making movement

“If you are building a business because you are seeing it everywhere in society, then you are already too late. I use the analogy of when you’re trying to catch that wave, if your hearing about it then the wave is already broken and the surfers are off into the sunset. Figure out what wave is building in the distance, but you also don’t want to be too early because you will freeze to death before the sun comes up and the wave even gets to you”. 

Michael Acton Smith

So here we are, now fourteen months into the Ripple journey, confident in what is coming over that horizon, trying to keep afloat and not freeze until that wave of change rears its head.

I love Ripple and what it stands for. Our mission has organically connected me with some very special people – parents, teachers, community organisations, employees and executives who genuinely want to make a positive difference. The most exciting thing for me is that there is so much opportunity and scope to do good things socially and environmentally, but it comes with its challenges.

There are days when I wonder what I am doing with my life. Setting up a new business is challenging, a social enterprise (I believe) even more so, a circular social enterprise (ahem say no more) especially in the current economic environment and we are asking people to change their behaviour. There are no guarantees, but as I keep getting reminded, sometimes the hard things are the most worthwhile and if not now, when. I am also encouraged by the difference one person can make and I know this from tracking individual impact – the results are both surprising and exciting. Beyond the numbers there is also the unquantifiable impact – a child no longer being embarrassed by wearing clothes they have clearly outgrown or the relief of their parent/ guardian being able to give their child what they need. 

In the last newsletter, I mentioned that my main focus was finding a new space. I am excited to announce that I write this update from our new Ripple HQ. This new space is a game changer for Ripple, it allows us to take more clothing than before, giving us the capacity to run multiple drives simultaneously. In addition to that, we get to work closely our partners and now neighbours ImpacTex Textile Recycling.

As mentioned previously, I was only going to start Ripple if I had avenues in place to deal with the inevitable waste. That stance brought me in contact with Jeff and Carol at ImpacTex, whose support and friendship has been so appreciated over the past year. It is inspiring to witness the scale of their impact and see their courage and commitment to changing the way New Zealand sees and deals with textile waste. Friends and collaboration are important in this challenging space and I am grateful to be surrounded with good people in this exciting new hub.

So looking ahead what’s the next big hurdle? My focus now is on securing sponsorship to see us through our next phase of growth – investing in avenues we need to help us secure the holy grail of sustainable financial independence in the long term. Plus the fun stuff – more changing things up, more circularity, more impact…and of course more box forts.

Speaking of impact, here is an update on our collective impact:

💦 Provided 181 children Gear Boxes, ensuring they have clothing for an entire year while saving their families between $200-$400 per child.

💦 Sorted and processed 14,336 items

💦 Reused 9,902 items in our Gear Boxes

💦 Repaired or repurposed 329 items

💦 Recycled 4105 items

💦 Prevented 800kg of Greenhouse Gases from entering the atmosphere.

In addition to this Ripple has

💦 Provided 120 swimming togs/rash shirts to students going without.

💦 Started supplying shoes directly, now at over 150 pairs distributed.

💦 And provided a range of items to various groups for reuse or repurposing including local Play Centres, Lazy Sneakers and The ReCreators.

It is a good start.

I would like to give a big shout out to NZ Post for hosting a super successful Gear Drive, collecting 182 kg of clothing from their Mail and Operation Centres in Auckland. Plus the incredible ongoing support from Downer Group team who have currently collected over 1512 items. And to the awesome parents across NZ who have passed on their items through our collections bags. Thank you for being the first to sit out on the ocean with us.

I would like to cap this off by stating that we are seeking support – businesses and retailers to host a one off or ongoing Gear Drive collections and/or sponsorship opportunities. If Ripple resonates with you please reach out to me at .

We would love to have you onboard riding this exciting journey and making the most of this moment – a huge early opportunity for doing and embedding future social and environmental good together.

Michelle, Ripple 💕

Photo by Gian Luca Pilia on Unsplash

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