CARDIF Collective in Liquidation – What it means for Canberra’s Designers and Makers

On the 15th of May 2019 the privately owned company behind CARDIF Collective, a Canberra based retail and workspace for local designers and makers, went into liquidation.

While the closure of one of a handful of spaces selling locally made products is a blow for Canberra fashion and retail, the designers and makers who the business existed to support have been left in an extremely difficult situation. They received no warning from the business’ owners, their stock has been seized and their calls and emails remain unanswered. We too have contacted CARDIF for comment and have received no response.

One small business owner who stocked with CARDIF was asked to provide more product to the store as recently as Tuesday 14th May 2019. They were given no indication that the store would enter into liquidation the very next day. Acting on gut instinct, the maker contacted another business in the shopping centre where CARDIF is located and found out that the two CARDIF retail stores had closed. Fearing the worst, the maker then checked the ASIC register of insolvency notices.

Word quickly spread between designers and makers, who each confirmed that they had received no indication from CARDIF of what was to happen. Upon contacting the liquidator Thyge Trafford Jones of Mackay Goodwin another maker was advised that Pickles Auctioneers had already entered the retail spaces to take inventory of the stock that remained.

‘The biggest fear for me is that I won’t get my products back,’ said Vicky Kidd-Gallichan of Rockstars and Royalty. ‘And it’s not only not getting our stock back, but the fear of seeing our products and hard work being sold or auctioned by the liquidators to pay off someone else’s debts. That would be the worst case scenario and I really hope that it can’t happen.’

Yumi Morrissey of Zilpah Tart added: ‘Most of the products are handmade. And the thought that we may not get back what is owned by us is mind boggling. We can’t afford that. Also, having to “prove” that we own our own stock kind of makes it feel like we’re being accused of something. Not to mention the massive amount of time (that we don’t have) that it’s going to take to try and get the paperwork we need to prove it’s our stock.’

We have looked over a number of contracts made between designers and CARDIF and it appears clear that the products are consigned to the retailer for sale. Makers retain ownership over the garments or product while the retailer retains a commission for those items sold. It appears that all stock currently held within CARDIF should rightfully be returned to the maker and not auctioned to settle the debts of the retailer. The seizure of stock and the withholding of money owed will undoubtedly have a negative impact on many of the small businesses owners who consigned product with the retailer.

While a number of other businesses in Canberra support local designers and makers by providing a retail outlet such as Trove and Pop CBR, CARDIF Collective differentiated itself with its initial focus on fashion and textiles and emphasis on providing space to bring creatives together. The loss of studio space and production capabilities leaves a hole in our local fashion landscape and many designers without a support network.

If you are a designer or maker who stocked with CARDIF Collective contact the liquidator, Thyge Trafford Jones at Mackay Goodwin. You will need to prepare:

  • copies of your contract agreement
  • a stock listing
  • any other relevant documents which could include copies of email correspondence to support any conversations/dealings with CARDIF, photographs etc.

Mackay Goodwin
02 9220 7100

A private Facebook group has been set up for relevant designers and makers to set up to help keep those involved up to date.

Since first publishing this article on May 24, we have today (28/5/19) learned that the liquidators have responded to the designers and that they are now able to pick up their stock.

Emma Batchelor

Emma Batchelor

As well as a near obsessive interest in fashion, Emma is a former scientist, occasional contemporary dancer, avid reader and self-confessed cat lady (she has three). Emma lived in Leiden in the Netherlands as a baby and Leiden ought to have been her middle name had her mother thought of it at the time and not chosen Louise instead.

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