OVER THE last 20 years, OZtrail has become a brand synonymous with Aussie camping and outdoor life; it's certainly rare to see a sausage sizzle or beach day that doesn't take place beneath one of its iconic gazebos.
Now the family-run enterprise has a chance to extend its reach beyond our shores, as a consortium of investors has acquired the company with global goals in mind.
Brisbane-based consumer products queen Vanessa Garrard (pictured) has partnered with Shark Tank serial entrepreneur and investor Glen Richards as well as Odyssey Private Equity to purchase OZtrail from previous owners the Whittaker family.
Garrard, who is the founder and CEO of product developer SourceHub, says her company plans to bring a strong new pipeline of products and sales channels to the table for OZtrail.
She also insists on working very closely with OZtrail's general manager Andrew Whittaker to keep the essential elements of the business intact.
"It's important for us that this remains a real partnership between us and the Whittaker family, and we keep the business trading as it has been for 20 years," says Garrard.
"We're just about making sure that we get the OZtrail brand into new markets, and engaging the customers it already has while working on new product extensions."
Garrard says the new business arrangement will involve no staff turnover and the Whittaker family will remain involved in the operation of the business.
"We're not about going in and making cost cuts, or changing anything fundamentally," she says.
"OZtrail is a very successfully run business and we plan to keep it going as it is, but our help will pull the brand up to the next level internationally."
For the past five years, Sourcehub has focused on building its trading channels with major retailers in the United States.
One of the consortium's main plans is to disperse the OZtrail brand throughout those channels.
Glen Richards, founder of veterinary empire Greencross, invested in Garrard's Sourcehub last year and together the pair has grown the business quickly.
Garrard said bringing Odyssey Private Equity into the fold was also a no-brainer.
"Odyssey are a well-known and respected private equity fund and we wanted someone on board who understood consumer products, which they do," said Garrard.
"You only need to look at what they have done with brands like Macpac and Lorna Jane."
Garrard has been in the consumer products industry for 17 years, and has developed and sourced products for major retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Kmart and Target.
She currently manages seven companies, and in 2014 she took out the coveted Trailblazer award at the Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards.
Business News Australia
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