First step to end fashion industry slavery

Luke Keioskie
Mon 30 Jul

In a quest to end modern-day slavery, a young businesswoman has raised $1.2 million to develop a ‘world-first' tech platform which will verify the origins of apparel in the garment industry.

At only 28 years of age, Samantha Jones is already an accomplished entrepreneur, with a number of accolades including being named as New Zealand’s Young Innovator of the year in 2017.

Jones’s latest endeavour, Origins, will utilise NEM blockchain technology to track their products from origin to point of sale.

“Just like I did with Little Yellow Bird I’m actually trying to solve a problem I’ve faced firsthand and one that I can see impacts people and businesses across a range of industries,” says Jones.

Little Yellow Bird was dreamed up in 2014 after she left the military and saw a gap in the market for ethically-made organic and fair-trade apparel.
Jones credits her early success partly to her experience and time working as a Supply Chain Manager in the military and her time living in developing countries as a child.

Consumer pressure for increased visibility of a garment’s supply chain is part of the reason why Little Yellow Bird has been so successful but Jones also recognises that her business is unique and ultimately wants this to become the norm.

“As we’ve become a more established business, my focus has definitely shifted to differentiating our brand based on product and helping other businesses to implement the traceability and ethics that are now ingrained in the Little Yellow Bird ethos,” she says.

Lack of visibility within the garment sector is a global issue, with consumers increasingly demanding brands to provide greater transparency. Many brands are unable to track where their garments are made and Jones believes she has a solution that will help other brands solve this issue.

Jones and her team are heading back in India in August to setup phase one of the Origins implementation plan, before Jones heads to Edinburgh to represent New Zealand at the Social Enterprise World Forum as a guest speaker presenting her learnings and impact journey.