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December 2019 Issue
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2019 Brand of the Year: Earth Sea Sky

Earth Sea Sky. Outdoor Brand of the Year. From left: Michael Ellis, production manager Libby Flamank, Jane and David Ellis. Photo: Matthew Cattin

Sustainability is front and centre at Earth Sea Sky HQ in Addington, Christchurch.

Fabric scraps on the workshop floor are collected for re-use, shipping bags are biodegradable, and a bucket on the kitchen counter is constantly filling with compost.

It’s a point of pride for the Kiwi-owned business, as is winning Brand of the Year for the second year running.

“We’re not the biggest business on the block, but we’ve got the passion and we love what we do,” operations manager Jane Ellis says.

“[Winning the award] feels like someone has just said ‘hey, you’re doing a good job’, and like anybody, we will respond to that. It’s really motivating.”

The business is a family affair – Jane’s husband David is founder and ‘head honcho’, and their son Michael is a jack of all trades around the office.

Jane says the family tries not to take work home (and vice versa), but the family-feel runs deep in the business.

The small scale of operations means everything from designing patterns to snipping loose ends on a finished garment can be done in house.

This allows customers a level of customisation in their purchases – an extension of the sleeves for a long-armed tramper, or a printed logo, for example.

It also allows the company to keep a close eye on sustainability.

“We invest a huge amount of time in making sure we have the best possible fabrics and components that are going to work and last, not just throwaway,” Jane says.

Jane believes personal touches, and the ability to produce gear that’s designed, made, and tested in New Zealand gives the company an edge.

“People are becoming more aware of buying local and what that means – it’s good quality, and it also means supporting local people,” she says.

“One thing we are really proud to be doing is creating jobs for New Zealanders.”

Runner up: Macpac

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