The values are simple: create minimal waste, work with what you have, be positive, collaborate.
I source deer nappa leather off cuts from a New Zealand factory and give them a new life. By piecing these off-cuts together I create unique garments, re-using an otherwise discarded material.
In March 2016 I quit my job and started droplet.
I took off for an inspiration trip to Melbourne & developed my business plan.
While there, one of my closest friends Sam Ralph took me on a train to a tiny suburb with a leather factory. We searched through the scrap leather bins and both picked up some treasures. We sat in the park in the autumn sun and had a business meeting. This is where the off cut idea began.
My name is Hortense Rothery.
I graduated with a Fashion Degree in Dunedin 2012, and then worked in the industry for a few years. In my final year of Fashion School my collection ‘Mordecai’ took me to Shanghai Fashion Week. I then spent 6 months creating a business & sold beanies with one of my friends.
I then moved to Wellington, managed a clothing retail store and worked for NZ fashion label Kowtow.
At the end of the contract, I left. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew that I didn’t want to update my CV and go through an interview process. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to convince someone to hire me, so I hired myself.
I created values of how I wanted to go forward:
- First and foremost, to care for my physical and mental health.
- To define what success means to me and set attainable goals.
- To use what I have, up-cycle and create minimal waste.
- To limit outsourcing by using my own skills or developing new ones.
I have an incredibly supportive mother who is a gifted & talented Jeweller and business owner. She was the first person I told and has always encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. My family & friends have been super supportive from the beginning.
(April 2016, sewing studio in the lounge – Aro Valley, Wellington)
With the $300 in savings I had, I began.
I told everyone what I wanted to do with positivity and excitement and formed the business plan while I spoke. I was sick of tall poppy syndrome in New Zealand, always making myself feel small and belittling my talent. I was sick of not seeing more women as leaders and in business so I became one. I wont apologise for my drive, opinions, or try to make myself quiet. I am loud, passionate and creative, & while working with people that align directly with my values I will make a successful business out of that.
Every time I shared my passion with my friends the inspiration grew and each one had tips and tricks they had learnt along the way.
After the inspiration trip to Melbourne I came back to New Zealand with a workbook full of ideas, advice and sketches. I went through my belongings and sold absolutely anything I didn’t need; clothes, makeup, jewellery. I created a business plan that incorporated all of my values & skills.
My amazing flatmates were generous enough to let me set up a studio in our lounge.
So I set up the space; I moved the dining table into the lounge. I found slats of wood on the street & built shelves, I emptied my dresser to use as storage and went to op shops to collect thread & recycled fabric. Then I started sewing, I created an Instagram and Facebook, invited my friends, started posting online, and selling!
(August 2016 – Bigger & brighter studio – Berhampore, Wellington)
I am very lucky to have the unwavering support of amazing friends that are navigating being a twenty something with me, and I am so excited about what comes next.
Mandy Myles, Sophie Donaldson & Madeline Sherwood-King
Zac Fay & Lucy Botting
Georgia Chilton Phillips, Rose Hoare & Lizzy Tankard
Phots by me, Lucy’s phot by Flynn Go