Tika: the real thing
Born of an auspicious meeting between a
Kiwi and an American, tika
stays true to their mission of doing the right thing. The merino apparel
maker is Lucire’s pick of environmentally friendly labels for
this issue by Seka Ojdrović
From issue 27 of
A SUPERIOR PRODUCT, timeless style,
and a solid commitment to the earth. Merino apparel manufacturers
tika had the recipe for success to turn a concept into an internationally
Husband-and-wife team Matthew and Barbara Anderson
met in Santa Monica, California. After the stress of dividing their
time between two American coasts to fulfil their corporate responsibilities,
they knew they wanted more. The couple began thinking seriously
about trading in the daily grind to create a fashion line with a
‘My husband Matthew introduced me to New Zealand
merino on a winter visit to Alexandra in July 2005 and I fell in
love with the fabric. I knew that merino would work well in the
United States market and we set out to design a line of merino apparel
that would suit the casual lifestyle of the [US]
west coast,’ says Barbara. ‘We made the decision quite quickly and
have never looked back.’
By September, they had quit their jobs and sold
their house to start anew in New Zealand.
tika was launched in April 2006, with Barbara
as managing director and Matthew as creative director. The company’s
name, pronounced teeka, is Maori; meaning ‘correct, true,
ethical, right’. ‘It is a strong and positive word, and reflected
our belief in creating a company that did things the right way,’
The tika team knew that their consumers were more
attuned to a business’s ethics than they used to be. That’s why
it was so important to them that they run a consistently sustainable
business right through the production line. That, and knowing it
was just the right thing to do.
They lead the way in environmentally-friendly
business practice every day—sourcing from local suppliers, reducing
carbon emissions in company travel, pairing up with like-minded
models, photographers, and stylists—but still they wanted more.
That’s why they partnered with Zque
to check the sustainable practices of the farms producing their
fibre. Zque audits the total gamut of farm management—from animal
welfare to environmental impact.
‘We wanted to approach the market with something
that had teeth,’ says Barbara. ‘Zque’s independent audits give us
the added assurance that our fibre and fabric are made with respect
for people and the planet.’
But what’s a fashion line, even an environmentally
friendly one, without the fashion?
The tika collection includes 22 styles for men
and women, with everything from skirts and dresses, to cardigans,
polo shirts and boxer shorts. tika’s aim is to design slow fashion
clothes: fashion that will last because of its timeless elegance.
‘Buyers recognize the high-quality fabric and love the colours and
fit’, says Barbara.
They took their line of merino apparel to the
magic trade show in Las Vegas in 2007 to see if they’d hit the mark.
Magic is the leading trade event in international fashion for small
retailers to meet with worldwide buyers.
Given Barbara’s background (she holds an MBA
in marketing and has 15 years’ experience in international business),
it was little surprise that tika had a global perspective from day
one. International sales going strong, and a partnership with a
distributorship in Korea, gives the impression that they know when
they’re on to something.
The line sells in the US
and in Korea, while the website (www.tikamerino.com)
sells to all other countries. In May 2009, tika opened its first
retail store in Alexandra to showcase its full line while growing
its home sales.
From the seed of an idea amongst mundane corporate
static to a thriving entrepreneurship with international stakes.
It just goes to show: doing the right thing can go very, very well.
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