Close
 

Ethical clothing entrepreneur talks best practice and fast fashion brands’ ‘thinly veiled guises’ to be sustainable

  • News
  • May 25, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Ethical clothing entrepreneur talks best practice and fast fashion brands’ ‘thinly veiled guises’ to be sustainable

Little Yellow Bird was founded by Jones and Hannah Duder in July 2015 and creates corporate clothing for local businesses as a way to help overseas workers with employment opportunities.

Jones says the idea was sparked from living in and traveling through developing or third-world countries, as she realised how many opportunities Kiwis have in comparison.

“I had been traveling through India and met a girl that couldn’t afford to stay in school and understood a really small amount of money from my perspective could change her life, so it inspired me to start a social enterprise,” she says.

Though Jones and Duder decided to delve into the clothing industry, Jones says their passion wasn’t in the fashion aspect of it. Rather, it was a way to support communities in an industry that is plagued by unfair working conditions.

“We saw it as a way to change the way business is done,” she says.



Samantha Jones (left) and Hannah Duder

The pair got to work establishing an ethical supply chain, which Jones says took months of research and on-the-ground visits to suppliers and factories.

The result is Little Yellow Bird now has vetted manufacturers on board, with all of the uniforms it makes and the material they’re made from sourced from India.

All of its workers enjoy safe working conditions, fair wages and access to affordable education and healthcare.  

The company’s name was inspired by the use of yellow canaries in the mining industry as a warning to miners about the presence of methane gas.

To Jones and Duder, it symbolises freedom and hope – what its business provides for the workers making its products. 

Since it was founded, Little Yellow Bird has picked up a slew of awards and support along the way.

These include a $2000 University of Canterbury Entré Sustainability and Social Enterprise award, a 13-week Lightning Lab XX mentoring programme and $20,000 in seed funding, and most recently, a $10,000 business mentoring package through Quest Apartment Hotels’ #MyBizQuest competition.

Little Yellow Bird will spend the next year working with Quest to grow the business, as well as educating consumers on ethical clothing manufacturing.

Jones says the consumer base that cares about these issues is growing in size, but more education is needed.

In particular, she says consumers need to be aware of what it means for a brand to properly monitor their supply chains.

“There’s a lot of brands that position themselves as being ethical but are only being conscious of that in their manufacturing sector. A lot of issues happen further along the supply chain,” Jones says.

One of these brands she’s critical of is fast-fashion retailer H&M, which ran a sustainable campaign offering to recycle unwanted garments in exchange for discounts and gift cards.

Unlike those who’ve commended H&M on the move, Jones said on Little Yellow Bird’s blog it was a “thinly veiled guise of sustainability that simply fuels increased consumption and appeals to consumer guilt.”

“The reality is that fast fashion will never truly be sustainable, because the business model is inherently unsustainable,” she wrote.

Speaking to The Register, Jones says retailers like H&M are making changes to be more ethical because they know it’s good for business now that consumers are demanding it.

“Lets be honest here, they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their heart,” She says.

“They do it because it’s good for their business and it’s addressing the issue at a surface level."

She says problems can arise when fast fashion retailers try become more sustainable.

“With the H&M campaign specifically, they were trying to give credits or vouchers to support their sustainable campaign, so if people bought in clothes to recycle they could buy more. Buying more stuff is the problem, we should be buying quality products that don’t need to be thrown out.”

In reality, she says becoming a fully functioning ethical business is a very complicated process because there’s so many elements.

“Where are their fabrics dyed or made? How is their cotton picked? There’s so many other aspects to it. They don’t really go into much detail around that side of it.”

Little Yellow Bird takes a ‘life’ approach to their manufacturing, she says, which starts from how the cotton seed is planted through to the other end of how textile waste is managed.

So far it has worked on uniforms for SAFE, WooHoo NZ Tax Refunds, the Bacon Brothers and has just secured its biggest contract yet with a nationwide company.

Jones can’t disclose which company it is yet, but says it will keep them busy for six months.

As for the year ahead, she says Little Yellow Bird will focus on increasing its profile in the New Zealand market, as well as continuing to educate the public by hosting documentaries and talking about issues within the fashion industry.

Find out more about Little Yellow Bird on its website here.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

Read more
 
 

Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register
Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

NZ Retail and The Register’s sales and marketing breakfast saw dozens of Kiwi retailers come together to network, sharing tips and tricks and absorbing expert advice.

Read more
 
 

Who stole Christmas?

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly Withers
Who stole Christmas?

Results are starting to trickle in from Christmas 2018/2019, and for many retailers, they're a little disappointing. Paydar chief executive and co-founder Kelly Withers explores the data.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

A group of visiting Chinese businesspeople have raised $2.35 million for victims of the Christchurch mass shooting.

Read more
 
 
News

The Retail NZ Awards: What does it take to be a winning retailer?

Take this time to shine with the upcoming Retail NZ awards, a chance to show the retail industry what makes your business stand out. No ...

 

Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

  • News
  • March 20, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

In the wake of the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community on March 15, strong calls for changes to New Zealand’s gun last have been made. Trade Me was the first retailer to act, halting the sale of all semi-automatic weapons on its platform, and it has now been joined by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}