It's hard to condense how 30 years of unique experiences has shaped this dream before me, but here is a little bit about how Little Giants came to be...
I spent a 90's rural childhood in an off-grid, hundred-acre paradise where New Zealand's nature was all I could see. Years later I landed a dream job on a Marine Research Safari vessel in the Hauraki Gulf: here I lived with whales, dolphins and the ocean every day, greedily sucking up knowledge and information about this fragile world and endless magic moments (including falling head over heels for my future husband).
Increasingly dismayed by local plastic pollution and consumerism, I celebrated a special birthday with my Mum in Bali, Indonesia where seas and shores of ocean plastics en masse became a sight I could not un-see. Rob and I relocated from Downtown Auckland to a small-holding in the Bay of Islands we are proudly and gratefully working to call our own. 5 years living on the land has cemented our appreciation for the simple things and to strive for self-sustainability.
An idea developed from necessity: my own frustrations and fruitless searching for quality, affordable reusables and zero-waste products that aligned with my values available in New Zealand. I didn't want to just keep going on as normal - cursing the supermarket for having so much plastic on it's shelves, or getting depressed over how much litter there always is on our roadsides and environments. This, coupled with mounting evidence of the world's waste crisis and a desire to just 'Do Something' for good in my own back yard, led me to open the shop. I knew that if I was having these problems with waste, surely other locals were too.
I started with a tiny set of plywood shelves and a handful of handmade products at Yoga Studio39.
As always it takes a village: At the 2018 Conservation Festival in Paihia I met Craig and Brad from Kaipatiki Eco Hive, and with their encouragement I jumped at the chance to expand and 'moved in' to their amazing shop space mid 2019. With the generous support from friends and family including financing from my very first customers (I'm looking at you, Mum!), dreams and creativity from Miss Daisy Jane, inspiration and guidance from my much admired friend Jane aka Zero Waste Granny, and as always, I couldn't have gone anywhere without the unconditional love, energy and grounding from Mr Boss.
In 2022 I will be celebrating 4 years in business. We've been dealing with the impacts of Covid-19, desperation for the climate crisis and the new world era this represents, and yet I've never felt more connected to community and inspired by other passionate people that I look up to and surround myself with and call my friends. If you are looking for a tribe of like-minded humans let me know - I love connecting locals together! (Check out our community page over at the Ocean Mind Project)
It is with this energy and this Kaupapa that I also thank you for being here with us today, in the knowledge that together our small steps will make a big impact.
That together perhaps, we can even change the world.