Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Designing a Cool Lifestyle

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Designing a Cool Lifestyle

Article excerpt

Byline: Angela Norval

JAN Mroz knows what it's like to look good and it is all thanks to the skill and dedication of his wife Zofia.

Zofia's love of sewing started in Poland when she was a child making clothes for her dolls on her toy sewing machine.

She continued to advance as a teenager, making clothes for herself and her friends because it was hard to get interesting designs in then communist Poland.

She met Jan when they were 17 and he became the envy of his friends with his original shirts made by Zofia, while they all had to wear mass-produced ones.

When their first daughter was born in 1979, Zofia also started making unique and creative designs for her.

In 1982, the family arrived in Australia and settled in Brisbane.

Initially, Zofia worked in a clothing factory as a seamstress, learning to use industrial machines.

But when their second daughter was born in 1984, Zofia couldn't work any more but now had more time to make more clothes for their children.

With everyone commenting how interesting her creations were, Jan and Zofia decided to start their own brand which they called Pinocchio.

While Zofia was designing the clothes, making patterns, sewing and supervising the few women they were employing, Jan was doing his part by cutting fabrics and distributing their clothes to shops.

The first shop they supplied was in Paddington, then Sanctuary Cove followed by Noosa and Mooloolaba, before a successful trip to Sydney saw them supplying a few stores there.

Zofia said their business exploded in a good way when an agent interested in wholesaling their range contacted them.

"Suddenly we were supplying over 150 shops all over Australia, including David Jones, and we also had one shop in the USA and one in Japan," she said.

"It looked very promising but didn't last long with duty tariffs abolished and imports became very cheap.

"We just couldn't compete and to survive we had to do everything ourselves. …

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