Graeme Baker – Elizabeth Machines

Apparel Magazine got the chance to sit down with Graeme Baker of Elizabeth Machines to discuss their unique input to the cut, measure, trim (CMT) industry across Australia and New Zealand.

Elizabeth Machines is now the largest supplier of sewing equipment in Australia, with their pride and joy the StyleCAD taking centre stage amongst their product range. “The StyleCAD helps over 400 companies around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, plus thousands worldwide, proving themselves to be the top-selling pattern making, pattern grading and marker planning system,” explained Baker. This operating system is the final word in CMT. For Elizabeth Machines, making this type of equipment available to anyone and everyone in the industry is a part of their mission. “Our market ranges from small one-person operators who work from home to some of the largest companies here,” articulated Baker. Effective equipment is every specialist’s first point of call and is what will assure efficient processes and expertly designed patterns for brands both big and small.

With the majority of production for local brands taking place offshore in recent years, Baker explained how systems such as the StyleCAD play a vital role in maintaining industry standards and efficiency. “Many companies using StyleCAD do the pattern work in-house and simply email the finished styles to their overseas manufacturers. Doing this helps to keep the quality control in-house, which means what they get back should be correct,” said Baker. "Using StyleCAD to do this means any changes can be sent to their CMT manufactures, both locally or overseas in a few seconds.” Effective communication and transfer of designs are crucial between any designer and manufacturer, and with a greater degree of separation between the two, there is little room for error. “Smaller companies find that dealing with some factories in places such as China is not that easy, and a mistake can put smaller local companies out of business.”

“When clothing was locally made it was a great trade, and it still is considering the changes it has gone through.”

With so much outsourcing taking place overseas in locations such as China, the number of CMT companies around Australia and New Zealand has dwindled. But according to Baker, the industry is set for a new breath of life. “Outsourcing has been getting more expensive over the last several years,” he explained. “Hopefully the companies that have survived may find it starting to get a bit busier for them over the next few years.” Fortunately, the operating systems supplied by Elizabeth Machines are effective for both outsourced and local communication, so as the CMT industry grows and changes, the equipment is able to continue serving its purpose.

With efficient equipment at their disposal, Elizabeth Machines is confident that the CMT industry has a good future ahead of it. Baker expressed his confidence to Apparel Magazine in both his supply company and the equipment they stock. “I have seen many changes over the years and am happy to say that StyleCAD has been about the only PDS/grading and marker planning system to survive here, whereas most other similar systems have just about all but disappeared.” The changes taking place in the cut, measure and trim industry has not weakened players spirit or the excellence of the trade. “When clothing was locally made it was a great trade, and it still is considering the changes it has gone through,” he explained. “It’s just a lot smaller now, but I think our local fashion designing is now much better than it was back when I started.” This improvement is in part thanks to the operating systems and equipment that suppliers like Elizabeth Machines offers to their CMT specialists.