At Cactus, we’ve always been proudly Made in New Zealand. Since the earliest days in Wellington, and through our various Christchurch facilities, we’ve been the ones shouting from the rooftops about how important it is to protect and retain domestic manufacturing. Our co-founder Ben has seriously bored many a tramping hut dinner group with his theories about local manufacturing.
But today we’re announcing the next stage of Cactus, one which sees us embrace a hybrid model of sourcing. What this means in plain English is that some of our products will be sourced from partner factories offshore. We understand this may come as a surprise to many of our loyal customers and wanted to be upfront about what is happening,
As most of you will know, we’ve been in this game longer than most (30+ years). Over time we have come to the realisation that broadening our supply chains is necessary for our long-term sustainability and our ability to remain present in the local and global market.
IMAGE: Cactus Archive - Cactus Factory, CHCH, NZ
To put it simply, we can only scale our own New Zealand factory so fast, we’ve maxed out all the other domestic factories and customer demand is scaling faster than that. In order to grow, we need to make some changes.
One thing should be very clear however, and that is the fact that we remain committed to quality. We will continue to use the same high-quality materials and craftsmanship that have made our products so durable and reliable for the last 30 years. This is about ensuring that customers can get the products they love, trust and respect from Cactus for another 30 years. And that the product you buy today, will most likely be in the hands of your grandkids and still going strong.
We recognise that this change will come as a surprise for many of our customers. However, we remain staunchly focussed on our commitment to quality, durability, and sustainability.
We’re not dicks. Through this journey, our goal is to be 100% transparent about what products in our range are made offshore and what products are made here in NZ. “Made OF New Zealand” is a tagline you’ll never see from us.
IMAGE: Supplied by Canterbury Today Magazine - Cactus Factory, CHCH, NZ
So. What gives? Our industry in New Zealand has been decimated over the past few decades. We are the largest manufacturer left in New Zealand and growing our manufacturing capacity is incredibly hard due to the lack of labour. We’re still hiring and training, but we can’t do it fast enough to meet demands. That labour shortage that you’re hearing about in every other industry is affecting us also.
We’re Cactus. Quality is our ethos. We are committed to making good shit that lasts. No ifs or buts.
We also recognise that many of our customers are like us and are genuinely passionate about doing good things for people and the planet. We’ve always said (not just at tramping hut dinners, but also in the media plenty) that the best way to reduce the environmental and social impact of your consumption is to buy less stuff. And a great way to achieve that is to buy stuff that lasts. Our products, whether they are made in Christchurch, Ashburton or elsewhere share the same materials and quality construction techniques.
As part of our commitment to maintaining quality and durability, all of our products will continue to be designed and tested in New Zealand. In fact, more often than not, samples of our products will still be produced by our in-house factory. We have always taken pride in the fact that our products are designed and tested in the rugged New Zealand outdoors, and this approach is integral to our commitment to producing gear that is built to last.
IMAGE: Cactus Archive - Cactus Factory, CHCH, NZ
Our offshore manufacturers will be responsible for the production runs of some of our products. Working together with our Christchurch factory we will maintain strict quality control standards to ensure that every product meets our high standards. By adopting a hybrid sourcing model, we can continue to provide our customers with the high-quality and durable outdoor gear that they have come to expect from us.
Our founding principles remain the same: We’re still a family business that is here for the long haul – both as a business and in terms of the products we make. By adopting a hybrid sourcing model, we can continue to support our local manufacturing industry while also leveraging the expertise and capabilities of offshore manufacturers. This approach allows us to maintain our high standards of quality while offering continuity of supply.
In addition to our in-house repairs service we are training our teams and mobilising in-store hemming and repairs to support product longevity, and to encourage customers to extend the lifespan of their garments. Supporting the repair of garments is a focus for our brand and is part of our wider sustainability initiatives.
Our goal has always been to offer the best value to our customers while remaining sustainable and environmentally responsible. We understand the significance of the 'Made in New Zealand' label to our customers, and we will continue to manufacture many of our products in New Zealand. In addition to this we will continue to offer New Zealand made versions of the majority of our range, this service however will come with minimum quantity requirements and be strictly case by case.
IMAGE: Cactus Archive - Cactus Founders Gwilym, Rob & Ben.
We will continue to prioritise the durability that is important to our customers and will maintain the highest standards that they have come to expect from our brand. We will continue to expand our in house manufacturing business by hiring skilled machinists. We will continue to support our outsourced local manufacturers, printers, makers and peers. And we will continue to make some of the toughest gear on earth.
Q: Why has Cactus Outdoor decided to shift some of its production overseas?
A: Cactus Outdoor has made this decision after extensive analysis and evaluation. A hybrid model not only enhances our sustainability plans long-term, but also allows more customers across the country the ability to experience Cactus products and to be a part of the Cactus brand.
Q: Will the quality of Cactus Outdoor products be affected by the move to offshore production?
A: No, the company remains committed to quality and will continue to use the same high-quality materials and craftsmanship that have made its products so durable and reliable. Cactus Outdoor has also thoroughly vetted offshore manufacturers to ensure they meet its high standards. In some cases, this move will give Cactus access to technology and resource that simply isn’t available in New Zealand. Further to this, Cactus will retain all product testing in house and in New Zealand. Including technical pressure testing in house and wear testing with the wide network of customers and businesses.
Q: Can I still order New Zealand made product?
A: Yes, Cactus will retain the ability to produce all of our apparel and most of our equipment in New Zealand at our factory or partner factories in New Zealand. However, this will be case by case, come with added expense and minimum order requirements.
Q: Will everything be made offshore?
A: No, there are many items in the Cactus range that can only be made here in New Zealand, these will stay made in house. Initially, the first ranges that are being moved to offshore are: A selection of Merino Tees, Singlets, and accessories, Wet weather (Mountain Jacket and Rain Jacket) and parts of our Down Programme. Cactus will continue to explore other ranges through the collection, however these will be clearly communicated to the customer.
Q: What is Cactus Outdoor doing to support product longevity and life cycle of its products?
A: Cactus Outdoor encourages its customers to repair and maintain their garments to extend their lifespan. The company is also mobilising in-store and in-house repairs to support this initiative.
Q: What is Cactus Outdoor doing to support local businesses and the New Zealand economy?
A: Cactus is dedicated to continuing to expand the Christchurch factory. Cactus Outdoor will continue to manufacture many of its products in New Zealand to support local businesses and support the New Zealand economy. Cactus will continue to hire machinists, and staff to build on the already large scale manufacturing business. Alongside this move to hybrid sourcing Cactus has recently set up a Down specific arm to its manufacturing plant to give NZ made product ongoing development and support locally.
(With this move to a hybrid sourcing model there has and will not be any Jobs affected across the manufacturing business. Cactus is always looking for experienced machinists – if you’re keen, drop us a line!)
Q: Will Cactus Outdoor products still be environmentally responsible?
A: Yes, the company remains committed to sustainability and producing high-quality products that are built to last. Cactus will continue to use the same high-quality materials and craftsmanship that have made our products so durable and reliable for the last 30 years. In fact, the most environmentally sustainable thing you can do is buy a hardwearing product that will last.
Q: Are the retail prices changing?
A: In some cases, yes, moving to a hybrid sourcing model allows for some flexibility in the costs of product. This in many cases will trickle down to price point at retail.
Q: How can I contact Cactus Outdoor for more information?
A: For more information, please contact Cactus Outdoor at email@example.com