City shift pays off

Kim CousinsCountryman

Swapping work boots for Ugg boots was a decision that paid off for Adele and Alan Williams.

They've just celebrated 10 years of operating Outback Red in Perth's Plaza Arcade.

Before moving to the big smoke, Adele and Alan farmed emus and ostriches in York.

"It was a bit of a sunrise industry at the time," Alan said. "Everyone jumped into it but at the end of the day you've got to sell them."

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Selling emu oil, soaps and other emu products direct from their farm was a "hard slog", so the couple decided to try a different tactic.

"We did the old cold sell through Perth one day looking for tour buses (to add our farm to their tours)," Alan said. "It was hard getting them to come to us so we thought we'd go to them."

For the first few years the Williams made the daily commute from York to Perth but missed the benefits of living on the land.

"We left in the dark and got home in the dark," Alan said. "It took a while but the city has grown on me."

As well as overseas travellers, Adele and Alan supply farmers with RM Williams, Drizabone, Ugg Australia and Akubra work gear and provide Aussie expats with Christmas gifts.

Australia Day is a busy time of year, as is Chinese New Year when visitors buy up big for families at home in China.

"When we opened, Alan said that Ugg boots wouldn't sell. But they're our best seller," Adele said.

Adele travels to the eastern states four to five times a year to source stock for the shop and works with Australian Ugg designers to come up with new products.

WA suppliers, such as artists Des Smith and Ingrid Windram, are also supported when possible.

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