This Aussie Snow Wear Company is Redefining Sustainability

Yuki Threads

Snowboarder Luke Mitchell loves going off-piste and forging new trails. Now, the owner of Yuki Threads is pioneering a more responsible approach to business – and earning Qantas Points along the way.

In his twenties, Luke Mitchell was “the quintessential snow chaser”, following winter from the slopes of Mt Buller in Victoria to resorts in Canada and Japan. More than simply a passion, it was a way of life and one he wanted to continue for as long as possible.

So he started a side business and he found the perfect niche selling snow-specific hoodies to fellow snowboarders. Since launching in 2010, Yuki Threads has expanded to make more than 50 products, from jackets to socks, with an annual turnover in the millions.

Luke Mitchell of Yuki Threads

But, for Mitchell, now 36, success isn’t measured solely in financial terms. “As a company we want to set meaningful goals that are going to have a really big impact socially or environmentally,” he says.

The avid snowboarder has already seen the effects of climate change firsthand in warming snowfields and more volatile weather patterns. “In the short term we're going to lose the ability to go snowboarding,” he says, “but long term we're going to lose much more than that if we don’t address climate change.”

It’s why sustainability is a core mission for Yuki Threads. Though the business isn’t 100 per cent sustainable just yet, creating garments with fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles is a good start. The next step is finding ways to recycle the clothes once they’re no longer being worn and to make biodegradable fabrics more affordable.

“I think a true measure of sustainability is to be able to put something back as quickly as you take it,” says Mitchell. “And as hard as we try, we can’t do that at the moment. But that's the goal and that's where we're heading.”

Yuki Threads

Yuki Threads was inspired by Mitchell’s desire to follow the snow. Regularly travelling overseas to meet with suppliers and explore ski slopes has remained core to his business and, once restrictions are lifted, Mitchell will continue to fly abroad. As well as carbon offsetting all of his flights (and earning 10 Qantas Points for every dollar he spends on Qantas carbon offsets¹), Mitchell partners with 1% for the Planet, donating one per cent of Yuki Threads’ total sales to environmental grassroots organisations.

Travel is also what attracted him to the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card. “If I'm going to spend money on travelling anyway, why not try and cover some of that with Qantas Points earned² through the Qantas Business Rewards program?” he says.

“I’ve changed all of our debits over to my American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card. The convenience is great and the more we spend using the Card, the more our points balance grows.”

With no pre-set spending limit³ on his American Express Qantas Business Card, Mitchell can commit to purchasing larger orders of outerwear and apparel while also freeing up cash flow for other things. “And because we have up to 51 days to pay for purchases⁴, when there’s a spike in outgoings because a supplier payment is due we can mellow that out over a longer period until the balance of the Card needs to be paid.” 

Plus, Mitchell’s business earns up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent² when he pays suppliers with the Card. “That means I only need a few large payments to cover a flight.”

These Qantas Points are already earmarked for future visits to manufacturers in China and Taiwan, as well as textile suppliers in India. “It will be very important to get back over there as soon as we can because, while Zoom is useful, those international relationships are really built on good communication and face-to-face contact,” says Mitchell. “My American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card helps me do this.” 

Until then, he’s enjoying having a permanent base in Torquay on the Great Ocean Road. “It’s like the retirement village for the snow industry,” he says with a laugh. “When you finish up with snow seasons and want a beautiful place to get a dog and have some kids, everyone just ends up here.” 

And with plenty of similar brands around, “there are great people down here to connect with. I’m pretty lucky to be in a lifestyle industry – everyone loves what they do or they get out.”

Luke Mitchell’s Top Business Tips

Follow your passion: “Succeeding in business is hard, so make sure you've aligned your business with what gets you out of bed,” says Mitchell. “You’re going to spend a lot of time working on it, so think about it before you start and make sure it lights you up.”

Use every tool at your disposal: When it comes to your finances, “look carefully at what’s available and build it into your strategy,” says Mitchell. “The American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card helped us massively through the last year by providing easy access to finance. That’s especially important over summer, which is our lowest revenue period. Knowing we’ve got access to finance if we need it provides peace of mind. Plus, my American Express Account Manager is a legend – she’s a snowboarder as well so it’s just like talking to a mate."

Yuki Threads

Know your numbers: “I started off in business as a snow bum who wanted to create something meaningful while doing seasons. It took me a long time to figure out that, whether or not you're motivated by money, you need to manage your finances carefully or you’ll always be hamstrung. And if you don’t want to do that, find somebody to do it for you.”

SEE ALSO: This Start-up Is Changing the Way Australians Grow Food

American Express approval criteria applies. Subject to Terms and Conditions. Fees and charges apply. All information is correct as at March 01, 2021 and is subject to change. This offer is only available to those who reside in Australia. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085). ®Registered Trademark of American Express Company.

¹. You must be a Qantas Business Rewards member to earn Qantas Points as a business. Membership is subject to terms and conditions and a joining fee may apply. Members will earn 10 Qantas Points per $1 AUD value spent on carbon offsetting for eligible flights booked at qantasbusinessrewards.com or via qantas.com and the Qantas App if ‘Booking for Business' is selected. The points awarded are based on the dollar amount quoted at the time of booking, and are rounded up to the nearest point. To earn Qantas Points, members must book an eligible flight via their Qantas Business Rewards (QBR) account, and select the Fly Carbon Neutral tick box provided, the points will be awarded to the business' QBR account. Eligible flights means domestic or international flights departing from Australia that you book on qantasbusinessreawrds.com, or booking via qantas.com and the Qantas App if ‘Booking for Business' is selected, where the option to Fly Carbon Neutral is provided. Members will not earn points on carbon offsets purchased through qantasfutureplanet.com.au. This offer may be withdrawn or extended anytime by Qantas. Points will be credited within 7 days of the booking date. Points cannot be withdrawn from members' account once credited as any payment made for carbon offset is non-refundable even when bookings are changed or cancelled. No retrospective claims can be made for this offer. View full terms and conditions here.

 

². A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for business. Membership and the earning of Qantas Points as a business are subject to the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions. Points are earned in accordance with and subject to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. Your business will earn 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 of everyday spend, which does not include annual fees, late payment fee and fees and charges for foreign currencies. Your business will earn 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at participating merchants classified as "utilities" including gas, water and electricity providers; "government" including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Postal Corporation, federal/state and local government bodies; and "insurance" excluding insurances offered by American Express. Industry specific earn rate may apply when you use a payment account, payment aggregator, services of a third party or online retailers that sell goods for another merchant. For example a payment made to Local Government bodies processed through a payment aggregator may earn rates at the government earn rate. Your business will earn 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on the following Qantas Products and Services purchased on the Qantas merchant account (i.e. directly from Qantas): Qantas passenger flights (with a QF flight number), Qantas Holidays, Qantas Branded non-airfare products, and Qantas Frequent Flyer and Qantas Club membership joining and annual fees. Excludes Jetstar. For the full list of exclusions, please refer to the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions.

*From 10 January 2024, once you have earned a total of 500,000 Qantas Points on your Card Account in a calendar year, your earn rate of 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent will change to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business purchases. All other earn rates (Qantas products, services and government, utilities and insurances spend) will remain unchanged. For Card Members who applied for the Card between 1 July 2023 – 9 January 2024, this change will come into effect from 10 July 2024. The points threshold is based on eligible Qantas Points earned during a calendar year and will be reset on 1 January each year. Qantas Points earned by all Card Members on a Card Account contribute to the 500,000 points threshold each calendar year. Bonus points earned from Acquisition bonus offers and marketing campaigns are excluded from the threshold.

³. No pre-set spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. This is dependent on several factors such as business income, expenses, and your business’s credit rating/history.

⁴. Extend your cash flow by up to 51 days: depending on your method of payment, when you make a purchase, when your statement is issued and whether or not you are carrying forward a balance on your account from your previous statement period. If you pay by direct debit, your payment will be processed 10 days after your statement is issued.

 

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