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Selke NZ: Great Hats You’ll Wear for the Rest of Your Life

After having to sell his previous business to move south with his family, Warrick Kemp began to look for businesses in his new home of Ashburton. When Kemp saw Selke NZ, a headwear manufacturing business, it caught his attention.

Even though the business offered very novel challenges to Kemp, such as manufacturing the products rather than buying and selling them, Kemp was really interested in the company, to the point where he chose to buy it.

Kemp places quality as the most important part of all his hats, using New Zealand leather to produce dress hats, winter hats, and leisure caps that he claims will last a lifetime. Kemp says around 20% of his customers come in looking for great quality hats, and those are the people Kemp cares about the most.

“We don’t agree with a throwaway culture. Our hats are made to rejuvenate, to last a lifetime.”

Working together for better results

Kemp says the business runs as a “happy family”, and that he has great relationships with all the ladies who work for him. Kemp notes that all of his workers put great care into their work, and help to make all the hats as high quality as possible.

Kemp also points out that even if one of the hats wasn’t up to scratch, customers could bring them in and they would be fully repaired at no extra cost.

The range of the products is another thing Kemp takes pride in. Kemp says that before he bought the business, there weren’t many options for customers, but under his ownership the range on offer has grown substantially.

“I’m probably proud of the range we have now, compared with what it was. It was quite restricted before—well, we’ve extended it considerably.”

Why Selke NZ are NZ made

Kemp says that being New Zealand made is a crucial part of the business. Kemp states that customers look for and place trust in locally-made products, and there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from manufacturing the hats first-hand.

“New Zealand made is the market for us. That’s what people are looking for. They feel as though they can rely on it, but if there is a defect they know that they can come back to us.”

“I really enjoy working and making the product. There’s something special about manufacturing and seeing a finished product come through, and seeing the pride the ladies take in it.”