HOW ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIA SHAPED BUDGY SMUGGLER.
A note from Chief Smuggler, Adam Linforth.
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australia has had a huge impact on the heart of Budgy Smuggler since day one.
It has always struck me as profound that, as far as I know, there’s no word as ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ in any of the more than 250 Aboriginal language groups. There is just an expectation that the community & the Earth / environment looks after each other. It’s a positive loop. This loop is something we try to live every day at Budgy Smuggler.
Aboriginal people have been the dominant influence on my adult life. Through most of my 20’s I spent more time with Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. I was based in Redfern but traveled all around Australia meeting with different communities as we built AIME, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, an educational mentoring program supporting Year 12 completion.
The impact of this time in my life and Budgy Smuggler has been huge.
(L-R): Adam Linforth, Arthur Little, Adam Goodes and National Presenter, Adam Hansen.
The concept of looking after the community without any expectation of reciprocity and in the long run that the community and the Earth will look after you was a pretty big concept to learn as a youngster. A translation of this in broader Australian culture is that things come in ‘swings and roundabouts’. I think that Australia actually has a lot of Indigenous culture built into broader Australian culture, without people being particularly conscious of it.
In the long run, I feel this less 'transactional' way of running Budgy Smuggler will help to sustain us in the long term. We are our own ecosystem and we believe it’s important to look after our team, our fellow smugglers, our suppliers and the physical environment itself… do this and things tend to work out okay. Not every decision has to have a direct return.
Budgy Smuggler was one of, if not the first, brand to proudly embed the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Flags into our range and we're pretty honoured that many of the early smugglers were people we admired in the community like Buddy Franklin, Kurtley Beale & George Rose. Outside of Budgy I was able to help raise $50M for Indigenous education in my 20’s, which I don’t think any of the above knew, yet it points to this positive loop.
Today, a lot of our most popular designs are Indigenous. A royalty on every sale is earned by the Indigenous artist who designed the print. We believe this helps to embed this positive circle at the core of Budgy Smuggler for both the Indigenous community and the broader Smuggling community.
Budgy Smuggler is literally my family. I have Mum on the accounts, my Brother and Sister working, cousins involved… my Uncle built our stores…. I’ve literally run out of family members to hire, but I feel there’s a broader Smuggling family that we are building together.
It's NAIDOC week this week, a time to celebrate and shine a light on the talent and culture of our First Nations people. What I want everyone to know very clearly is that for Budgy Smuggler, this isn't something that we do once a year. Engaging the best of our Indigenous talent and sharing it with Australia in the world is in our DNA and something we'll be doing every week long, long into the future.
Sending all of youse love,