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“When we partner with other brands, and as a buyer we always ask two key questions: What are they doing for the planet? And how do they treat their staff?” Says Hamish Thomas owner and operator at Thomas’s Marlborough.
“That’s why we’ve been really careful with what we’re choosing when we talk to our suppliers.” Says Tim Thomas (Hamish’s brother and also owner /operator). “We ask specific questions like” ‘Where are your factories? How have the workers been looked after? What’s your carbon footprint?’ That’s important to us, we treat our own people – our team - with respect, and so should the companies we want to work with. You want to make sure that the company’s people are treated fairly and that their practices are sustainable.”
At Thomas’s our personal values should be reflected in the day-to-day operations of the store, and that’s why many of the brands we stock now are carefully vetted by us personally to ensure that these companies are being friendly to their staff and to their environment.
But what you may not know is that many of our ideas and initiatives for ethical practices and sustainability at the store are motivated by the values of the people who work here. Our team! They put up their hands and opted for a paperless office, a systemized recycling system for our cardboard and packaging, and chose to align themselves and our store level service with brands that seek a better future for our people and planet. Those are their ideas. And they are more than happy to tell you stories about the brands we love the most.
For every product we sell, there should always be a story behind what that brand is doing to make the world a better place to live.
So much about who Thomas’s are and what we do is connected to the place we live and the people who are a part of our community. That sense of connection extends beyond our store, our region, our smaller communities and into the world at large.
We recognise that fashion is a global industry, and with that enormous reach and influence comes greater responsibility, even for small New Zealand businesses like us:
“Personally, I cannot expect our customers to believe in the brands we stock if I don’t believe in them myself.” Says Hamish. “That’s key to the direction we want to take the business – and we have to look in the mirror and ask ourselves: what are our values? Are we doing enough to change things for the better.”