New Zealand Natural Clothing – “New Zealand’s Socksperts”
New Zealand Natural Clothing is the largest sock shop in New Zealand – work socks, dress socks, children’s socks, boot socks, health socks, sports socks – they really are the socksperts! Inside is a wide range of socks made primarily from natural fibres such as merino wool and possum fur, which breathe and manage moisture well, apart from being warm and comfortable. These amazing materials come into their own in the tough conditions often found in the depths of a hard-working Kiwi boot!
When Norsewear restructured their business operations in 2007, Phil and Julie took control of the retail side of the business and the New Zealand Natural Clothing brand. Phil and Julie own title on the original Norsewear store site operating for 50 years and have been “Sticking to the Knitting” since 2007. They are passionate about Norsewood and the woollen legacy of Norsewood South.
We love our products and our work
NZ Natural Clothing directors Phil Grant and Julie Hedley both come from rural roots and were brought up with woollen garments and non-extravagant thinking around fashion and functionality. They believe in the properties of natural fibres for health and comfort.
How they began the business
Phil and Julie purchased the NZ Natural Clothing brand in 2007 alongside the Norsewear retail stores and leases. They decided to put their money where their mouths were and operate the business, not just work in it.
Prior to this, Phil was on the management team that opened all of Norsewear’s stores, and Julie was manager of the Norsewear store in Otaki. It’d be fair to say they both have a background in New Zealand natural clothing!
Riding the tide of change in the business, they embraced e-commerce in 2010 with the launch of their online store.
More than just knitwear
“We have a strong connection with the Norsewood area in southern Hawke’s Bay. We love our community, and give our time and resources freely to create a place others would want to come and live in. In 2008, we bought the Norsewear site on Hovding Street. On this site, alongside our NZ Natural Clothing retail store, is the Kiwi Sock Company. They’ve been making socks, gloves, hats, and scarves in Norsewood for more than 40 years. The site also hosts the Hovding Gallery, where since 2012, master carver Jeff Bryan has been creating art.”
“The same year, we began transforming a swampy sheep paddock into what is now The Wopwops Wetland Park, a free community attraction where visitors can feed the native long-finned eels and take a break from the highway. The wetland park is managed by The Kuikui Charitable Trust, incorporated in 2015 to preserve Maori and Nordic history in the Norsewood area from an educational and conservation perspective.”
“Even the old dairy factory across the road is now owned by like-minded entrepreneurs and has been turned into a lively venue for music events, exhibitions and fairs.”
~ Phil and Julie