|One Planet history|
One Planetâ€™s history stretches back more than 30 years, taking in a couple of company mergers, a fire that completely destroyed the factory, and a whole lot of amazing products. Since the beginning, One Planet has been run by people who use the gear they make, so they continually test and improve the products as they indulge their passion for the outdoors.
The formative years...
One Planet as it is today is the culmination of mergers between Aiking Equipment, Adventure Designs and One Planet, and it is owned by Managing Director Andrew King. Andrew first began making rucksacks in 1988 in the room above the Melbourne Mountain Designs when it was suggested to him (gently!) that he was better at repairing products than he was at selling them on the shop floor. Using a borrowed desk and sewing machine, the 18 year old began Aiking Equipment. In 1993 he moved out from the sheltering wing of MDs to a new factory in Flemington.
In 1995 Aiking merged with Adventure Designs, a Melbourne-based importer and wholesaler of sleeping mats, tents and screen shelters. In keeping with the highly corporate nature of the enterprise, the merge was done on a scrap of paper, in pencil! A couple of years later New Zealand company One Planet (originally called J & H Adventure Wear and based in Australia) joined the mix, bringing with it 17 years of experience in manufacturing sleeping bags and clothing. After this final merge on 1 October 1997, the company was known as Adventure One Pty Ltd, as it is today.
In 2000, Adventure One was restructured. The company was trimmed to a more manageable size, concentrating on manufacturing and wholesaling. The manufacturing process in New Zealand was sold, along with the trademarks EarthMat and Mozzie Dome and stocks of tents, mats and screen shelters. One Planet clothes, bivvy bags and tents were no longer â€“ for the time being at least. The spiffy new logo also made its appearance.
Burn baby, burn
On 24 November 2004 a small electrical fault resulted in a massive blaze that completely destroyed the One Planet factory. Everything was lost. The fire was not only on Andrewâ€™s birthday; it was also only a week after the birth of his daughter. The whole One Planet operation was run from Andrewâ€™s house for the next ten days â€“ not an ideal, stress-free introduction into parenthoodâ€¦
The process of getting One Planet up and running again began in earnest. A fireman carried the computer server from the factory, blackened and dripping: within a day a new computer was up and running with all the Australian data on it. Staff set to work drying the contents of the surviving filing cabinet â€“ luckily it contained all the account and invoice information. On 12 December the contract for the current factory in Sunshine was signed, with painting and refurbishments beginning the next day. One Planet products were bought back from shops and unpicked to use as base patterns; new machines were borrowed, ordered and flown in from overseas. On 30 December, barely a month after the fire, the first cutting began. Every One Planet product was rejigged in the aftermath of the fire â€“ not a small job! The first of the post-fire products came out in May 2005, with the last of the range back on the shelves by October that same year.
There were positives that came out of the fire, in hindsight at least! It was a great opportunity to decrease the companyâ€™s environmental impact. One Planetâ€™s new factory and office have been carbon neutral since 2005. The excellent natural lighting and air flow reduce energy use and increase comfort â€“ good for both the planet and staff. All machines were also replaced with the most suitable, environmentally friendly machinery to start the new factory. They are all driven by compressed air and regularly serviced for maximum efficiency.
There are many other initiatives aimed at decreasing One Planetâ€™s impact and improving staff satisfaction. All emissions are offset, including staff travel to and from the factory, by planting the equivalent in oxygen-producing trees. All paper is reused, then recycled. Cardboard, cans, bottles, containers and print cartridges are recycled. All electricity is â€˜GreenPowerâ€™ accredited renewable energy. Food is prepared on site and provided in the canteen: this means less travel, cheaper food and healthier options.