Little Yellow Bird ethically and sustainably makes 100% organic cotton uniforms, corporate wear and basics. They are dedicated to making clothes that are good for people and good for the planet.
At Little Yellow Bird, they believe in creating a world where all textiles are ethically produced and sustainably sourced. They maintain that business can and should be used as a force for good, both in our own communities and worldwide. With this in mind, uniforms, corporate wear and apparel basics are created sustainably and ethically, keeping the planet and its inhabitants at the forefront of their business.
Several years ago, Little Yellow Bird noticed that while high fashion had sustainable options for consumers, nowhere could they find a place to buy sustainable and ethically made uniforms, corporate wear or workwear. Founder Samantha Jones believed it was incredibly unfortunate that businesses could not buy sustainably made workwear or uniforms for their employees, no matter how much they might want to. So she decided it was time for a change! Since they first started, they have tackled the uniforms, workwear and basics apparel industry head-on, bringing sustainability and ethical working conditions with them.
What problem are they trying to solve?
The garment industry causes significant social and environmental problems, many of which are easily solvable. Little Yellow Bird knows each stage in the production process, from cotton seed through to shirt, and ensures that everyone along this chain is paid and treated fairly. They address many of the issues caused by non-ethical manufacturing processes in developing nations, particularly in India. All factories used by Little Yellow Bird follow Fair-trade guidelines, and supply chains are monitored from farm to factory.
The cotton industry is fraught with the use of harsh treatment chemicals which are damaging to the workers, wearers and environment. Little Yellow Bird’s organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Their factories use zero-waste initiates, including solar panels and rooftop gardens, and continuously work to minimise waste when addressing the issue of environmental sustainability.
What impact is Little Yellow Bird making?
In their 2017-2018 Impact Report, Little Yellow Bird says they have educated approximately 10,000 people in the ways of sustainable and ethical fashion. They are selling their products in four different countries.
Little Yellow Bird has generated 20,000 hours of fairtrade labour. They purchase their cotton from two cooperatives in East India, supporting 40,000 small-scale farmers who have all transitioned to fairtrade and organic cotton over the last 20 years. They grow their cotton with rainwater, and when compared to conventional cotton growing they have saved 12,200,000 litres of water. After they have finished dying their fabric, they use a water treatment plant. This returns 95% of the water used back to drinking quality and turns the remaining 5% into materials used for bricks and roading. Little Yellow Bird has also prevented 12,200 kilograms of chemicals from being used in the production lines they have established.
Little Yellow Bird regularly visits every stage of the supply chain, to ensure employees working conditions meet high ethical standards from cotton farm to factory floor. Workers receive fair wages and benefits including social security, medical insurance, contributions to house rent and transportation subsidies.
Little Yellow Bird also provides educational scholarships and micro-loans to people in the communities where products are made.
What is Little Yellow Bird’s business model?
Little Yellow Bird’s business model is similar to an average clothing company, with some big ethical differences! Little Yellow Bird generates income by selling their uniforms and workwear to organisations and selling basics to customers online. They ensure that their production line is environmentally and socially responsible, and divert all profit into impact projects (such as educational scholarships and micro-loans) or growing the business further, to continue scaling their impact.
Where to from here?
Little Yellow Bird has come a long way in three short years, but they are not finished yet! Little Yellow Bird wants to be a leader in sustainable and ethical manufacturing. They have a number of projects and initiatives in the works and are excited to see what the year will bring. Some of these projects include:
Measuring the exact environmental impact of each product they produce
Finishing the female bathroom facility at the school in their farming community
Conducting an interview project to get a better understanding of what their workers most need and how they can best support them
Full pricing transparency at each stage of production
Sourcing and supplying organic fabrics and bespoke garments to brands across New Zealand and around the world.
Little Yellow Bird
Date of Creation
Number of Employees
Limited Liability Company
Protecting the environment
Creating employment opportunities
People in developing countries