Tony Mortel of Mortel's Sheepskin Factory is the new face of Australia Post

ALL IN THE DELIVERY: Tony Mortel is the new poster boy for Australia Post in its latest TV ad campaign. PICTURE: Simone De Peak.
ALL IN THE DELIVERY: Tony Mortel is the new poster boy for Australia Post in its latest TV ad campaign. PICTURE: Simone De Peak.

If there are any good news stories to come out of COVID, Mortel's Sheepskin Factory at Thornton is front and centre.

In fact the business, and co-owner Tony Mortel, have shot to national stardom in the latest Australia Post MyPost Business Campaign, after the mail giant heard how Mortel's sales had almost doubled during the pandemic.

The new national pin-up boy, Tony, features in an ad campaign spruiking Australia Post's business service which he said streamlined postage and his company's fulfilment processes. Mortel's were nominated to head the campaign by Beresfield Post Office staff.

Our online sales exploded - from around five per cent of our business to over 30 per cent

Tony Mortel

Tony explained that Australia Post feature a business each year in its advertising, however as part of the selection they must meet a certain criteria. "This year the criteria was to display an increase in personal revenue for postal services and we increased by about four times," Tony said. "We also had to be a business iconic to Australia and the UGG Boot manufacturing fitted right in," he said.

"We had a lot more orders through COVID. People didn't want to go out to shop so they did it online. From the beginning of lockdown - March through to April 2020 we thought we would be wiped out then came Winter and we were run off our feet - couldn't keep up with the demand," Tony said.

Unfortunately at the start of the pandemic some of Mortel's workers were stood down. "But within a fortnight everyone was back and working longer hours. Foot traffic substantially increased, even during lockdown as we never closed our two stores. And our online sales exploded - from around five per cent of our business to over 30 per cent," Tony said. "During our peak period, we were sending 150 orders a day. MyPost Business helped us get those out the door quicker."

Filming for the television commercial was carried out in March at Mortel's Thornton factory. "They brought two trucks full of equipment and 25 production crew including make-up, hair, photography and videography - it was like a Hollywood movie set," Tony said. "It was a long process from 7am to 6pm over about 15 takes."

Mortels Sheepskin Factory is now into its seventh decade of manufacturing the iconic Australian ugg boot - along with a wide range of sheepskin products. It's still very much a family affair, with all-hands-on-deck during its busiest year in 2020 - when 45,000 pairs of ugg boots walked out the door.

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This story National TV gig for Tony first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.