Hard Rock Enterprises

Since 1997, Hard Rock Enterprises has specialised in the apparel trade. Beginning as a local clothing manufacturer and retailer, the business made an early decision to transition into an importer and wholesale supplier.

20 June 2024

Jim Jia, Managing Director of Hard Rock Enterprises, says, at that time, the decision to shift was largely financially driven. However, he also saw a distinct opportunity to establish a business-to-business brand to meet demand for white label or ‘blank’ clothing.

That led to the launch of Ramo, a brand supplying sportswear, corporate wear, uniforms, and promotional clothing to organisations and retail distributors across the country. Jim says it counts clubs, large companies, and distributors of clothing for major entertainment events among its customers.

The business has grown steadily over 27 years, where consistency of demand is one contributing factor. Jim says that because Ramo trades ‘blank’ clothing, it isn’t subject to seasonal swings in consumer tastes that other fashion businesses must navigate.

Indicative of its scale, Ramo has filled single orders for hundreds of thousands of items such as t-shirts during major sporting events, including for merchandisers at the Rugby World Cup hosted by Australia in 2003.

“We’re now looking at events like the upcoming Olympic games where our distributors and clients can benefit from demand for fan merchandise, and clothing as tourism souvenirs, which is another big market we serve,” Ramo Director, JJ Jia, says.

Hard Rock Enterprises

Enabling a rapid response to customer demand

Jim says that the nature of customer demand, where orders need to be dispatched quickly, means the business holds significant stock. For example, when a distributor needs clothing rapidly as a finalist is announced at a sporting tournament, the business must be able to ship large quantities of ‘blank’ clothing almost overnight.

That has seen Ramo’s warehouse capacity expand, with now over 8,000 sqm of space at its site in Milperra in Sydney. This footprint and level of on-hand inventory has enabled a responsive supply chain. “Very few businesses in Australia can service wholesale customers as quickly as us,” Jim says.

While the business is mature, it has become more efficient both through consolidating its warehousing presence, and a focus on online ordering. According to JJ, the business is closely watching innovation in warehousing and fulfilment centres, as it continues to enhance its operations.

Forging a point of difference

With a long-standing industry presence, JJ says that Ramo is already very familiar with many of the customers in the market. However, he explains that preferences and the competitive landscape are changing.

“We’re seeing more competitors, and some customers, seeking to create direct relationships with offshore manufacturers, particularly as people become more price-conscious,” JJ says. “The barriers to entry can be low. If you have the right suppliers and offer the right prices, you are open for business. However, it’s difficult to be competitive because everyone can find those same resources.”

“Ramo was created to combat those pressures and a key focus is raising brand awareness to differentiate from others. We want to create brand recognition among distributors and customers, which can boost the push and pull factor.”

“We do this by constantly investing in our products and label. To consumers, it might just be a t-shirt or hoodie, but we care about the details. The cut and the features matter to us to ensure our products stand apart,” JJ says.

Hard Rock Enterprises

Prioritising ethical and sustainable trading

Jim says that Ramo was an early mover in adopting sustainable practices with an initial target to achieve net zero carbon emissions and then enhance other areas. He says customers are “more frequently asking about our sustainability initiatives and are often surprised we’ve been active for ten years”.

“We’ve been using biodegradable and compostable packaging to reduce landfill for some time. Last year we introduced more sustainable cotton into our products, joining the world’s largest cotton sustainability program known as the Better Cotton Initiative,” JJ adds.

For Ramo, this extends to having standards in place for corporate social responsibility. For example, the business ensures that all manufacturers it sources from are accredited under the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).

“We want to support the right factories and are proud to partner with those that have the same commitment to ethical sourcing and business practices as we do. We are open and transparent about our activities in this area,” JJ says.

Cultivating strong relationships and networks

As the Honorary Chairman of the Australian Dongbei Chinese Chamber of Commerce (ADCCC), Jim has an appreciation for the power of both supportive professional relationships and helping others in the business community to learn.

“I’m interested in passing on the lessons I’ve learnt over 27 years building Hard Rock Enterprises. Through the Chamber, everyone can learn from each other, support aspiring business leaders, and create valuable connections,” Jim says.

“It’s very important to help each other and learn from others with different skills. On the Chamber’s board we have lawyers, bankers, and entrepreneurs; all willing to lend their expertise at our meetings and conferences.”

“At Hard Rock Enterprises and Ramo, we bring this collaborative spirit into our business relationships. For example, we have established a close relationship with CommBank as a banking partner and are focused on helping each other and seeking mutual success.”

“We work with CommBank not just because they are the largest Australian bank, but more importantly, we understand each other. If you communicate and develop a deeper understanding, the relationships grow, and we see these kinds of collaborations as vital to our financial success,” Jim says.

Steven Chu, National Manager of CommBank’s Asian Business Banking team, added that CommBank’s collaboration  with the Hard Rock Enterprises, ADCCC, and the Asian business community is unique.

“Unlike conventional banking engagements, CommBank’s approach moves beyond transactional boundaries, instead prioritising strong relationships with clients. We view these relationships as a strategic alliance, firmly rooted in shared objectives and unwavering support, and are committed to empowering the Asian business community’s success in a dynamic landscape.”

“It’s not just about competitive pricing; It’s the assurance of tailored support coupled with a steadfast partnership ethos that distinguishes CommBank in the realm of Asian Business Banking,” Steven concluded.

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  • The information and statistics in this article have been obtained from Hard Rock Enterprises. The Bank believes that the information in this article is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in the article. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth are subject to change without notice. The Commonwealth Bank does not accept any liability for loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of the article.