Not sheepish: Interknit, and owners Kassie and Andrew Blaszak, are finalists in two categories of this year’s Business Excellence Awards.

Interknit – Double the finalists

August 8, 2019 BY

There’s never a dull moment at Interknit. Since becoming finalists in two categories in the 2019 Federation Business School Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards it’s become more hectic.

DESPITE celebrating eighty years in business, owner of Interknit, Andrew Blaszak, said the Ballarat based company has only recently come into the spotlight.

“We’ve only really been in the public eye for the last few years,” he said.

“There was no need to advertise back in the days where sales agents would sell to shops and contracts were awarded to Australian made garments over cheap imports. We didn’t even have a shop front until 2015.”

Focusing on remaining viable has meant improvements in areas they never anticipated. Andrew has worked hard to stay on the forefront of yarn technology, including treatments that have made it possible to both machine wash and tumble dry pure Australian Merino wool yarns.

This helped the business become a finalist in the Ballarat Technology Park Innovation Award.

“I don’t hand wash anything since having kids,” Andrew said. “And the more I looked into it and talked about it, the more I found everyone around me would prefer an easy-care option like this too.”

Interknit’s easy-care wool is machine washable and you can tumble dry it.

The decision to move to wool that wouldn’t be ruined by a machine wash and tumble dry had an unexpected knock on effect in the local community.

“People were coming to us upset that their mum or dad’s favourite wool jumper was ruined by being loaded into a machine wash at their care home,” owner Kassie Blaszak said. “By offering pure Australian Merino wool jumpers that can be safely machine washed and tumble dried, we weren’t just helping busy families wear wool, we were helping the elderly remain comfortable.”

Kassie has been focussing on educating a new generation of wool wearers by both promoting the benefits of the natural fibre on social media and by designing homewares, baby blankets and fashion garments that suit a younger, fresher clientele.

“I have new ideas all the time,” she said. “Whenever there’s a spare knitting machine I’m onto it, working out something new we can make.”

As her ideas become reality, they’re knitted out in Andrew’s easy-care yarn and the resulting product range helped to make Interknit finalists in the Federation Business School Creative Industries Business Award.

Interknit’s achievements are down in big part to its small team and with a retirement last year it became even smaller.

“We rely so much on the experience and integrity of our staff to produce the standard of quality we are known for,” Kassie said.

“It’s an honour to be a finalist in two categories in this year’s Business Awards and the achievement is recognition of our wonderful team at Interknit and the amazing things we make.”