Yet more tailors’ buttons
W. Lowe & Co., Sydney
William Lowe came to Australia around 1889. He started in 1899 as a hat and mercery importer and manufacturer in Oxford Street, with just two employees. Prior to this he had worked at Gowing Bros., and Mark Foy’s.
They soon expanded next door. Another sign of success was the registering of a trademark, and expansion into outfitting.
They continued to expand, purchasing a four storey building in George Street in 1903, then extended to next door in 1904. That year they opened a footwear department and started mail order.
For the first anniversary of the George St store, every 25th customer received his or her money back! By 1905 over 300 people were employed by the firm. In 1906 the Oxford Street branch became exclusively for ladies apparel, and the George Street store for boys and menswear. By 1907 they no longer traded in ladies wear, “owing to the great growth of their tailoring, hat, and ready-to-wear clothing for men and boys. The George St building had a four storey expansion started in 1910. In 1911 the business was registered as a company, Lowe’s Ltd. The business extended to Newcastle in 1916.
‘Bill’ Lowe died of pneumonia in August 1936, aged 61 years. The business then comprised eleven stores and employed more than one thousand people. He was a well liked boss who had promoted better wages for retail staff.