Josh Goot is feeling relieved. Relieved, and focused.
Just over a month ago, his much-lauded label was entering into voluntary administration, much to the concern of his many fans and advocates of the Australian fashion industry. Needless to say, it has been an intense five weeks but today, as creditors voted to return the company to Goot, the label has emerged happily intact, and with a clear vision for the future.
The decision to enter into voluntary administration in the first place was a difficult one. “It was a very tough call,” Goot says, “but when I understood what voluntary administration meant, I realised it was the right option for the company.”
For those of us not versed in this kind of business, Goot explains. “It’s kind of like putting up your hand and saying the company needs help, and that we basically need to call a time-out to look at it carefully, with professional advice to find the best way forward to the benefit of all stakeholders.
“The administrator was able to help us extract information from the business that was key to understanding what was working and what wasn’t,” Goot continues. “We did it very quickly and very thoroughly and were then able to make informed decisions about what needed to change.”
Now the company is completely back in his hands, Goot speaks of his confidence moving forward, with planned changes to the company’s structure, internal processes, procedures and timeline management. “These are the key drivers in any business, but certainly areas that in our business, we needed to address,” he says.
Goot is looking forward to driving these changes himself, but also to being creative again. Creativity, as anyone who has to call on it for a living will agree, is hard to cultivate while running a business.
“This process forces you to consider your creativity and how it is best approached in the context of the business,” Goot says. “On the one hand, a lot of the considerations support improved creativity, but on the other hand, your time is totally consumed by other matters. Now that we’ve come to this point – although I still have a lot of work to do on the business itself – I’ll generally be allocating more time towards creative pursuits within the business.”
During these tough few weeks, Goot is grateful to have received support from peers and partners such as David Jones, a retailer all too aware of what a challenging time it is for the industry. “I think that everybody knows that,” Goot says. “In times like this you really do get so much strength from those friends.”
He pays credit to his “very committed and talented team”, with whom he will no doubt be celebrating for more than one reason next week, after the label’s Autumn Winter collection is shown at Melbourne Fashion Festival. In a happy twist of fate, the show will celebrate the label’s 10th anniversary as part of the Grand Showcase; a presentation of National Designer Award-winning alumnus.
A self-confessed eternal optimist, Goot has high hopes for the future. For him, his brand stands for various things – “modernity, originality, quality, optimism, a vision of modern Australia” – and long may that continue.
The Grand Showcase Featuring Josh Goot takes place at 7pm on 19 March as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival.
The Josh Goot Autumn Winter Collection will be in stores from March 23.