Any time, anyone, starts a new business they do so with a vision in mind of how that business will grow and evolve. Such was the case when Andy McLeod first started Shade Australia back in the summer of 2000.
The idea for the business was the belief that as the hottest country earth with the highest rate of preventable skin cancer in the world that there must be a growing demand for the product we were selling, which of course was the shade itself. Turns out, all these years later, he was right.
The need for high quality shade and shelter solutions in Australia continues to grow and regardless of how that shade is provided, be it anything from market umbrellas to shaded walk-ways, the demand for sun shade products just keeps growing. In fact, that demand caused us to coin the tagline for our business;
‘The hotter it gets the harder we work”
and believe us, we’ve been busy ever since we first launched our first website way back in October 2001. Here is a screenshot of that very first website., We had to dig for it so there's a few images missing but you get the idea, we've come a long way since our very first venture into online marketing. Back then displayed no pricing and had no facility for e-Commerce.
Part of the homepage for our first website for www.shadeaustralia.com.au back in October 2001
Over the years we’ve seen the market for sunshade products expand. Just recently it was reported that Adelaide is now officially the hottest city in the world. Many other commentators have endorsed the need for increased sun protection including Bob Carrs’ well reported “living in an oven statement….
“This is deadly serious and it’s upon us. Global warming has got New South Wales in its grip as much as any other part of the world. We face these terrible increases in average climate. Parts of our State are already very hot, but if you look at where they’re going to be after 2030, it is really going to be like living in an oven”.
- Bob Carr, Premier NSW
As the company has grown it has found a unique position in the market. We’ve developed many of our own brands specifically to cater for areas of the market that we felt were lacking in quality products. For instance, we’ve developed our own brand of shade cloth, the “Ironstone Brand” which meets strict Australian standards and ranges in coverage from 30% UV through to 90%. We’ve designed a new range of commercial market umbrellas “The Sunranger” which set a new standard in high quality branded umbrellas for the commercial market. They are also paired with Sunranger Umbrellas bases, the strongest and safest umbrella bases available.
Our proprietary pop up tents “QuickTop Marquees” are widely regarded as the strongest on the market and this has made them the ongoing choice for organisations Australia wide such as The Cancer Council and Life Saving Australia.
It's been this history that a few years ago lead us to come up with our unique vision statement.
“World leaders of the Sunshade Age”
What Australian Parks & Paths Must Look Like In The Future
We see that within a much shorter period than most people realise that participating in any form of outdoor activity will require some form of sun protection. We call this the sun shade age. No longer will it be safe to go outside without adequate skin and sun shade protection.
Shade Australia has positioned itself as a world leader into this era of change because we believe that as the hottest country on earth with the highest rate of preventable skin cancer in the world, Australia not only has an opportunity, it has an obligation to lead the world in the area of sun protection.
Today organisations like the NSW Cancer Council report that “On an average Summer’s day in Sydney it takes approximately 11 minutes for a person with fair to average skin to being to get sunburnt. The Sunsmart Program states that “Shade alone can reduce overall exposure to the sun’s harmful UV radiation by about 75%,” whilst NSW Department of Health says that “Shade is necessary at outdoor spaces if activities take place there on a regular basis during times of high UVR. Most outdoor facilities and venues fit this description, whether they are recreational, educational, commercial or occupational.”
Shade Australia is committed to be an innovator and a leader in the field of sun protection in this country. We will continue to develop new products, work closely with community organisations such as local sports clubs and councils and stand behind the products we sell. We see the provision of high quality sun shade products and services as vitally important to the future of our great nation of outdoor activity lovers.
Our Unique Points of Culture
We take the work of delivering quality shade solutions to our customers very seriously. When something goes wrong, we take it personally. That's why we check and double check all orders before they go out. That's why we spend extra time packaging your items so that you know when they arrive the will be brand new condition. When we take your orders over the phone we double check all the details to ensure we've got it right. Every item which leaves our warehouse has been checked by at least two sets of eyes and checked off on a running sheet to ensure we have all the details spot-on.
One thing we’re big on is asking questions to try and better understand how you’ll be using the particular shade that you’re proposing to purchase. Many times our experience tells us that a person is considering a product that simply isn’t suitable for the intended task and we will always make a point of telling the customer, even when it means losing the sale. We take this as part of our professional obligation. We’re not just a company selling shade products, we do our best to bring our years of experience to the transaction and share our knowledge so that when a customer goes ahead and makes a purchase they can be confident that the product they are getting will be up to the job. In short, we strive to be the most professional company in this industry and after 16 years and tens of thousands of deliveries we think we're getting pretty good at it.
We don't sell cheap products which we know will only let you down and we only deal with the best factories and suppliers in the business. The result is that you get what you paid for and perhaps mention your good experience with us to your friends and the next time you need a shade or shelter product you come back to us. We plan to be around for another 20 years and then another after that.
Any great business who plans to be around for a while, needs a strong mission. Something which the team can believe in and in a situation which may be unclear, fall back on. We workshoped our mission statement on and off for a few years. We wanted something which was concise, easy to remember and which gave us all a structure within which to work. The mission statement we adopted is as follows;
"To provide great product, 'shade,' to a growing market, profitably and professionally."
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about our company. We hope that we can be of assistance to you in the future.