February 26, 2024

From the sheep’s back to clothing the world

Combining quality with customer care has rocketed Endeavour to its position as Australia’s second-largest wool exporter in less than a decade.

Growing up on the family’s western NSW sheep property, Josh Lamb had a deep connection to wool from a young age. He eventually found his way into the Australian wool trade and is now a respected member of the industry.

When Josh talks about the job of exporting one of Australia’s most iconic natural products to the rest of the world, the pride he feels is unmistakeable.

“I’m just mesmerised that you could take something grown on a sheep’s back, after 12 months out in the sun and the rain and everything else that goes with it, and go and produce a beautiful fabric or a beautiful garment at the other end,” he says.

It’s a sense of wonder he shares with Warwick Eddington and Stuart Greenshields, with whom he co-founded Endeavour Wool Exports in 2017. Stuart was also from a wool growing background in Victoria and Warwick had over 20 years’ industry experience in finance.

Already, the Melbourne-based business has established itself as the country’s second-largest wool exporter and is a key cog in ensuring Australia’s high-quality clip is sent for offshore processing before being turned into consumer goods including fine apparel, suits and knitwear.

The trio established Endeavour with a plan to ensure clients in international markets including China, Japan, Italy and India received only the highest-grade wool.

“We’re strongly focused on the quality of product and service we deliver,” Josh says. “It’s not only the wool we deliver, but the service we provide behind that. So when we ship and deliver the wool, we want that to be a quality experience as well.

“The way we focus the business is very much trying to treat each customer as if they’re our only customer.”

Around 87 per cent of Endeavour’s wool is purchased from auctions in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle. The remainder is sourced directly from a network of Australian growers. “Relationship is everything in the bush. Our grower clients appreciate having a wool rep to talk to that’s dealing in the market every day of the week,” Josh says. “Also we can give our overseas customers the latest information from the bush via our grower clients.”

Endeavour needed a bank that could keep pace with its rapid growth and help it penetrate new markets. “The support from NAB has been incredible, not just from our relationship manager, but higher up the chain,” Josh says.

That includes an export trade facility to fund wool purchases that is structured around Endeavour’s specific needs, export letters of credit, foreign exchange and adjustments to working capital to match the growth of the business.

Beginning with exports to China and Italy, Endeavour has expanded into several secondary markets such as India, which has great potential but also presents extra financial challenges.

“Being an export business, we needed a bank that understood that, and also had an understanding of foreign markets,” Josh says. “NAB came to us with products tailored to fit the unique challenges of dealing with multiple export destinations.”

NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: May 2024

NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: May 2024

27 May 2024

The NAB Rural Commodities Index increased by 3.2% month-on-month in April, after slipping 5.7% month-on-month in March.The index is around levels seen in April 2023.

NAB Rural Commodities Wrap: May 2024

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