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Doing Good Business with Ethical Clothing Australia and The Finders Keepers!

By 1 May 2024May 3rd, 2024Announcements

Doing Good Business with Ethical Clothing Australia and The Finders Keepers!

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Image by Samee Lapham for The Finders Keepers Markets 

Now in their sixteenth year of market making, The Finders Keepers Markets celebrates locally made products, including textile, clothing and footwear. And while the team behind the markets have always been champions of small makers and “mindfully made” goods, they are dedicated to continuously educating their community on ethical and sustainable practices. 

That’s why for the 2024 market season, Ethical Clothing Australia is partnering with The Finders Keepers to offer resources and support to their stallholder community about ethical practices, local manufacturing and what accreditation with an organisation like Ethical Clothing Australia could mean for them!  

We caught up with Ashleigh Stallard, The Finders Keepers’ Community and Relationships Manager, and accredited businesses and The Finders Keepers stallholders The Social Outfit and Clothing the Gaps to talk about making market magic and what it means to be an accredited stallholder!  

The Finders Keepers Markets

Ashleigh Stallard, Community and Relationships Manager

Tell us a little about The Finders Keepers and your role… 

The Finders Keepers is Australia’s most-loved design market, and we host festival-style markets celebrating independent designers and makers four times a year in Melbourne and Sydney. 

At our core we love to see small creative businesses start and thrive, and we work to support them through many stages of their small business journey through our market events and small biz resources. The markets are a great platform for these businesses to greet their audiences IRL, meet new fans, test their products and learn from their peers –and we know The Finders Keepers fans LOVE to support small and meet the makers! 

In my role I get to form a lot of communications to our seller and fan communities – that’s me on the other end of the e-newsletters! I also work on community collaborations, which is something we love at TFK, and head up our Indigenous Program.  

When event time comes around, you’ll find me rotating between our info desk, ticket desk, chatting with sellers, adjusting the music volume, and anything else that needs doing! 

What do ethical practices look like in the world of The Finders Keepers?

As part of our role helping small creative businesses grow and thrive, we work to educate our sellers and applicants on ethical making. We love to talk about The Finders Keepers community as “mindfully made, thoughtfully bought”; a lovely combination of ethical making and conscious consumption. 

While many of our stallholders make their wares themselves, we know that many are also designers, and their products are made in part or wholly by others. In our application process we state, “The Finders Keepers is committed to working with businesses that promote ethical and sustainable practices in all aspects, from design to product development, packaging and product lifecycle”, and we ask:

  • How are your products made?
  • Is your brand aligned with any of the following? (Environmentally sustainable; organic; Fair Trade / working conditions; recycled materials etc)
  • Please explain more about how your products are made to support the above.
  • Where are your products made?
  • Please explain how you ensure that your manufacturers have fair working
  • conditions, and how your business impacts the environment?
  • Does your brand have any of the following certifications? (Ethical Clothing Australia, B Corp, Fair Trade etc).  
  • Optional: Upload your certificate or proof of ethical production

Why is it important to The Finders Keepers that stallholders hold an accreditation from a recognised organisation? 

Our stallholder application is designed to work two-fold: to show our applicants that it’s important to know who makes your products and in what conditions along the entire supply chain, as well as suggesting some of the accreditation bodies, like Ethical Clothing Australia, that they may wish to consider for their business. 

By sharing recognised accreditations in their application, we can immediately trust that the stallholder is doing ‘good business’, and that they’re considering multiple aspects of what it means to use business as a force for good. It makes our curation process a lot easier, too! 

The Finders Keepers is committed to working with businesses that promote ethical and sustainable practices in all aspects,

Ashleigh Stallard, The Finders Keepers Markets
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Images by Samee Lapham for The Finders Keepers Markets 

The Social Outfit

Adele Bettiol, Commercial Operations Manager

What was your favourite thing about doing a Finders Keepers market in Sydney in 2023? 

Participating in the Finders Keepers market last year was not only a great opportunity to give The Social Outfit a platform to speak about who we are and what we do to new customers and supporters, but also create relationships with other social enterprises and small businesses focused around local talent, product and creativity.    

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Images courtesy of The Social Outfit

What led you to the decision to become accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia? 

We know firsthand that just because something is Made in Australia does not mean it is ethically made.  

There are plenty of non-ethical and not sustainable brands manufacturing in Australia. The accreditation helps keep brands in check and guides consumers to make informed decisions on the social and environmental sustainability practices of a brand they may purchase or use.  

The Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation also opens further networks and relationships for The Social Outfit, hopefully leading us to new great circular economy collaborations.

How do you think your customers and future market-goers will respond to your accreditation?

We believe it will give them even further confidence in our brand and open us up to new traffic and customers who specifically look for this accreditation when choosing where to buy their clothes. It’s also a great conversation starter in our store and at markets, to engage customers to better understand how our impact work relates to the standards Ethical Clothing Australia sets.  

Clothing the Gaps

Sarah Sheridan, Co-Founder and Deputy CEO

What are you looking forward to about doing a Finders Keepers market in Melbourne in 2024? 

We love The Finders Keepers markets! The event is always a fab opportunity to connect with our amazing supporters in person, and for us to share our conversation starters with a new crowd.  

We know that people who visit The Finders Keepers care about backing independent businesses and creators, so it’s always a kind, caring and supportive environment. The next Finders Keepers event is in NAIDOC week and we cannot wait to share our new range for this year’s theme, ‘Keep the Fire Burning: Blak, Loud and Proud’ with everyone.

What led you to the decision to become accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia? 

We were the first known Aboriginal Social Enterprise to hold an Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation! We are a profit for purpose and values-led business and gaining an Ethical Clothing Australia accreditation was a way that we could show our community of supporters that our values are not just forward facing, they’re woven all the way through our garments in our locally made collection. It’s so important to have that independent stamp of approval and the Ethical Clothing Australia logo speaks volumes. 

How will you talk about your accreditation with marketgoers? 

All our pieces of merch come from conversations happening in First Nations Communities. We always love sharing more about the message and about where pieces are made.  

For our pieces accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia, we love sharing about the proximity to our makers and how we work together to bring the conversation starters to life. Our community loves connecting to the local production process as well, it’s great! 

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Image by Samee Lapham for The Finders Keepers Markets
For more information on The Finders Keepers Markets and their market dates, head to their website!