Xtreme Earth, a local outdoor gear brand, is due to close after eight years in the market.
The company, founded by entrepreneur Dave Williams, designed technical gear including sleeping bags and backpacks for the Australian market – but that situation has become untenable, according to Williams.
“I initially saw a need to create Xtreme Earth at a time when international brands were selling their products into Australia at incredibly high prices,” he said. “We went into production just as the Global Financial Crisis was beginning to hit, so it’s never really been smooth sailing for the business.”
Williams cites a number of factors for the closure, including the more competitive prices that international brands are now offering local retailers.
“We had begun working through the issues related to convincing retailers to stock our product, which generally relate to brand awareness and product quality. Now that we’ve overcome those issues, international brands have begun to sell at much more competitive rates.
Xtreme Earth had found its customers initially through placement in smaller, independent retail outlets – a category that has also been hit hard by changes within the retail sector. As Williams’ retail clients started to go out of business, he decided to begin focusing on selling direct-to-public online.
“We actually have a solid fan base surrounding our sleeping bags and backpacks, but it hasn’t been enough to drive a sustainable offering. It’s disappointing to have to shut down an operation like this, but I suppose it’s a sign of the times.”
The Xtreme Earth website continues to operate while final stock of its backpack range is liquidated.