About us

 

The Flaxbloom Story

We are passionate about beautiful clothing, natural fibers and working with our communities for fair trade.

It all began with a pre-Covid habit of travelling to Asia several times a year, and a preference for natural fabrics. Travelling in the heat and bustle of Asia, linen clothing was the perfect choice - it's beautifully easy to wear, breathes in the heat and is strong and long lasting. Three years ago (and with no background in fashion, manufacturing or retailing!) I started thinking about the concept of producing a line of garments that defy the notion of fashion, that are timeless, beautifully made, and classic in design to suit women of every size and shape.

"Flaxbloom" was born.

 Once the concept became concrete, I needed a name for my fledgling business. Linen fabric comes from the beautiful cultivated European flax plant. (The flower photo used in some of my marketing is of a field of flax in flower and one day I will see it in person- it is apparently an exceptionally beautiful crop in flower). Combining Flax with Bloom to make the name Flaxbloom seemed so right, as watching my business grow is so similar to a lovingly tended plot of soil.


Our Commitment to Ethical Fashion

While I looked for fabrics to use, I became more and more determined to find manufacturers who I could be confident were running their businesses in an ethical way. Manufacturers who were not just claiming ethical practices but were verifiably following through on their claims. Although there were plenty of manufacturers who wanted to work with me, few allowed me into the workrooms to see production.

The turning point was when after a year, I eventually found the small workshops who welcomed my business and were happy for me to spend time with staff. These small workshops supply the garments you'll find in-store today at Flaxbloom. Our clothes are made in ethically run, small family run workshops in Indonesia that are well-lit and comfortable, and the workshops are happy places where laughter and jokes are the norm, and are well ventilated and well lit. The women get paid above award wages and all their medical care paid for them, their partner and up to 3 children. 

 

About Sue

I’ve always loved natural fabric, particularly fabric that carries a story or someone’s craft. Woven, hand-dyed, or just planned on a kitchen table or in a notebook on the way to work, I love what the fabric carries.

I’ve been a nurse since I left school and it was an extraordinary career choice. I’ve always chosen a path less traveled as far as my clinical practice went, often working with communities that faced poverty, substance abuse, and violence as well as complex health issues. If it hadn’t been for my own health issues, I would still be working in a health role.

When things don't go according to plan,  you get a chance to evaluate what is important in life. The choice I made was to seek more joy and creativity.

On bravery

The writing of Brene Brown has helped me with my direction and drive. Simply put, it’s about being brave. I feel brave every time I place a large clothing order, every time I open the shop door, and every time I make another major decision about the direction the business is going. My bravest goal? To see Flaxbloom as an established brand in New Zealand, with a reputation of excellence of service, quality of product, and of supporting ethical production be it in New Zealand or offshore. Flaxbloom brings such immense joy to me, seeing the brand grow and women loving what they buy. It’s been a challenge as well, learning about the commercial realities of business, running a retail store, negotiating, and working with workshops while facing the challenge of Covid here in New Zealand or in Asia.


Sue Norgate

Creative Director & Owner

 

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