Business

KooGa company plans to manufacture here in Fiji

By JYOTI PRATIBHA Before the end of this year, renowned apparel brand KooGa Australia’s chief executive officer Kim Brant plans to start opening a KooGa manufacturing site in Lautoka. The
21 Oct 2012 08:57

This is the famous Digicel Fiji Sevens team uniform which is one of the brand KooGa products

By JYOTI PRATIBHA

Before the end of this year, renowned apparel brand KooGa Australia’s chief executive officer Kim Brant plans to start opening a KooGa manufacturing site in Lautoka.
The $1.5million investment has been made possible through various Government policies, which Mr Brant says, has been one of the major attraction in setting up their manufacturing plant here.
Mr Brant met with Investment Fiji officials on Monday to discuss the finer details before the factory is set up.
KooGa Australia is the company that has been manufacturing rugby jerseys for our Digicel sevens and Flying Fijians teams since starting up a partnership with the Fiji Rugby Union.
Apart from Fiji , KooGa Australia are official partners of   Qantas Wallabies, Qld Reds, Act Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels, Western Force, Brisbane Lions, Richmond Tigers, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm.
Mr Brant said the textile industry in Fiji remains strong and he is confident of hiring the right people in Fiji who are going to be able to become part of KooGa family.
There would not be a manufacturer in Fiji who would be able to make a KooGa garment because of the work that we put in it.
“Investment Fiji staff has been extremely helpful and now there are several opportunities that Government is giving which allow us to come in and invest. The officials had been very helpful, they had people coming in and giving me advice which was just fantastic.
“The initial investment would be around $1.5million but we are going to grow organically. I am not going to employ 200 people and invest millions of dollars and have no work to do. We will employ the initial set of people, the management, the graphic artists and all.
“Lautoka must have a lot of good hardworking ladies and we will employ many of them. However, our employment process would be quite stringent.
“I am ready to pay these people much more than what the minimum rate is, I would pay them double because they will be part of the KooGa brand and I want them to be so happy with the employment that they would be scared to lose their jobs,” he said.
Mr Brant has sub-contracted the manufacturing of the KooGa apparels in China and Vietnam, but, he said they faced severe language barrier, adding that he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in getting the apparel from China to Australia.
“Fiji, on the other hand is just three hours away from Australia and export from Fiji would be duty free, therefore, this would be a much better place to come and invest in,” he said.

brandKooGa Australia’s chief executive officer Kim Brant. Photo: JYOTI PRATIBHA

KooGa, Seviin and BLK

Mr Brant said that people would have noted a change on the brand logo on Digicel Sevens and Flying Fijians rugby jerseys.
“The Fijian people would have seen the seven’s team wearing the garment with seviin on it while the Flying Fijians wearing a garment which has BLK on it. This has caused a lot of confusion in the marketplace regarding this. We got asked thousands of times as to what is going on.
“The Brant family owns KooGa in Australia. However, we don’t own the KooGa brand for the Northern Hemisphere.
“We were building the brand for them in England and they were not doing anything. So, we thought to buy the brand for our regions.
“There were seven teams in the World Cup who wore KooGa and all from us, none from the Northern Hemisphere.
“We were doing all the work but they were benefiting from it. On their website, they had all our teams on it and we could not do anything about it.
“All these guys were buying products and paid us royalties but we were hardly getting anything in return. KooGa England did not allow us to distribute it ourselves.
“So we decided to launch seviin by KooGa Australia and BLK by KooGa Australia.Everything else is the same and the quality is the best around but that is the only difference,” he said.
Mr Brant flies out of Fiji today and will be back later in the month for further talks regarding the factory.



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