Branberry had humble beginnings with a small range of designer baby blankets made for busy families. Established in Sydney in 2001 by a very busy mum, the brand was completely manufactured in Ballarat by Interknit, Victoria’s last rural knitting mill and focused on natural fibre designer baby blankets that could be both machine washed and tumble dried.
Blaszak Enterprises Pty Ltd trading as Branberry
In 2012, Interknit had been knitting for Branberry for eleven years. Owners Andrew and Kassie Blaszak knew the back end of the Branberry business almost as well as the owner and were disappointed to hear she was selling up. Even more disappointing, every interested buyer seemed to want to take the manufacturing offshore. Not wanting to see another great Aussie business sold overseas, Kassie bought the business as her own personal project. The timing wasn’t perfect, Kassie was pregnant with their first baby and already had her hands full as one of the youngest knitting mill owners in the country, but she had faith in the great products Branberry produced and had a vision for what it could one day become.
With a strong network of loyal wholesale customers, Branberry continued trading as a fully Australian owned and manufactured company from 2012 while Kassie managed the details in between running Interknit with her husband, Andrew, and raising their two very small children.
Interknit Pty Ltd trading as Branberry
After years of trading from the same location and keeping separate records, Branberry merged with Interknit. It made sense to bring the two together to share administration and manufacturing resources. The merge also coincided with their first child starting school and a house move bringing them only ten minutes’ drive from the factory. After almost five years on auto-pilot, Branberry was finally getting the chance to shine.
With extra time on her hands, Kassie invested more hours in her business – launching a new look website; designing a new catalogue; honing her photography skills and learning some of the knitting machine programs herself. Meanwhile Interknit was gearing up to celebrate 80 years of local manufacturing and the extra administration staff allowed Kassie to step back from some of the mundane office tasks and focus on all the design ideas she’d pushed aside over the years. With one child in school and the other walking, talking and toilet trained, Kassie bravely left her children with her husband to attend her first three day trade show. It was the longest she’d ever been away from her babies but the amazing feedback from customers at the show was what she needed to confidently leap into the future.
Since then, the brand has gone from strength to strength and now not only continues to produce the finest quality designer baby blankets, it also has a large range of natural fibre fashion and pure wool homewares. Kassie is a hands-on entrepreneur and is happiest when she’s busy sampling new designs in the factory. A self-taught designer, Kassie, her husband and their two children are also the brands models and product testers. Their latest range of pure Merino ladies Summer fashion will be launched at LifeInstyle Sydney 2019 along with a showcase of their Superwash pure Australian Merino blankets that are both machine washable and tumble dryable.