The arrival of 2019 sets the scene for another year of milestones to be chalked up and celebrated in the world of business and social entrepreneur Annah Stretton. One month almost down and already there has been the celebration of one of Annah’s longest serving members of the head office team. Vicki, who also happens to be Annah’s mother, has just celebrated her 80th birthday and is one employee that Annah and her daughter Sami would not want to do without anytime soon.
“At 80 years of age, mum is an absolute inspiration to us all. It’s such an amazing feeling to have three generations working under one roof every day. I have loved having her in my space for the last 25 years and I look forward to sharing another decade of good health and good times with her working in a space that Sami, Mum and I all share a passion for” says Annah.
2019 will also see the well-planned transition between Annah and her daughter Sami continue to progress as Annah frees herself up from the all-consuming role of CEO of her enduring and extensive fashion business, and into a different set of challenges in the social impact space.
“It's part of a carefully constructed five-year handover plan that will see ultimately see Sami take over the running of the business.” Says Annah “Sami has been working in the company for many years now. It started with button counting during her primary school years and it has just naturally progressed from there.
2017 saw her launch her own fashion label for 20 somethings - Young + Resolute – to enable her to get right up close to what it takes to take a commercial collection to market - as well as taking on more responsibilities for the day to day running of the business in her capacity as General Manager.”
March will see both Annah and Sami travel together to collate the Spring/Summer collection for 2019 in what will be another integral step in the handover process. “It’s an exciting but challenging time to be working in the Fashion industry but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Not many people get the opportunity to develop such an iconic brand and, work alongside their mum while they're doing it! The future is all about cherishing and evolving what we have as well as bringing my own mark to the label." Says Sami.
However, fashion isn’t the only area where a passion that is shared by the three generations has ended up becoming a commercial endeavour. Their collective love of animals, and in particular dogs, has led to the launch of Doggy Daily; a superfood supplement that helps to optimise a dog’s life expectancy.
“When my beautiful boxers Paris, and then Olive, got sick with cancer I started doing my own research about what was causing it and stumbled across a very sobering statistic; one out of every two dogs will contract cancer during their lifetime and, in 40% of instances, the cancer will be activated through their diet.” says Annah
It was research like this that lead Annah and her daughter Sami to start to look for and trial alternative cures using dietary herbs, seeds and spices, like turmeric and pumpkin seeds, that were known to decrease inflammation, increase digestion and fight cancer.
The results of their efforts saw such a dramatic improvement in Olive’s tumours and overall good health that they decided to share their superfood supplement with fellow dog lovers everywhere.
2019 will not only see Doggy Daily become available more widely throughout New Zealand, but they also have their sights set on the international stage starting with China.
“Not only do the Chinese share our love of dogs, but they also have a love affair with made in New Zealand. When it comes to food, our clean, green image translates into safe and that’s exactly what they are looking for when it comes to their fur babies” says Sami.