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Eco feet and bare bottoms

Kiwi hosiery company outdoing its Aussie rival with eco feet and bare bottoms

StepOut Nature range

Kiwi hosiery brand StepOut is introducing New Zealand’s first eco-friendly supermarket range of socks and tights and upping the stakes against its Aussie rival.

While an Australian company held close to a monopoly on New Zealand’s hosiery market less than a decade ago, local brand StepOut now accounts for more than 20% and hopes the Nature range will attract new customers.

To spread the word about the new products, made from natural bamboo and certified organic cotton, some cheeky walking billboards with people clad in socks and ‘not much else’ are taking to Auckland and Wellington streets this week.

Cheeky banner billboards have also gone up around town encouraging people to “Walk in Nature”.

CXC director Corinne Callinan created the StepOut brand after spotting a gap for quality, well-designed hosiery in supermarkets.

“The response from customers to our products has really backed up that approach but now we need to keep innovating and responding to the market and good-looking, sustainable hosiery is the next step,” says Callinan.

“Current global consumption patterns are unsustainable and I think it has to be business that leads the way to protect our planet for future generations.”

“CXC employs 45 women in New Zealand, many with children and grandchildren, so you could argue we’ve quite a personal vested interest in a range for the whole family that reduces the pressure on the environment!”

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StepOut stockiest and Progressive Enterprises category manager David Galbraith says this is the first true innovation he’s seen in the hosiery category.

“Not only does the StepOut Nature range offer shoppers a socially responsible ‘greener’ choice, but it will increase the sales for the supermarkets by bringing new users in the supermarket channel, so it’s good for the supermarkets’ bottom line.

StepOut’s Nature range of naturally hypoallergenic and highly breathable socks and tights include:
• girls’ organic cotton tights (for 5-14 years of age)
• womens’ bamboo tights and knee highs
• unisex bamboo business socks
• unisex organic cotton socks.

Packaging for the Nature range is made from 100% recycled cardboard and printed with natural soya inks.

The Nature walking billboards hit Auckland and Wellington streets this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

CXC was recognised by Deloitte as one of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand in 2009 and has continued to grow at about 30% year on year. Growth for 2012 is currently projected at 50% including sales for the new StepOut Nature range. Research indicates that 75% of consumers will pay more for eco-friendly products, providing they deliver on quality, are easy to purchase (through channels such as supermarkets) and are affordable.

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