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How MYOB reporting helps Budgy Smuggler Swimwear be more strategic

16 November 2023

Adam Linforth describes how MYOB and its automated reports helped him grow his unique swimwear company.

swimwear-display-in-shop

Learnings from a cheeky entrepreneur:  

  • Challenge perceptions of customers — invest time in learning who your customers are so you can appeal to them in unexpected ways.  

  • Pursue something you’re proud of — developing a business that creates positive change — however small — can keep the passion alive.  

  • Keeping things local can pay off – fast turnarounds, pride in your product and more room to innovate can help offset the increased costs of local manufacturing.  

Fifteen years ago, Budgy Smuggler was a joke between mates. But Adam Linforth’s speedos with hand-scrawled logos soon transformed into a big player in Australian swimwear. 

It wasn’t just a commitment to freeing the thighs of the world that got him there, though.  

“I had so much help pulling Budgy Smuggler together in the early days,” he says. 

“Mum did the books, and my entire family were employed then or are employed now. It was a real team effort.” 

At the same time, the brand’s unique identity – one focusing on everyday people, rather than chiselled Adonis-types – worked to net Adam loyal supporters from outside the family.  

Budgy Smuggler’s ‘Australia’s Most Ordinary Rig’ contest is perhaps the perfect example of this attitude. But the customer-driven approach doesn’t stop there. 

“A lot of the designs now are actually custom designs people made. Our design team loved them, so we’d say ‘Hey, would you mind this becoming a stock pair for us?’ 

“People are usually pretty stoked with that.”  

swimwear-display-in-shop

Creating a new Australian icon 

In creating a brand that celebrates the Australian way, Adam has always been conscious about keeping operations local.  

“Businesspeople tell us we should move manufacturing offshore to a cheaper cost base. But for us, it's really important to continue a rich swimwear manufacturing tradition in Australia.  

"When you put on a pair of Smugglers, I want it to feel like you're literally putting on a piece of Australia." 

- Adam Linforth, Owner, Budgy Smuggler 

It’s not just about leaning into Australia’s rich swimwear heritage, though. Setting up shop in Australia has also provided some vital business flexibility. 

“When COVID struck and sales plummeted we had to close our stores, but, because we made locally, we were able to adapt and make face masks. 

“They became our best-selling item for three or four months during that first wave and helped power our business through.” 

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Forming a solid strategy with MYOB 

Finding the right accounting software can be tricky for new businesses, but Adam was more than prepared.  

“I was the finance director of a non-profit for eight years. Using MYOB, we grew from three staff when I started to over 100 when I left.  

“It was a no-brainer to bring that across when Budgy was getting started.” 

Despite being comfortable with his accounting software, applying it to a new type of business offered Adam a few new tricks.  

"MYOB forms the nuts and bolts of how we make calls and what we do in the future." 

- Adam Linfort, Owner, Budgy Smuggler 

“We use it to make business decisions by looking at reporting numbers, budget, and how we're tracking overall.  

“It helps give us a simple, clear, concise view on how different parts of Budgy Smuggler are going. We’ve looked at other providers, but it definitely seems to be a cut above.” 

Budgy Smuggler’s accounting software has also been an asset when it comes time for payroll. 

“We've got 15 full-time staff and 20 casual staff and the payroll system with MYOB helped us to onboard everyone and get them paid.”  

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Remember the customers on your doorstep 

Early on, Adam was keen to make the Budgy Smuggler name big internationally. But some sage advice from Andrew Rich, the co-founder of clothing brand Mambo, quickly changed that. 

“He said to me: ‘Before you start worrying about the United States or overseas markets, you've got to be relevant in your own backyard.’ 

"That was a shift in mentality for us: what we had to do first was secure a following in our local community."  

And by focusing on Australian customers first, international recognition organically followed. 

“We had a lot of Aussies go backpacking and fly the flag for us in different corners of the world. They were leaders in teaching people around the world about Budgy Smuggler. Today about a third of our sales are overseas.” 

- Adam Linfort, Owner, Budgy Smuggler 

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Finding fulfilment in business 

His time with Budgy Smuggler has given Adam some unique insight into how business ideas should be considered. 

“Do something you're proud of”, he says. 

“A lot of people say do something you love, but I love surfing, and no one's going to pay me to do that,” he says, laughing. 

"If you want to make it happen, you’ve got to build something you care about. I'm proud that what we’ve built now means something to other people." 

- Adam Linfort, Owner, Budgy Smuggler 

“I remember my dad saying how we were making an impact when we saw someone got married in smugglers – it means something to them.  

“And to make something that's more than just a product – something people care about? I love it.” 

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