Davey Hughes went from possum trapper to international clothing entrepreneur when he couldn't find the right gear for hunting! He's also appeared on TV One's Border Patrol, with interesting souvenirs of his travels ... guns, tusks, furs and other weird stuff!
Davey and his wife Margaret have built a lasting outdoor clothing empire on their proudly 'made in New Zealand' brand. Davey knows a thing or two about research. The former possum trapper is the key designer for his clothing range and often manages to personally trial the wet-weather and wind-proof gear - the company now exports to 23 countries including Scandinavia, the US and Australia.
Davey takes his work seriously, testing new designs while hunting and adventuring in such far-flung locales as Mongolia, Alaska and Montana. As well as selling to hunting and outdoors stores at home and offshore, he supplies clothing to the New Zealand army and police, St. Johns Ambulance and Australia’s SAS, after designing a prototype five years ago for the NZ Search and Rescue.
Attention to detail has helped the 18-year-old company see sustained growth with a passion for their community and the environment -Davey funds a Siberian tiger conservation campaign and he's a passionate advocate for getting kids into the back country and roughing it ... the same adventures that started him off in life!
Davey and Maggie set up the business in October 1994 after crashing possum pelt prices forced Davey to shift vocations. “The only thing I was an expert at was getting wet and cold. We started with products, based on my experience, that were very functional and comfortable". Although export business became an important part of the business, Davey discovered a booming rural New Zealand willing to spend dollars on being comfortable while out on the farm.
Davey has appeared on TV3’s 60 Minutes and the "Border Patrol" series. He’s often in the news with his outspoken views on being in love with all things New Zealand and his clothing brand has gained a worldwide reputation for making the best outdoor wear in the world.
The clothing ranges are still made here in New Zealand, in a purpose built apparel plant where Davey and his staff continue to buck the trend of apparel companies by remaining onshore. Davey is determined to keep manufacturing the company’s products. It’s about some sort of community responsibility — a lot of the women working for me are sole income earners. And it’s about having fun.”
"Very entertaining and a good mix of humour and message". Sue Page, Encore Event Management