Dane from Goodlids

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what Goodlids is all about 

Yeah so, I am...what am I? I would call myself a failed sportsman/marketing up-and-comer, a lifelong student of marketing, and yeah just I suppose, wanting to make my mark and leave the world in a better place than I found it. Goodlids is kind of a genesis of that last little bit which is, I wanted to do something that was better, I wanted to action some sort of sustainable product and my journey took me through to discovering hemp and learning a lot about the sustainable properties of hemp, and I was just kind of amazed as to why hemp isn’t in all clothing materials- and not only clothing, but it extends to beyond that - paper, concrete, food... basically, anything that can be made from plastic, can be made from hemp. So, yeah it knows no boundaries in a way. And I suppose my little niche is hats. 

And, what made you come up with the ideas of hats? Was it that you saw there was a gap in the market for that? Or something you were really interested in or just stumbled across? 

I just really liked hats and I’ve always worn hats and it’s kinda been a running joke with my mates. We were constantly wearing hats all throughout uni and that sort of stuff and then I was just like, I wonder how I can do that better. I remember it was just 

literally a case of googling ‘sustainable hats’ or you know, ‘eco-friendly hats’ and I was just like ‘shit!’ nobody's really doing it so I was like, that could be a fun idea to do. Then I just kinda just had this working project for a bit and then it all kinda caught fire when I learned about hemp. It was kinda like this magical little moment if you will, where it was like, this idea could actually be really cool. Yeah, so that was how it all came to be and I was really fortunate I think that one of the key considerations that I had early on was that I just wanted the hats to be... I didn’t want to compromise on design. There were a few, ‘cool brands’ or good products out there and good hats and stuff but they didn’t have the reach because they lacked any sort of design qualities and I think that failed to speak to their consumer. So yeah, it kind of was just a pretty simple idea, and I think timing has been pretty good. Hemp is something everyone has kinda taken to and with the referendum coming up it’s quite topical. 

Did you have any connections that kind of helped you discover everything about hemp, or was it your own doing going out and looking into all of that? 

I initially just did my own research - just hours and hours of trawling through Google and learning what I could. I bought a few books about hemp and specifically hemp in the United States and I kinda just did like a little ‘Hemp 101’ by myself, and then I looked at who was doing it in NZ and I came across this really cool crowd. Their sort of umbrella company is ‘Plant Based NZ’ but they have brands like ‘The Brother’s Green’, ‘Original Canvas’, and ‘Koaka’ and they’re basically just like a full-stack hemp brand. I actually just reached out to them and was like “Hey, I’m thinking of doing this thing you know, ‘Goodlids’ and I wondered if you guys wanted to work together to set up a pop-up shop in Auckland. So we ended up putting our heads together and I learned a lot from those guys and they opened a lot of doors for me in terms of going and having a look at the hemp scene and literally visiting all the hemp farms and all that sort of stuff in NZ, and getting a bit of a feel for how this industry is kind of emerging in NZ. Yeah so it’s all been pretty exciting! 

That’s so cool! It always seems like the things that are built of a bit of passion or interest, or you kind of just ‘stumble upon’ seem to have the most promise! And it’s good for you that it happened to be kind of ‘trending’ and you’re going into a market that’s pretty receptive to that kind of stuff you know, so that’s a bonus yeah... 

Yeah, absolutely! 

Awesome, the next question was what made you decide to break away from the norm? Which, I guess you’ve somewhat implied already but um... 

I decided to break away, go out and start my own business because I had played a bit of cricket when I was younger and I probably didn’t quite have the kind of success that I had once hoped. So I think that Goodlids kind of filled a void that was left. Yeah, I kinda always had this pursuit of doing something really ‘cool’. I mean, that’s not to say my 9-5 isn’t cool because it is, but it's just kinda nice to have that extra purpose. 

My mission is to try and mobilise hemp as something that is ‘cool to wear’- that I’m stoked with you know. It’s kinda like organic cotton has had its day for the last like 10 years and whatnot and I’m really keen to build on that with a hemp and cotton blend. Because hemp is inherently organic, it doesn't need any pesticides or herbicides to grow so it’s kinda like that next tier. So, yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do and with Goodlids we’ve started with hats and we’ve just released bucket hats and beanies now and we’re gonna be looking into completely diversifying our product range and trying to take it as far as we can with the strength of our brand. 

Amazing! Yeah, kind of catalysing that market for hemp in doing your little venture. Hopefully, that opens up a bigger market to make a bigger impact! 

Yeah, 100%! 

Amazing, and what’s your ultimate goal? Whether that be personal, and for the brand as well? 

I think that what I see at the moment is that typically in a lot of spaces (this is speaking from what I’ve observed), is that you get trends that typically start-up in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Western world they’ll probably typically start in North America and then they’ll trickle down to Australia and New Zealand. What I think you’re seeing with the hemp movement is it’s actually starting up...it started off mainly in Australia, Byron Bay and now a few little brands, Goodlids included, are helping to drive that. What I’d love to see is for people to look back on the hemp revolution and go, that was actually something that was driven by a whole bunch of independent brands and to be kind of part of that you know. And for Goodlids in particular, the end goal is to just continue growing and do what we’re doing and yeah, just make better products for the planet. 

Yeah, it’s nice to know that your small little bit could, like I said, kind of catalyse a bigger movement. Which I’m sure, amidst an emerging market for this, it probably is going to take off. So yeah that could be awesome, especially because of this whole COVID situation, everyone’s looking to support local and I almost feel as if people are realising what values they hold closest as well and sustainability comes into that. 

Yeah, yeah for sure! 

And what has been your biggest challenge in all of this would you say? 

What has been the biggest challenge? I would say it’s been so far so good... I think the biggest challenges are yet to come. 

Kind of as you get bigger and you try to tackle expansion? Or.... 

One of our issues at the moment is that our products are made in China, which at the moment I’m comfortable with, simply because we have no other option. So, hemp fibre can’t be processed in NZ because we haven’t got the labour and we haven’t got the machinery here yet but, at the same time, you’ve just gotta start somewhere. China is the global supply chain of the world and if you’re ramping up demand for a certain fibre and a certain textile, they’re gonna start stocking it more. So it’s just that supply and demand sort of thing and the consumer really has the say. And look, global warming and climate change is a global issue. So it doesn’t matter if hemp is being grown in NZ or if it's being grown in China, it’s still taking carbon out of the same atmosphere. I think that’s a really good example of a challenge because in terms of ethics we work with a really good factory but you can never... you know you want to keep people in jobs in New Zealand and you wanna have money going around our economy. So that’s a challenge at the moment and that’s somewhere where we’d love to get to, but at this stage, we are quite comfortable with our relationship with China. 

Yeah yeah, do you have a good, strong relationship with your suppliers? 

Yeah, so basically we’re meeting with new suppliers every day to diversify our product range. So we’ve got a really good relationship with our hat suppliers, they’re awesome! Yeah, they’ve been so good so far and then beanies now as well and then clothing. Our new clothing suppliers are insane. 

Is that all the same supplier do you mean sorry? 

They’re three different suppliers, so they’re highly specialised. We just wanted the best of everything. We wanted the best quality hats, the best quality beanies, and then the best quality clothing. And, so far so good and yeah we’ll continue to release those products and work with our suppliers and as we grow we’re hoping we can sort of do more with our suppliers or even vertically integrate, so that’ll be managing our own kind of factory. 

Yeah, I guess it’s just kind of a waiting game! 

Yeah, we’re trying to just...just gotta keep pushing it and I think, you know, the way the world’s going, I think that people are realising that we need to be shopping better. 

Yeah, it is a reciprocal kind of relationship... you can’t just put all the responsibility onto organisations, you know, everyone’s got to play their part. 

Yeah, for sure. 

And what has been your biggest success would you say? Or yeah, kind of a monumental moment or anything like that? 

I would say honestly, just the validation of selling your first hat, or even seeing people on the street wearing it and really enjoying it and having that feedback. I think initially in these early stages that validation is really important - to actually know people are picking up what I’m putting down and seeing people believe in the brand, and the product. Yeah, so as much as we are trying to make things better for the planet, it’s like we want people to have joy from wearing our hats and clothing. 

Yeah, you’re covering all of the bases... you’ve got the quality, the sustainability and you’ve got the people, the purpose in amongst that. 

I genuinely think that Goodlids as a brand has the power to be a pretty substantial brand whether that be nationwide or internationally. We will just continue to build off the platform we’ve laid over the past 9 months that we’ve been in business. So yeah...just keep on keeping on you know. It’s pretty exciting, but yeah, so far I think it’s just that...when you go out walking the streets and you see people wearing your hats. 

Yeah, I was just gonna say that it’s cool that you’ve got that optimism, that drive for the bigger stuff eventually. You’ve got strong faith in it all, I think it’s really important to back yourself... 

Yeah, it’s weird because, I do believe in myself to an extent but I try to keep myself separate from Goodlids. Goodlids is actually quite a collaborative project. Like, I am the founder or whatever and it was kind of my idea, but I’ve got content creators, I’ve got manufacturers - there are so many people that actually have a lot of input, like designers. Then probably the most important thing that I’ve got is I’ve got really good customers. So, yeah I’m just like this tiny, tiny 1%, but I genuinely believe in Goodlids aye. 

Oh, that’s awesome, I love that! 

And do you have any regrets so far? Sounds like you’ve been pretty lucky, had a pretty smooth sailing journey so far! 

Yeah, I’ve certainly been very lucky. I mean if Goodlids came out 10, 15, even 5 years ago people probably wouldn't have received that whole ‘hemp’ piece that well. I think even back then it was kinda like a hippy, kinda dirty material but we’ve kind of been pretty lucky so far, yeah. Any regrets? Hmmm...nah! 

Sounds a bit pessimistic after all of this positive haha! 

I don’t typically have a lot of regrets, like, I try not to dwell on stuff too much. 

Yeah, I like that, positive mindset... you’ll see that reflected in the results - manifest it! 

Yeah check back in time, see if I’ve got any regrets... 

Yeah we’ll do a follow-up 5 years down the track haha!

Yeah, but it’s all been pretty good so far. The stakes are still pretty low in New Zealand and I think it’s when you go overseas, that’s when... 

Yeah, is that something you’d look into? 

Yeah we were supposed to be getting into the US around about now but obviously, COVID happened. One of the stockists we were talking to has actually gone under which is kinda unfortunate so, yeah, I think that the best thing now is that we’ve got a real opportunity to focus on our own backyard. So I think we’ll just focus on keeping on with NZ and use it as a good way to, test our products out in a lower stake environment and then if things go well, we’ll take it to the world and see what they think! 

Cool! And the final question was “do you have any advice for anyone ready to do the same...break away from the norm, do something different? 

I would say just to take whatever the first step is, just take the first step and then whatever the second step is, then take the third step...you know I think one of the worst things is, and I have been guilty of it at times, is inaction. I just think, whatever you think, however bad you think the outcome is gonna be, it’s just not gonna be that bad. I think if I opened Goodlids on the first day and sold zero hats, if nobody ever bought a hat, I still think I would have been far better off for the journey and the learnings. And, the chances are that if you’re passionate about it and you’re willing to work hard then you’ll succeed in my opinion.

Check our Goodlids range at www.goodlids.co.nz

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