Indigenous history and folklore has long been proudly passed down family bloodlines for generations, through storytelling, music, dance, culture and art. It seems only natural, then, for a grassroots clothing business featuring unique Indigenous designs, to be family owned and run.
The seed for BRACKS Indigenous Clothing was sown in 2010, when Director Bianca Brackenridge, a local with a passion for art and design, created a polo shirt for her family reunion. By 2013, the idea had begun to grow, and within 12 weeks of taking the idea seriously, Bianca had sold 1,300 polo shirts at a NAIDOC Day celebration at Riverway.
“Many of our clients were reached primarily via word of mouth, without the need for advertising, marketing, or even a permanent business structure,” Bianca said. “Our modern Indigenised designs, combined with the power of vibrant colours, is what makes us so unique and distinctive, while celebrating and honouring all three cultures – being Aboriginal, South Sea Islander and the Torres Strait culture.”
In 2014, Bianca brought Cherrie Brackenridge into the business, which has proved an invaluable business decision. “Cherrie is a self-taught designer, using YouTube to teach herself graphic design skills,” Bianca explains. “She has added value and inspiration to our business which has just grown and gone global though her passion for her culture and design.”
“Our culture is our passion and designing and displaying our work is what drives us”
Although BRACKS Indigenous Clothing celebrates Indigenous culture, Bianca emphasises that Brack’s clothing is not solely for Indigenous people.
“Our culture is our passion and designing and displaying our work is what drives us,” she said. “The ability to share our culture with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people sees these designs in Indigenous schools, businesses and sporting teams, Government organisations and also within non-Indigenous organisations. Our vision is to culturally inspire, embrace and deliver the best manufacturing Indigenous clothing business worldwide.”
The business currently has a long list of loyal customers, including Queensland Government, Queensland Correctional Centres, Queensland Health, Queensland Education organisations, sporting teams, family reunions, tombstone requests, medical centres and individuals from across Australia, with bulk orders of up to 500+ polo shirts and other merchandise.
Both Bianca and Cherrie are both working full time jobs, running BRACKS Indigenous Clothing and have families to take care of, but they pride themselves on having a minimal turnaround time of just three to five-weeks on custom orders, despite the popularity of their online store and busy lives. “We are now very well-known Australia wide, especially in our communities and by locals in Townsville. In our language we would say how ‘deadly’ we are,” Bianca laughs. “Word has quickly spread about the great qualities of our Indigenous business through the Murri grapevine, which in our culture travels faster than the news or social media!”.