Thank you to the wonderful team at Next magazine for the recent article in April’s edition on Notion Fashion and myself. Most importantly thank you for allowing me to have a voice. You inspire women to never be ashamed of the story that they have lived. This is a blog opening up even more about who I am. Thank you to all that read this, I hope it gives people the encouragement to be able to speak and ask for help.
Redundancy & mental health
Redundancy is hard and it will be something I will never get over fully. It has mentally affected me and this is the reason why I dedicate a lot of my time to charity and to give back to I AM HOPE and to raise money for mental health. I have a generous heart and I want Notion to be about more than just selling New Zealand designer fashion and collecting profits. I want to show that we also care about and understand our customer’s wellbeing. It doesn’t take much to be a kind human being, and this kindness and giving back is one of my core values. When I was growing up my brother died when I was 10 years old, my Mum when I was 26 years old, and my Dad when I was 30 years old. Death is hard but I found time helped heal the pain. I had spent a lot of time looking after my Mum and Dad as my Mum battled breast cancer and Dad had ongoing health issues after a massive heart attack. When my Mum and Dad died I went back to Cadburys were in a leadership role I helped people and this filled a gap. My partner and I also had a little dog, her name was Cheyenne and she was blind and had been blind since birth. For the 17 years, we had Cheyenne’s life was like looking after a two-year-old, she required a lot of extra care and support because of her disability. In March 2018 I was made redundant from Cadburys, Dunedin. The day you are made redundant is not the end it is the beginning of the redundancy. Since leaving Cadburys I have never left employment. During the day and weekends, I work on Notion Fashion and at night time I work shift work at The Print Room in Dunedin. It is a necessary part of growing a small business that continual income is required to keep moving forward. Sometimes it is extremely tiring but this is why support is needed when starting a business. On May 7th, 2018, for my partner and me, the world fell apart as our wee Cheyenne passed away. Talking about her still brings tears. She was my child the only child I will ever have. It there are any fans of Game of Thrones out there reading this I know how Daenerys felt when Viserion got taken down by the Knight King, it was and still is heartbreaking. Not long after Cheyenne died I mentally started to struggle especially when I could see Cadburys staff members and even myself being bullied and harassed in the new world after Cadburys. This is disgusting and disrespectful towards people who are vulnerable and make you start to feel even more worthless. I felt responsible for my staff safety even though I was no longer their floor leader, and the bullying and harassment created even more anger and grief. Chocolate is a product that is meant to bring joy and love but I have never seen so much hate, anger, and tears become associated with a product. All brought about because two corporate companies have lost touch with the people at the heart of their brand, the staff on the factory floor.
I have now connected with OCHO chocolate company in Dunedin because they have respect and compassion for what we have been through. Their positive vibe sparks all of the happy memories, not the bad ones that come up every day when you think of the redundancy. The redundancy causes a lot of chatter to go on in your head, you replay over and over the unethical treatment of people. Why because you have integrity. They may have made us redundant and taken away our jobs and broke up our family units but they will never take away our integrity.
I have started at the bottom again building Notion Fashion. New Zealand fashion designers also start out at the bottom. Again it is my value and concept to support the up and coming emerging talent of the New Zealand Fashion industry. Well done New Zealand Fashion Week for giving so many talented New Zealand designers the support throughout the years. For the New Zealand fashion industry to grow and continue to improve we must support new talent. Our designers at Notion are fresh and they have vibe which I love. Thank you, designers, for the amazing support across Instagram, this support keeps me going!! Thank you for those ex-Cadbury workers for helping me pull through the mud when I am struggling. These are ex-Cadburys staff who have also suffered mentally as well. Again and again, we continue to support each other. I am about to print those t-shirts shown and talked about in Next. These t-shirts I am printing to raise awareness of the connection between mental illness and redundancy. Most importantly it is about time we celebrated the success of the staff who worked inside the Chocolate factory over the last 150 years. In 2018 it was 150th year of chocolate production in Dunedin, Dunedin is the King’s Landing of chocolate making in New Zealand and with your support and the growth of OCHO we will retain this crown. In the 150th year, there was no celebration of New Zealand just a redundancy with a whole lot of anger and grief. We no longer mention the chocolate factory and manufacturing giants’ names, they deserve no respect. Respect and compassion are not much to ask for during and after a redundancy. I hope the t-shirts spark a smile when people see them and then spark a positive conversation about mental health. We all need to talk more about mental health, don’t judge, listen, and remember never be ashamed of your story and always be yourself because everyone else is taken.