Arbee was started in 1902 by Mr R.B. Stevens who was a shoemaker and leather merchant located in a shop and factory in Swanston Street, Melbourne. By the 1930s he had expanded to also sell cane supplies and had begun to make the famous Arbee moccasins. These became well known as they had durable cowhide on the outside and a layer of lambswool on the inside. Arbee made the moccasins for many years and the kits were very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1960s Arbee began stocking lampshade frames, weaving cane, mosaic tiles and many other handcraft items after relocating to a large shop at 354 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. They stocked the largest range of craft items in Australia at that time. Arbee expanded to employ 56 people across their ten shops in Melbourne and a store each in Sydney and Hobart. Craft classes were conducted regularly, polystyrene balls were manufactured and a unique range of craft books was written and printed by Arbee in the late 1960s.
During 1974 Mr Stevens decided to concentrate on wholesale activities and closed the Arbee shops. The business was transferred to North Box Hill and became an importer, wholesaler and distributor of craft supplies.
During the 1980s Arbee began to supply Spotlight stores, which at that time had only seven stores (they now have over 100 stores)
In 2005 Arbee transfered to Moorabbin and began selling through the internet.
In 2010 we moved to Mordialloc and in March 2015 we moved to larger premises in Noble Park which is where we are today.
Today Arbee supplies thousands of customers worldwide with more than 2000 different products and continues to introduce new lines regularly.