The Evolution of Skumi Clothing

1) When did you start your business (and/or) hobby? How did you come up with the idea/inspiration? 

Inspiration: a) Being 6’8 my main inspiration was finding a t-shirt that fit me and wasn’t a sexy crop top (or became one after 1 wash.   b) I also wanted a t-shirt that not every second person owned AND c) a t-shirt that’ll last more than 1 wear, heck a t-shirt that’ll last more than 1 season! 

Skumi was born in 2008 as an on the side gig whilst I was also working at the Hyatt in Coolum. What started as a small stall selling fishermans pants (Hey – don’t knock it!  They were cool back then!) evolved into printing my own artwork at that of local artists onto high quality cotton T’s alongside some ready made T’s that I handpicked from various places.   Roisin came on board in 2014 and these days Skumi is best known for its party shirts and long lasting quality T-shirts.


2.  What does your daily life look like? Where do you find the time to create?

 Daily life: Early morning surf, play some guitar, perhaps a nap …… no wait – we have kids. . .  These days it’s more like wrestle mania with a freakishly strong 2 year old and some serious life vs death negotiating with a 5 year old. Working from home with a 2 and a 5 year old is both challenging and fulfilling. . . and challenging!  There’s a lot of tag teaming and working late.  We try to embrace the quiet seasons and get creative then. . .oh and there’s the occasional paper, scissors, rock to see who can get out for a surf too. . .


3.  What keeps you going when things are tough or you have a lack of motivation? What is your main drive? 

I think the beauty of working with your partner is when one person loses motivation, there’s an opportunity for the other person to step up and bring something new to the table.  We really do love what we do and are really proud of what Wade has created.  We have really amazing customers that we get to see weekly at the markets who really appreciate that we can bring something different to their world.  


4. What is the main thing you have learnt while running a small business or passion project?

Oh jeez.  So many lessons.  Never substitute quality.  Value your customers.  Take on feedback – but also know that you can’t make everyone happy.  You’ll attract the right people along the way.  Be fair.  Check the weather before market day! 


5. What does each sale mean to you? 

Skumi solely supports our little family of 4.  We seriously love our shirts and get really happy at the thought of someone out there rocking their Skumi shirt out in the world.  We love it when we see people out and about in them.  They just look SO GOOD! (if you’re wearing one and you can feel a telepathic high five coming at you – that’s us).  Every sale allows us to keep doing what we love but also puts food on the table.  We live a very simple existence – luckily it doesn’t cost money to surf or to climb Mt Coolum.  As long as we have enough money to fuel Wade’s chocolate addiction, Roisin’s bikini obsession, and the girls’ sparkly shoe needs, then we are happy!  


Team Skumi

  • Luke VanderStaay
    Posted at 19:22h, 30 August Reply

    Mate can you do a simple rage like just white or black with no pics or prints.. Skumi’s quality would make them a great option for those time when plan is called for.

    P.S Leo loves his and they fit just right. He was wearing the Sloth yesterday.

    Keep up the great work. Hope the family is doing well. Can’t wait to be back in the sunny state and and see you again soon.

    LVL 🙂

    • Wade Mallet
      Posted at 13:36h, 27 January Reply

      Hey Luke, stay tuned, Skumi is always evolving. Come back to the Sunshine soon!

  • Lorraine
    Posted at 09:33h, 25 January Reply

    Can you tell me if your shirts are Australian made

    • Wade Mallet
      Posted at 13:35h, 27 January Reply

      Hi Lorraine,
      Thanks so much for asking! The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no but I’d love to tell you all about it 🙂
      Wade used to do a lot of the T-shirt designs but now that we have very little kids we have artists on board, some local and some abroad who we contact with our ideas and they design the image for us. We then get these screen printed here on the Sunshine Coast by our amazing printer. We source the cotton fabric for our T’s and have these made in Thailand and we have also started using ASColour to supply a range of T’s also.
      Our Cotton Button Up shirts are made by our sewers in Thailand. Wade sources the Cotton fabric and then they are cut to our Skumi specifications.
      Our rayon shirts are designed by Wade here in Australia and then the fabric is printed and sewn in China. We did a lot of research before taking this leap and we were so impressed by the certification of fair wages and workplaces that we decided to try it. We have always wanted to have more control in printing our own designs on our own choice of fabric and at this stage China is the only place where we can get this done on such a small scale for our needs. Quality is the most important thing to us at Skumi, we’re not disposable or fast fashion so longevity is key. We’re so happy with the quality and the relationships we are building! The more that we can do in Australia we will, as long as we can keep the quality high, our ethical needs being met and can provide our customers with something affordable then we will keep evolving!

  • kieron
    Posted at 13:09h, 30 January Reply

    Hi I would like to echo what Luke said, I am 60 now, so have to tone things down a bit!!!
    If you have T-shirts with more subtle designs/pics. Love the Chocolate and kaki colours and of course the quality. (so hard to find now)..

    • Wade Mallet
      Posted at 14:38h, 30 January Reply

      Hey Kieron, Thanks so much! So glad you are loving the quality – that’s one thing that we put above the rest so if you ever experience anything less, let us know! What kind of designs interest you on a tshirt? Are you looking for a more simple picture or a smaller design? I always like to know what people are looking for so we can add that to our list of inspiration ideas. Thanks so much for your feedback!

  • Kieron
    Posted at 20:26h, 01 February Reply

    Hi Wade,

    I liked the subtleness of the Dj Kanga design on the T shirt, I.E the design does not stand out too much. Personally I think its good to have some design on a tee shirt. but should only be on the front not the back. Or perhaps, in addition, something subtle on the bottom of the sleeve edging (Skumi?). I like geometric shapes perhaps inter twining, but simple, and definitely no text of any sort Anyway that is just my thoughts, keep up the good work!!

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