not possible to meet the performance we need with completely natural fibres. There are some exceptions, our signature 100% Australian Snowgum merino for example - this range ticks all the boxes. But our rain jackets, shoes and walking poles do not and can not.
We understand the damage that some fabrics are doing to the environment. Even seemingly natural fabrics such as viscose, made from wood pulp, undergo processing with chemicals that harm our world. Tanning of leather, manufacturing nylon and polyester - all of these processes cause damage to our planet in some way.
We are always looking for alternative materials and processes that can reduce our footprint. We are looking to remove plastic packaging where we can and in 2020 introduced paper packaging instead of plastic. We are continuing to explore and expand this program and one day hope to not use any plastic packaging.
For the Scouting range, as well as reducing packaging where we can, we are trying to make better products that will last longer. Spiral binding books to lengthen their life span and offering digital options so you can do away with printed books altogether. Using better fabrics so the garments last longer.
No we can't change to 100% cotton shirts. Not while the uniform is navy blue. Navy will fade very quickly and wash out in the sun and before long we'll have alot of light blue Scouts getting about. We have recently introduced a new long sleeve shirt which is made from a high tech fabric. It truly is incredible to wear and it is 10 times more durable than cotton and will last you a lifetime. It can be passed on from one child to another and then on to a cousin. This is how we are reducing our impact on the planet. By making things better quality so they last longer.
We are doing our best and we genuinely live by the Scout Laws - caring for the environment and using resources wisely.
We don't always get it right and I am first to acknowledge this - but we are transparent when we make mistakes and do whatever it takes to make amends.
If you have any comments or suggestions, we would be happy to hear from you. Contact us here - it will be acknowledged and passed on to me.