Family businesses are the backbone of Australia, with many of Australia’s largest and most loved companies starting off as a family business. On the 19th of September, Australia celebrated National Family Business Day – a day designed to recognise the invaluable contribution family businesses make to the Australian economy, community and culture. Family businesses account for around seventy per cent of all Australian businesses, employ over fifty per cent of Australia’s workforce and create businesses that make Australia the successful and diverse nation it is today. In this FastFacts article, we take a look at some of our favourite family owned businesses.
‘COS is Australia’s largest privately owned office products supplier. The family owned and operated business is now in its second generation, offering a next day delivery service to over 5000 customers across Australia. ‘COS employees approximately 350 staff across the country in 9 distribution centres and sales office. It is the aim of ‘COS to continue to grow and support Australian communities along the way, under its founder Dominique Lyone – who leads the company’s vision which was established in 1976 from a small start-up business with nothing more than entrepreneurial spirit and a dream.
Dominique Lyone (Bottom left corner)
Belinda, Dominique and Amie Lyone
Started in 1991 by the Australian Carp family in their own humble family kitchen in Melbourne, Kez’s Kitchen has grown steadily since day one. It is now one of Australia’s largest and fastest growing premium biscuit, cereal and snack brands. Together with her mother Helen, Kez had a vision to build something special. In 1994, Kez’s brother Michael joined them and together they put their hearts and souls into developing delicious recipes. Wanting to support both their customers and suppliers – Kez’s Kitchen garners inspiration from sourcing the best ingredients they can and are passionate about baking and creating delicious recipes and they are just as proud of their products today as they were when they started baking cookies at home over 20 years ago.
Helen and Michael Kez’s Kitchen
Over 60 years ago Cantarella Bros Pty Ltd, now trading as Vittoria Food & Beverage, began as a family business importing Italian products to support a growing post-war migrant population in Australia. However, when it came to coffee – the family knew that coffee tastes best when it’s fresh, thus in 1958 the company began roasting in Australia. Since then, Vittoria Food & Beverage have passionately driven the growth of espresso coffee and pioneered the development of an Australian café-culture. Today Vittoria Food & Beverage has evolved from an importer of European brands to a truly global player, remaining a proud third-generation family business where expertise has been passed down from one generation to the next.
Les Schirato and Roland Schirato
Faber-Castell is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of high quality products for writing, colouring and creative design. A famous name all over the world, Faber-Castell was founded in 1761 by cabinet maker Kaspar Faber who went on to invent the hexagonal pencil and produce standards for pencil size and lead grades that are still the industry standards of today. One of the world’s oldest industrial companies that is still family-owned in its 9th generation, each item produced is the result of centuries of accumulated knowledge.
Count Anton Wolfgang von Faber-Castell
For nearly 100 years, the Fellowes family has brought entrepreneurial leadership to its family business. Founded in 1917 by Harry Fellowes, the privately held, family-owned and operated company is now in its fourth generation. A chance meeting in an elevator between Harry Fellowes and Walter Nickel in 1917 is where the Fellowes story begins. The two gentlemen were small businessmen who worked in the same office building, when Harry learned that Nickel had to sell his business, a start-up company that made inexpensive corrugated boxes used for storing bank records. Before the elevator reached the lobby, Harry Fellowes had purchased the company for $50. Thus, The Bankers Box Company was born. Harry assembled the sturdy file-like boxes on his kitchen table at night and went out to peddle them during the day. On the threshold of their 100th anniversary in 2017, fourth generation leadership blends fresh thinking with experience and wisdom. The company continues to build on its core competencies with ‘bottom up’ continuous improvement initiatives, while developing new capabilities and establishing new markets.