Growing up on a farm in the Otway Ranges Victoria, I knew I wanted to work outdoors. After a stint of helping mum in her gorgeous garden and doing a year 10 horticulture project designing a friend’s garden and growing the plants, I was hooked. I applied for uni but also for a gardening apprenticeship. It was exciting working as a gardener in inner city Melbourne and it seemed a way better option than studying at university. I’m a hands-on person and learn best on the job and not in the classroom, so an apprenticeship made perfect sense to me and I deferred my course, never to look back.
Along with gardening with mum, I was always selling things, or pretending to sell things. Either in the loungeroom or at the end of our driveway, so entrepreneurialism has been in my blood from the very beginning.
On my first day of work as an apprentice, the workwear I was issued was, to say the least, hideous! It simply didn’t fit properly. I’m tall and the leg length was too short, the crotch was too long and chaffed the insides of my legs and the styling, well, there was none! I distinctly remember saying ‘someone’s gotta do something about this, it’s just so uncomfortable’.
I progressed to an amazing job working at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, curating the Camellia and southern African collections, but the workwear still hadn’t improved. Ten years later and I was still wearing men’s workwear as the women’s workwear was even worse. I even looked into getting some work pants tailor-made but it was going to cost $250 per pant so that wasn’t really an option.
Once again, I recall saying to a gardener friend while we were working away at the RBG, ‘someone’s got to do something about this. How hard can it be!’ After 5 years of working at the RBG Melbourne, my husband and I decided to embark on an adventure and we followed his job and moved to Thailand.
Living in Bangkok was an incredible experience and it was here that I was to form my passion of making workwear for women. Suddenly I was scouring the streets of Bangkok for fabric and manufacturers and designing new styles of work pants, shorts and shirts. Gardening was beginning to feel like a distant memory although I still loved plants and learned a lot about tropical gardens. Designing workwear without any formal education had its challenges but someone had to provide all of the working women out there a good quality product that actually fits properly.
I had to find a name and ‘Green Hip’ was born in the back of a taxi stuck in Bangkok traffic. My parents were visiting and I clearly remember us having a great time talking to the taxi driver and when I said Green Hip it just stuck. Green Hip was born – workwear that was designed to fit all body shapes, was comfortable, durable, fit for purpose and, most importantly, designed to fit well.
My fabric was, and still is what sets my workwear apart, of why my garments fit so well. I developed a unique fabric that is soft from the beginning (stiff workwear is quite simply uncomfortable to wear) and has some stretch to allow for the different shapes that women can be. I also made sure the shirts did not gape, especially for big breasted women so there are more buttons than men’s shirts and the cotton/stretch fabric allows movement while working in difficult work situations.
All garments have twin-needle stitching on the stress points and bar tacking for extra durability. The coin pocket is not too deep (we don’t have man fingers) so it was easy for the lady tradies to get the coins out. There are extra pockets for personal items, mobile phones and lip gloss – of course! Basically everything I found irritating with wearing men’s workwear, I improved with many additions. The years of product development have paid off, as none of the styles have needed to be changed.
The fabric is tested to very high standards for colour fastness, strength and unwanted chemicals, which gives me confidence that it will stand the test of time. Unfortunately, the quality appears to be too good as they don’t fade nearly as quickly as other brands do and re-ordering isn’t required as often! Fortunately, I have loyal customers who continue to buy my workwear.
I’m really excited about the future of Green Hip with big plans to include more navy blue, khaki and hi-vis styles and I am growing our list of stockists around Australia. Although I love to visit companies face to face, there’s only so many people I can visit in one week!
I also want to give back to the community and help the environment, so I have pledged that for every garment sold by Green Hip, I will plant a native grass or tree. Every winter I gather friends and customers to plant some trees with my local Landcare or council group which is fun and good for the soul.
Green Hip is now being worn by women in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Cairns Botanic Gardens, Yarra Ranges City Council & Hobsons Bay City council are repeat customers.
I get such a kick out of seeing staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne wearing my gear and it’s so nice to know I’m making a difference to friends and other women’s lives by providing a comfortable garment to wear to work every day. I’m getting more and more calls from friends saying they saw someone kitted out in Green Hip and they get a real kick out of it too!
When I send an order of Green Hip workwear, I always include some Thai basil seeds as little reminder about where Green Hip was born.
I believe that Green Hip is the premium workwear available for women and, as a young company, I make sure your business is looked after efficiently and quickly. Let’s face it, we spend the majority of our life at work and we should feel comfy in the clothes we have to wear every day.
[This sponsored post is brought to you by Green Hip Work Wear for Women]