My adopted Great Uncle, Leslie Winter Reid, returned from the Western Front at the end of World War I and decided to set himself up in the Sydney garment industry. With itchy feet after the war, he spent his first few years as a travelling salesman touring the country selling his wares. By 1922 though, he was established enough to set up an office in Rawson Chambers, Pitt St. He was always great with math and spelling, my Mum still remembers sitting on his knee as a little girl while he helped her with her sums.
Leslie ran the company all the way through the 50s. His younger brother, Herbert (Bert) Reid joined the firm early in the 50s and by the time Leslie passed away, Bert was ready to step in and take over. Bert took the company on to newer premises across the road to a building that still exists today, Daking House, near Central. My Grand Dad passed away when I was two, so I didn’t get to know him very well. But my Nan always talked very lovingly about him. I still remember her telling me about how they would get all dolled up for a Sunday drive through the city all those years ago. She worked in the Berlie Bra factory on Missenden Road Camperdown right back then. In a weird coincidence, my Wife & I first lived together in the very same building 50 years later!
Like his brother before him, Bert did a fantastic job growing the business right through to his passing in 1973. At the time my Dad, Ray Aurisch, was a bright young Assistant State Manager at Huttons Smallgoods, another great Australian iconic brand. He left his role at Huttons to take over the legacy that Leslie and then Bert had built. I still remember visiting my Dad’s office on the corner of the first floor of Daking House. At the time our business was wholesaling a range of Australian garment manufacturers including Midford, Bonds, Stubbies, Kolotex and even Dickies towels. I remember going on Holidays up to Queensland and sitting around in the foyer of a hotel for an hour while Dad did a sales pitch to the hotel manager, he was a man possessed!
By the 80s Dad was growing the business so fast he needed to move to much larger premises and resettled the company in Burwood. As a kid it seemed like years, but it actually wasn’t all that long before he needed to move again this time from Burwood to Chullora with larger space again. With ongoing supply problems Dad finally bit the bullet and decided to get into making his own garments. He teamed up with some great suppliers in Sydneys garment industry around Marrickville. Soon he had a fantastic product ready for the market and was able to leave Stubbies and Midford to start selling his own garments exclusively.
Soon even the Chullorra warehouse couldn’t hold all the stock Dad was able to sell and he made the last and final move out to Wetherill Park in Sydney. To this day, he still vows that those stock problem that always seem to be an issue for the likes of Stubbies and Midford will never be a problem for our customers; he just keeps getting more warehouse space! It was around the same time that he decided to really concentrate on School Wear, a major shift for the business. The brands continued to grow with more and more kids were proudly wearing our LWR garments all around Australia.
Today our LWR school wear is enjoyed in a huge range of schools and school wear retailers right around Australia. A new problem we discovered was customers wanting to get to our products after they’d changed schools, finished school for good, or in colours or styles not carried by their school. We get calls every day from customers who just wanted to know where and how to get our great gear.
We put Made For School together in 2012, 90 years after our business began, as a way to sell our huge product range to everyone that can’t get their hands on our gear directly. Whether its a quick shirt you need sent out, a raincoat your school doesn’t carry, a warm hoody to add to your uniform - whatever your need we’ve got it here ready to ship it right to your door or desk. Give us a try, we’ll make you smile.
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