A New Zealand businesswoman has raised $1.2M to develop a tech platform which will verify the origins of apparel in the garment industry in an attempt to end modern-day slavery.
The 28-year-old Samantha Jones is the chief executive of Little Yellow Bird, a company she started when she saw a gap in the market for ethically made organic and fair-trade apparel. Little Yellow Bird which until now was one of Jones’s most high profile projects 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.
Origins will utilize NEM blockchain technology to track their products from origin to POS.
“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,”
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 garments supply chain is part of the reason why Little Yellow Bird has been so successful but Jones also recognizes that her business is unique and ultimately wants this to become the norm.
“There are about 16 million people that research indicates are in forced labor-type situations,” said Samantha Jones. Talking about the garment industry she added, “The garment industry, unfortunately, plays a big role in that. People inadvertently purchase products that they have no idea where they've come from and that may have traces of modern-day slavery incorporated into that supply chain.”
Jones is only the second New Zealander and first woman worldwide to have a project funded by the NEM community fund proposal process. The NEM platform is a blockchain solution that aims to simplify the development process with a specific focus on impact projects.
“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.”