Meet the Maker: Bianca Latorre, Founder and Designer Of Third Boi
Team Buy Aussie Now
This story was written by several Buy Aussie Now team members.
Third Boi is a loungewear label that is really all about simple, classic style that can be appreciated for its small but important details, clean finishes and subtle branding.
The silhouettes are intended to be generous and oversized… all-inclusive for many body types and age groups, though the niche sits in the 30+ market and definitely a favourite with busy Mums. Effortlessly cool, laid back style with throw on pieces for every single day. The latest range of Sweats, Joggers and T-shirts take on the popular rib trend in a uniquely Third Boi way!
How did you start your homegrown business?
Third Boi is my Third Boy. I started this loungewear label after the birth of my second boy when my life was all about working from home and Mum duties. This was in the days when most of the casual wear you could find on the market was actually activewear…. when I wasn’t feeling very ‘active’ at all! I wanted (actually needed) comfort that didn’t compromise on style, preferred minimal pattern (if any) over digital florals or animal prints and was more about subtle use of colour rather than sporty accents. I couldn’t find what I wanted, at least not in a price range that pleased me, so I started on my own range. Of course, the direction and vision has evolved since then but that’s where it all began.
It wasn’t entirely ‘homegrown’ to start with. In the beginning, I imported but that was mainly because that’s where all my experience, knowledge and connections were. If I’m honest I also just assumed there was no industry left in Australia because that’s what people would have you believe. But the sheer volume requirements from overseas factories did not sit well with me and that’s why I thought I would give made in Australia a crack. As I said, I had no local connections so the process has taken some time but what I have uncovered is a wealth of resources and pleasant surprises…. So much so that I’m left wondering why I didn’t just look in my own backyard to begin with?!
What inspires you?
I’ve never been one to follow trends too closely. With a background in Homeware, the trends were never really as clear cut as they are on a runway, nor were they as fleeting so I was always forced to design more innovatively and with longevity in mind. I would say I go with my gut 90% of the time.
As far as my work ethic goes, I am definitely inspired to go the extra mile for my kids. During this last lockdown, in the middle of the craziness of homeschooling and working from home my eldest son said to me “Mummy, I am so lucky to have a mum who works and makes clothes and masks that people need!” …. He actually said this to me, I know right- Melt. He has such a great way of easing my mum's guilt!
What are the benefits of manufacturing locally?
The flexibility of local manufacturing means that I can be more reactive to market demands and trends. There is also less obsession with volume amongst local boutique makers which takes a lot of stress away, not to mention how great it is for curbing mass consumerism. However the best part I would have to say would be meeting the makers face to face and taking them along the journey. Being able to see where my clothes are being made and by whom is both satisfying and educational.
What makes the Australian consumer unique?
Australian consumers are loyal to brands, especially to those with a deep-seeded Australian heritage or connection and are very invested in the story behind a brand.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
People always talk about how they learn and evolve from their mistakes. That seems obvious I guess but it is easy to get very deflated by missteps and if you’re not careful, you can become completely derailed by them. I feel almost buoyed to learn that even the best stumble in business and it reminds me not to be so hard on myself when I make a wrong choice.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in business?
As a designer with a background working for a large company such as Country Road, I was exposed to all aspects of the product lifecycle but was obviously only accountable for the design and development and able to handover the rest. I did a lot of work up-front with the sourcing, production, shipping and testing teams but when it came to planning/buying and marketing, my input became slightly less and so too did my level of ability in these areas to effectively bring a product to market. These same areas now present the biggest challenges. Instagram alone, for example, is something of a minefield to me.
What has been your positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s been a great way to see how adaptive and flexible I can be with my business. I started making face masks as soon as the demand was there and it opened up a whole new way of thinking and producing products that I would have never otherwise explored. This has been such a positive takeaway!
What was your first job?
Maccas. They used to say if you work at McDonald’s as a teenager, you could get a job anywhere. That’s why I worked there. That and the free pickles. I certainly did not do it for the ill-fitting grey pants, maroon stripe shirt and matching necktie they made us wear. Or that strange boat-like hat- OMG the hat!
Favourite Australian film quote?
“It’s the Vibe of it” by Dennis Denuto - The Castle. The best worst Lawyer ever!!!
Which classic Aussie song would you perform at karaoke?
The Horses - Daryl Braithwaite. Yeah, Yeah!
Check out Third Boi for effortless casual wear.