Personality is everything to Sydney-based swimwear label Budgy Smuggler. It’s cheeky Aussie-made designs and irreverent voice are what stands out in local and international markets. For owner and self-proclaimed “chief Smuggler” Adam Linforth, flying around the country to bond with remote team members and collaborators is also key to maintaining the company’s culture – one in which the best ideas are sometimes sparked at the pub over a cold one.
How important is it for new recruits to click with your culture?
The Budgy Smuggler brand is all about people you want to have a beer with. When new members join the Smuggler family, seeing the whole team really gives them a sense of who we are and what our values are. As an example, I just flew with our general manager, Brenden Hartmann, to Melbourne to meet Dylan Buckley, an ex-AFL player who has a podcast called Dyl & Friends. We’re now jumping on board as one of the podcast sponsors.
Why is meeting face to face more productive?
We’re all about long-term partnerships and working with people we actually enjoy spending time with. Being in the same room gives you an understanding of what makes that person tick. That added trust means you can feel comfortable taking a big leap forward instead of moving in baby steps.
Why do you focus on getting all your team in the same room when you could just jump on a Zoom call?
Our warehouse, manufacturing facilities and office are in three different places and so much gets lost in translation between the locations. Bringing everyone together strengthens our team culture and creates the feeling that everyone has each others’ backs, which helps with staff retention in the long run. And often the most valuable stuff isn’t what happens during a structured meeting. Our search for Australia’s Most Ordinary Rig crystallised as an idea at one of our informal team catch-ups and turned into a national competition culminating in a Miss World-style pageant for blokes, which generated a lot of media coverage for the brand.