Features, Safety

Quality without compromise

JB’s wear has been proudly Australian-owned and run for 30 years, and the workwear company is now looking to expand across the Pacific.

When people think of personal protective equipment (PPE) on a mine site, they might conjure up images of bright yellow jackets, hard hats and bulky glasses.

But there’s one company that knows how much more goes into this crucial part of safety in the resource industry: JB’s wear.

From humble beginnings at entertainment and sporting events, JB’s wear has grown into a nationally recognised brand across Australia, renowned for its high-quality workwear and footwear.

This recognition has spanned more than just decades. JB’s wear is now a globally celebrated company, renowned for its ability to quickly get stock where it needs to be – including in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

JB’s wear general manager Gary Malcolm has been liaising with JB’s PNG resellers for over 30 years. He described the relationships he has formed as career highlights.

“We have people who have worked here at JB’s wear for over 20 years, and they stay that long because they like the people they work with,” he told PNG Mining. “And that’s both the people inside our buildings and the customers that we work with around the country and in PNG.”

Gary Malcolm, JB’s wear general manager.
Image: Prime Creative Media

JB’s wear director Andrew Smith told PNG Mining about the company’s beginnings with his dad in the early 1990s.

“My old man ordered 6000 polo shirts for the first run,” Smith said. “He went and visited the factory and, when he got back, he was so nervous that he cut the order down to 3000.

“All 3000 shirts sold before they arrived, and we still work with that same factory.”

This anecdote would go on to be a running theme for JB’s wear, a company that prides itself on long term relationships.

“We know what our customers want because we have active relationships with them,” Smith said. “Our money goes back into making and carrying the stock that our customers need.”

And while PPE is undoubtedly a vital aspect of on-site safety, there are many aspects of a mining operation that don’t require the high-vis typically worn by people at the proverbial coalface. Luckily, JB’s wear has a solution for that, too.

“Mines employ support staff, corporate staff, chefs, admin … the list goes on,” Malcolm said.

“And we know that it can be challenging to get uniforms from 10 or 20 different suppliers to PNG. That’s why we do it all – we’re a one-stop shop.

“We have the high-vis and boots for those on the ground, but we also have the trousers and shirts for those in the office, and the hats and aprons for the chefs at the camps.”

Smith is particularly proud of the company’s ability to remain consistent and capable throughout its history.

“Even after all that time, we’re still privately-owned and family-operated and we have a long-term commitment to the industry,” he said.

“When you buy a uniform from JB’s wear, you know it will be in stock and will remain in stock year after year.”

Malcolm said JB’s wear is looking forward to exhibiting its offerings at the PNG Industrial and Mining Resources Exhibition and Conference in Port Moresby on July 3–4.

“We really want to emphasise that we are a one-stop shop, because we know it can be hard to get everything a mine needs across the ocean,” he said.

“If you want footwear, we have it. If you want safety gloves or eyewear or respiratory equipment, we have that, too.

“We can support the PNG mining industry the best way we know how: by providing capable, honest and enthusiastic service.” 

This feature appeared in the June–July 2024 issue of PNG Mining.

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