Tell us about why Kilt initiated the NZ Made Challenge.
New Zealand made is really important to us and being a New Zealand made fashion company, we wanted to highlight all of the great businesses that have kept their industry here in New Zealand too!
In 2012 we decided to create NZ Made March as a fun and exciting opportunity to raise awareness throughout our company and with our customers to only purchase NZ made products, where possible, during the month of March.
By choosing to support Kiwi companies we are keeping the skills and jobs within our country. It is important to us that we do not lose industry in NZ. We believe that the more people making their products here the better for everyone. More jobs and skills stay in NZ.
Can you list the brands involved?
We had a great range of brands on board this year from some smaller crafty New Zealand businesses to some bigger well-known brands. The list is as follows:
Barkers, Earthwise, Craft Me Up, Tui Balms, Pure Delish, Tailor Skincare, Cosy Toes, Growing Things, Pets Love, The Art Room, Kumara Fusion, RJ’s Licorice, Plantae, Toodles Noodles, Sigrid’s, Anathoth, Artemis, Shh by Sadie, Spy Valley Wines, Creative Aertz, The Herb Farm, Classic Sheepskins, Crab Farm Winery, Florian Rhodes, Tui Garden Products, Notre Vie, Sanitarium, Antipodes, Mini Merino, Leonardo Skincare, Totally Devoted, Libertine Blends, Natty, Fix & Fogg, Sweet Cheeks Merino, Kaye Bustin Studios, Thunderpants, Chia, JHD, Zeelandt Brewery, Deesees creations, Re-Form, Zee Zee Merino, Smash Palace, Columbine, Rustic Printz and Crossroads Winery.
How did you make contact with them? Was it easy to explain what you wanted to do?
Contact was made via email sent directly to businesses that we had researched were NZ made. It is a fairly easy concept to explain and as we are now in the fifth year we had some great contacts already. We also had some companies contact us once the campaign had started that were keen to get involved.
What was it like, working alongside them on this campaign?
It was great – there is a definite vibe of believing in something that we feel is important (being NZ made). All the businesses involved were really easy to work with and it was a lot of fun getting to work with them.
Was everybody’s agenda naturally aligned or was there a bit of work to do?
Our natural alignment is being NZ made so it was all pretty easy!
Do you see the NZ Made Challenge as social activism?
That sounds pretty hard out! But yes in a way it is – we see it more as an awareness campaign. Getting people to stop and pay attention to where their products are made. The simple action of looking for where something is made and then making a habit of this. Most of the time it is an easy change as there are alternatives that are NZ made.
Do you believe retailers have a responsibility towards their communities?
Definitely. Not just retailers but every business has a responsibility toward the community. At Kilt we pride ourselves on creating a community of Kilties and we are always wanting to hear feedback and check in to ensure that what we are offering is what they require. We recently held a sense check survey earlier this year and found that for 96 percent NZ made matters to them. We also get involved in our local communities around each of our 11 boutiques.
Is that an old-fashioned idea or does it sound progressive to you?
It feels like an old-fashioned notion but that return to responsibility I believe is progressive. As businesses, we are all responsible to the community. Looking at how we can benefit our communities is progressive.
Will there be a follow-up?
There sure will be! Next March will be bigger and better than ever.