Ethical Sourcing at The Warehouse with Stacey Morrison


Everyone knows that The Warehouse. The big
red shed has been supplying New Zealanders with affordable everyday
goods for over 35 years, but how are those products created, who designs them,
and where do they come from? I’m here to meet Jade Turner, Creative Director for
Homewares at the Warehouse. Kia ora Jade. So you
design here in New Zealand and then what happens to get those products on our
shelves? So we start off with a big brainstorming session, like the designers
all get together, we work at what is the key colors, the key fabrics, and the
finishes for our summer collection or our winter collection, and then we break
it down from there, and we go, let’s just put all our ideas together, and we wean out the
best ones from that, and then it’s a lot of sketching and refining and cutting up
fabrics and samples and getting color swatches, and we work it and we
work it and work it until we get our final sample of what we think would be
the best one. That gets sent to China and we get a
sample made. Once that gets approved we go into bulk production and then goes
into stores. So that was great from Jade and now we know about the design process,
but how does it get from the design process onto our shelves? Let’s go find
out more. I’m here at The Warehouse Albany to meet Tania Benyon, the CEO of
Sourcing. Tania, the store is looking amazing, it seems like The Warehouse has
really lifted its game in the last 18 months, so what’s changed? About the biggest
thing that’s changed is that we’ve built our own in-house New Zealand design team
so a lot of this product now is designed by Kiwis for Kiwis in our office at
Northcote, and then we’ve also changed, doing more direct sourcing which
means that we are working directly with our factories and we can control the
quality coming out and so that means from the design right through to the
finished product it’s all being done in-house. So what are
the advantages of direct sourcing? Well the real advantage is that it
really just helps us source better products at better prices and get it
here and sourced ethically for our customers in New Zealand.So how do you
make sure that the products are ethically sourced. That’s really
important to us, that all of the people that work for us, whether they’re in New
Zealand or elsewhere in our supply chain have good working conditions, so what
we’ve done is we’ve referenced the UN guiding principles for business and made
sure that we then apply those with all our factory
partners. That means that we’re checking to make sure that the conditions where
the goods are made, you know, really respectful of the workers rights, and
that we make sure that things like their hours of work and and just kind of the
place they work is, you know, really fit for purpose. So Tania I’m a mum and I buy
a $5 t-shirt and I’m thinking how can that be ethically sourced? Well these
t-shirts, for example, they’re made in factories in Bangladesh, which are really
modern big factories, they’ve got great technology and, um, the production of
them is really automated, and so that allows the cost to come down and that’s
how we do it, so you get a New Zealand designed,
ethically made t-shirt for five dollars. It’s a great deal. We try and be really
visible with our ethical sourcing results, so you can see factories and
you know, the results of their audits as well as what our policies are.

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