Meet the Jean makers wife: Mrs Lam


How did you find yourself to be in the Denim Industry?

I was a seamstress back in Vietnam, when we immigrated to Australia naturally I joined the Melbourne Garment Industry. In the early years arriving in Melbourne Vinh and I were contracted to other manufacturers mostly machining heavy duty workwear garments. Vinh then started his own factory and we progressed to Denim producing jeans.


You have an incredibly strong work ethic, who was it that instilled this in you?

I believe it was my parents, at an early age they taught me to work hard. Any new skill I learnt to always practice until I perfected it. They also led by example I witnessed how hard they worked in our family furniture business. The entire family worked along side each other, my siblings and I striving to make our parents proud of our work.


How did you learn to sew?

In Vietnam my neighbour taught me I was in early adulthood, she also trained me to cut and tailor. Once I had perfected those skills I began receiving small batches of Mens suit pants, I built up a reputation word spread and had a lot of clients.


What is the hardest part about your job? What is it that challengers you the most?

The hardest part is the thickness of the denim when making jackets especially welt pockets they have lots of layers! it is tough on my hands to feed through the machines. Also challenging is front zips making sure they sit perfectly, I constantly have to check over my work and find the best way then I instruct the production team.


What is the most rewarding part about your job?

When I see our customers face light up they look at the quality of our products I know they’re thrilled with my hard work. The best part is also working along side my family it is a happy environment.


What do you consider yourself an expert at in the jean making process?

Although I am skilled in the entire jean making process I am an expert in feld seams, waistbands, belt loops, key buttonholes and machining the metal trims buttons & rivets. We work with vintage machines they need TLC you have to be patient with them. I also take pride in good quality control.


How do you manage balance in life with raising a family and running a factory?

It’s hard sometimes especially when my children were very young, you have to wear every hat a mum, manager and wife. I don’t really have a social life out side of my family I’m totally dedicated to them and running the factory. When I have the chance to take a break I really relax so that creates a balance for me.

There is a lot of laughter in the factory, I hear you are the instigator of a lot of the joking, how important to you is it to have a happy team?

I do crack lots of jokes, they keep me young! My rules are simple… while working we concentrate to ensure our work in perfected, when the bell rings for breaks it’s time for socialising, giggling is good for morale. No one wants to go to work and be given a hard time all the time, laughter keeps things light and fun. What is your favourite Denimsmith style and why? Alana crop - Because I look good in it.


Your energy is un-stoppable, do you see yourself as a grandmother still at the factory, taking care of everyone?

If my health remains good then yes you will find me in the factory taking care of everyone, but if not you will probably find me at home tending to my garden. Eventually you have to stop and start looking after yourself.


What do you enjoy doing in your down time when you are not at the factory?

In my spare time I like to cook and clean for my family, but I prefer to be outside finding bargains at flea markets or camping and fishing taking in the nice weather and fresh country air.