Crocodile leather: A peek inside unique business’ operation
If you've been to Broome, Darwin, Cairns or CQ's own Koorana Crocodile Farm, then chances are you've seen De La Faux quality merchandise on display.
Based in Etna Creek, 20km north of Rockhampton, Mary and Brian Faux produce leather goods which are sold in retail outlets all around Australia.
But next week, the pair will have a more local focus when they provide University of the Third Age members a glimpse into their operation.
The University of the Third Age is an organisation dedicated to providing people of retirement age with opportunities to socialise and learn.
At its upcoming general meeting on April 12, Rockhampton's U3A members and visitors will be treated to a guest speaker from the local crocodile skin manufacturing factory.
In addition to admiring the factory's range of custom handbags and belts, the U3A will get to see how handbags are constructed around a mould which is itself built on a 3D printer.
The Fauxs started out with shoe repair shops in East Street then Northside Plaza 20 years ago.
Now they operate out of a shed on 100 acres of what Mary calls a "grubby bit of country" where they've planted more than a thousand eucalyptus and exotic trees.
"Crocodile leather is difficult to size and split," she said.
"It's expensive to buy so you can't afford to waste or spoil any of it."
And while the crocodile wares they produce on contract are sold on to retail venues, the couple has set up their own online boutique using other leathers such as ostrich and fish.
To make everything by hand, the Fauxs buy in specialist equipment and sometimes make their own.
The 3D printer is a "huge big thing which has its own room", Mary said.
"What we'll be showing at the U3A meeting is the mould it prints out; you build the bag around it and then you pull it apart."
The Fauxs hadn't heard of the U3A before the invite to appear at their April meeting.
"We had a small group from Mater Care arrange to come out for a look over the factory and that's how they heard about us.
"We think the U3A is an excellent opportunity for people to get out of their homes and enjoy each other's company.
"We look forward to sharing our work with people who probably remember when many more items in life were handmade."
U3A Rockhampton and District Inc's next monthly general meeting
• Date: April 12 2021 at the Frenchville Sports Club, 105 Clifton St North Rockhampton.
• Time: Doors will open for the meeting at 9am, for a 9:30am start.
• Invitees: Members and visitors are encouraged to attend the meeting
• Website: www.u3arockhampton.org.au
• Email: email@example.com
• Postal address: P O Box 8160 Allenstown 4700.