R.M.Williams – one of Australia’s most well-known, iconic and respected brands has a story to tell and The Tailor’s Luxury Day Tours are extremely proud to be able to help share it.
Luxury Day Tours offer an exclusive experience, not available elsewhere, for guests to tour the R.M.Williams workshop in Adelaide where most clothing, all plaited leather goods and the famous RM’s boots are manufactured (with the exception of lace up styles). The tour is followed by a visit to the iconic Percy Street store, which is the original and founding store of R.M.Williams with an excellent museum, where guests are individually and expertly fitted for their own pair of Craftsman RM’s to take home (included in the price of the experience).
Despite the increasing global distribution and success of R.M.Williams, the manufacture of the majority of products happens by hand processes in Adelaide. I was lucky to experience this day which I must say, far exceeded my expectations and provided such an emotional and historical insight into the characters and processes that have made R.M.Williams the global brand it is today.
I won’t tell you about the processes, as I hope you will see for yourself just how interesting and amazing they are, but I do want to tell you about how touring the workshop and the original store location of R.M.Williams at Percy Street Prospect made me feel. I was surprised to have felt so emotional and connected to the stories, the characters, the staff, the products, the brand and the man himself, Reginald Murray Williams – and I am from the city, not the bush.
The tour of the workshop is conducted by the senior management of R.M.Williams and takes guests right into the 10,000 square metre workshop and right up to the workstation where a particular process occurs. It is just incredible how many hands it takes to craft a product to the RMs standard and it is really something to see the genuine care and good nature of the people who make the products. Many of the staff have been employed by RMs for a long time and in some cases there is 3 generations of family. Despite the number and diversity of the workstations, the management knows each and every person’s name, the staff are so happy and familiar with each other that you can tell that it’s not just the processes but the genuine care and pride and maybe even love that goes into each and every product.
A pair of boots made from a single piece of leather (you should see and smell all of the different types of leather that are stored and available) undergoes each hand process with its very own ticket that details the specifics (size, fit, taupe elastics, thread, edge, tugs, sole for example). This ticket travels with the boot and is checked and marked at each and every station. When the boots are completed and inspected for outgoing quality, the number of the ticket is even detailed in the beautifully packaged box (packed and wrapped by hand). These boots are truly customised and the ticket is like the heart of a body that is being built with love, care and thought over time.
The workshop also has a repairs section and the boots that people send in from all over Australia and the world have each got their own story and energy and it was this section that was such an emotional surprise also. If those boots could talk! Whether the owner received them 30 years ago for a special birthday, saved to buy them, broke in their first horse, built their first house, made their first million – the brand is a part of so many stories. These were all very old boots, and in some cases almost as expensive to repair as to purchase new, but the owners chose to repair because they are connected.
I did find the experience of our VIP Tour of R.M.Williams Workshop to be one of connection – to the people behind a brand. The R.M.Williams experience concludes at the Percy Street store, the site of the RM’s original and first workshop. Percy Street also has the R.M.Williams Outback Heritage Museum and it is so interesting, learning the chronological story of how RM’s was inspired to create leatherwork and the people and places that contributed.
Our guests are personally measured and fitted for a pair of Craftsman’s RM’s to take home, as part of the tour by the wonderful, knowledgeable, experienced and passionate team at Percy Street. It really brings the experience home in its magnitude, the processes and the people involved to create those boots and it was with absolute pride and a new found connection that my boots and I walked out of the store and into forever.
If you are interested in visiting to R.M.Williams workshop for this privileged behind the scenes experience, please contact The Tailor’s Luxury Day Tours at email@example.com or phone +61 8 8152 0354.
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