Dear MM family,
I feel like time is moving faster and faster and this year has been no exception. As we welcomed our third Birthday, I wanted to take a moment to check in with you about everything that has been happening in the world of Maggie Marilyn. In some instances it feels like time has flashed by, but in others I marvel at how far MM has come since simply being the big dream of a small town girl. I have learnt so much along our journey so far, and it’s my pleasure to share with you all that has been happening and what we have on our horizon.
Some things never change
- We still make 95% of our collections in New Zealand. The only exception is some of our knitwear which is made in Italy, simply because we don’t have the machinery available in NZ for our finer knits. We are proud to be working with many of the same local makers as in our first season as well as many new factories.
- Our sustainability mission and the change we wish to carve out in the fashion industry and beyond is stronger than ever. Success to me, will always be measured by the positive impact Maggie Marilyn can have on our community, environment and the fashion industry at large.
- We now have 11 full time employees in our MM head office. If you would like to get to know everyone, click here!
- We have a strong focus on expanding our direct to consumer channel. Through working with our wholesale partners, we have learnt how integral it is to have a direct line of communication with our customers, one of the reasons I am writing you this letter! We literally couldn’t do this without you.
- In mid 2018 we started working with a sales agency (The Known Agency) to help support our in-house Sales Manager, George. Their support allows George to share his workload and affords him the time to continue working as a key member of our small sustainability team! We all wear many hats here so external agencies can be a big helping hand.
- We see change. Yes, this is a big one. Three years ago when I attempted to have a conversation about sustainability with buyers, more often than not the response I would get was ‘That’s nice but I just want to see the clothes’ whereas fast forward and today buyers have begun initiating the conversation ‘can you tell me a bit about your sustainable philosophies?’. This makes me so happy, I feel like we are breaking through!
At the end of 2018 we wrote our first Sustainability Strategy with the help of our Sustainability Consultant Nick Morrison from Go Well Consulting. We felt we needed a roadmap to keep us accountable for all we want to achieve. This ambitious strategy will take us through to the end of 2020 at which point we will reflect and rewrite goals for our next chapter.
- Earlier this year we launched our Sustainability microsite on maggiemarilyn.com as a resource, reference and educational tool for all things to do with sustainability under the headings ‘People’, ‘Planet’, ‘Prosperity’ and ‘Progress not Perfection’.
- We have had the incredible privilege of dressing three women, who inspire us all at MM; Michelle Obama, Jacinda Ardern and the Duchess of Sussex.
- We are very proud to this year have been awarded the Eco-Age Brand Mark. It was awarded in recognition of our commitment to minimising environmental impact and maximising positive social impact through our supply chain.
- Over the past three years I have learnt how challenging it is to be at the mercy of a fashion system with such antiquated rules and the critical need for systemic industry change. I feel we are learning when to play by the rules and when to stand our ground and demand a new path.
- I have learnt how important it is to have a purpose. In an industry that is focused on ‘out with the old, in with the new’ and a ‘more is more’ mentality, our purpose is what motivates me every day. Since founding Maggie Marilyn, I feel my vision for the company has shaped from being ‘product with a purpose’ to ‘purpose with a product’. Our purpose has become so much greater than the product. Our product is our means by which to achieve our purpose and I hope it inspires and empowers on its path but my hope it that our purpose will not always be intrinsically connected to clothing.
- I have learnt that each small voice matters. Small voices grow into larger voices and can create change. What greater example of this than the voice of phenomenal Greta Thunberg.
On the horizon
- We are launching something new in December that we are very excited about. This project has been a labour of love over many months and we feel it will be a big step towards creating the circular economy we are striving towards. Keep your eyes peeled!
- At the time of writing this we are moving into a new studio, an exciting step for the business as we will have a showroom space where we can invite our customers in with open arms for the first time. We hope this space will help us in nurturing and inspiring people to make more conscious choices both in the clothing that they buy and how they choose to live their lives. We look forward to hosting many events here and creating more meaningful relationships with our MM community.
- In the new year we will be taking on our first Apprentice as part of our Maggie Marilyn Apprenticeship Programme. We feel starting this programme and investing in the next generation of talented makers is a key step in revitalising the New Zealand manufacturing industry.
- We are in the process of measuring our entire carbon emissions as a business through Enviro-Mark in order to become a certified carbon neutral company. We will first endeavour to reduce our emissions as much as possible before investing in carbon credits to offset what we cannot reduce.
Thank you for being a part of our journey, your support means more than I can say. As always, I am endlessly optimistic for the future and can’t wait to share it with you all.