Oamaru couple Caleb and Anna Morris believe ethical business is the way to go.
About six months ago, they established Tummah Ethical Trade, an online business that sells women’s and men’s clothing, scarves, jandals and sports balls that are fair trade and organic certified.
The business was established to make certified clothing more affordable and accessible to New Zealanders, while at the same time help grow the industry and support the producers and workers who manufacture the products.
Mr Morris said the company’s products were sourced from suppliers in Australia and India, and products from further afield would possibly be added to its list.
“Almost all the clothes are made in India – that’s where most of the fair trade factories are. We are looking into a couple of brands from America as well, including a couple of clothing brands.
“We are quite picky with the brands we stock. They have to be organically and ethically certified. The people that make them are getting paid what they should be for the work they’re doing, instead of being exploited.”
He said Tummah – Hebrew for “integrity” – had grown steadily in recent times.
“It’s going well. We’ve been going for six months at the moment and the sales are getting more consistent, and we’re getting more of a following as well. The name is definitely getting out there.”
Mrs and Mr Morris have been in Oamaru for about nine months.
They were drawn to the town because of its size and central location, which Mr Morris felt was perfect for an online business.
“We wanted to be in the South Island and we liked the size of the town. We’d been here a couple of times and it seemed to suit us well.”
He believed Oamaru had the potential to be home to other, similar, businesses.
“For online businesses, I don’t see why not. It’s on State Highway 1, so for us, we can offer our customers overnight delivery for next to nothing.
“If we wanted to expand into a warehouse or something like that, it would be a lot more affordable than other places in New Zealand too.”
The couple are keen to expand their operation so it can have a physical presence.
However, the aim for now is to get the online business well established.
“If we were looking at retail space, there is a little bit of the boutique element to Oamaru as well and it’s a town that seems to be growing more than a lot of other places in New Zealand at the moment.
“It’s going to be a long way down the track. I enjoy the retail and customer service side of it, and being able to talk directly to people face-to-face about ethical products would be really good.”