News | 29 November 2023
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Let’s talk shop with Wellington retailers

Iko Iko and Twenty-Seven Names are two of the retail businesses that recently took part in the Wellington City Council pilot programme Let’s Talk Shop, which aims to help businesses become more sustainable.

Group of local business owners smiling together.
Group of Wellington business owners that took part in Let's Talk Shop.

Achieving our emissions reduction target by 2030 requires a united effort from all Wellingtonians - businesses, government agencies, communities, and individual citizens. 

Small to medium enterprises (SME) make up the majority of Wellington’s business landscape, with over 28,000 operating in the region. These businesses are often overwhelmed and under-resourced when it comes to their journey towards sustainability.

Over the course of 12 weeks, 11 SME retailers were supported by Council to help them measure their carbon emissions and understand their environmental footprint better, create action plans to reduce their emissions and waste production, establish a community with other businesses and discuss their climate change issues.

A black and white image of a woman smiling and holding a glass of wine.
Rose from Iko Iko.

One of the businesses that took part was Iko Iko, an iconic store on Cuba Street that opened in the 90s by Thomasin Bollinger, which now has four business partners including daughter Rose.   

Iko Iko set out to fill a gap in the market and sell products that were fun and different, and offer a range of products including gifts at accessible price points. That means Rose and her team are constantly trying to find the balance for unique items that won’t be too costly for their customers, but are environmentally friendly. 

Rose found the course incredibly helpful and enjoyed how it gave her a fresh perspective and elevated her thinking about their sustainable journey. 

“When you’ve been around for a long time like we’ve been, it’s a different sort of challenge. There are a lot of ingrained things, but there is an opportunity to change and look at our environmental impact. 

“We’ve made small changes but the main thing is our thinking – now when we make a new business decision, climate action is part of that thinking process. It’s thinking of how we can adapt with online shopping, or be more mindful about the goods we are choosing. We know we’re only little players in the game, but Let’s Talk Shop has empowered us to feel confident in our decisions and understand what our impact is.  We can do better.”

Two women sitting together at a piano. One is wearing a white shirt and the other is wearing a bright orange blouse.
Anjali (left) and Rachel (right) from Twenty-Seven Names.

Another local business that took part was clothing brand, Twenty-Seven Names. One of the founders, Anjali Burnett, grew up in Wellington and was a fan of thrifting since she was in college. Her and her friend Rachel would walk all the way from Wellington Girls to Hunters and Collectors after school, and always dreamed of working in fashion.   

Both Anjali and Rachel studied for a few years before they started their clothing business on their living room floor. Twenty-Seven Names now has a store in Ghuznee Street and two stores in Auckland, as well as a wholesale business. 

Anjali says she is a proud Wellingtonian, and her favourite part of the course was connecting with other businesses and building a community.

“It was like the coolest opportunity to sit down with a group of peers that you weren't in direct competition with because everyone's doing their own thing and they tell their own story. Sharing information and talking with others about how to make good choices was so cool for us.  

“We looked at our whole business model and how we do things, and it helped us realign our values. We are more carbon-minded and are thinking through all our choices with the environment and people in mind.”

Anjali wants to encourage other small businesses to take part. 

“Although the time commitment can feel daunting, it’s a great time to step back from your business. You can bring yourself into a community of people who are all in the same boat and refresh your purpose and look at your future in a different way. It’s so worth it!” 

Find out more about Te Atakura – First to Zero climate action plan on our website.