In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and innovators working on our next generation of new business startups, social enterprises and small businesses.

At a glance

Founders: Zoey Tomlinson-Rout & Maru Rout

Business: Gold Walk

Founded: 2019

HQ: Canterbury

Can you tell us a bit about your business?

We are at the stage of our lives where we work corporate jobs, have three very sporty and social kids to run around after and do some voluntary work. Trying to find clothing that is suitable for all the different hats we wear in a day going between meetings, sport sidelines, squeezing in some exercise and running errands is challenging. This combined the awareness of the impact fast fashion is having on the people making them and the planet is becoming more obvious. We love to thrift and find vintage pieces, we encourage people to do this, but we understand it can be a bit hit and miss. It was hard to find a brand that was sustainably minded, versatile, and cool (rather than hiking gear) and could give back at little too, this is how our brand was born.

Every product we launch are the ‘go to’ pieces in our wardrobes. We had gaps and couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for that was both stylish and made with people and the planet in mind, personally we love and wear our pieces all the time. The items look and feel amazing, they are gorgeous colours, fabrics, well made and are designed to give you the confidence to go live, breathe and walk your golden life.

Here at Gold Walk, we don’t claim to be perfect, but we care about people and the planet and are committed to constantly reviewing and identifying improvements we can make to be more conscious with every collection. The gold walk is the feeling you get when you are making the choices and steps that are aligned with the life you dream of. A point of difference between our brand and others is that I share the behind-the-scenes journey of growing this brand because I know firsthand how scary it can be, but how good it feels to pursue what sets your heart on fire, step at a time.

What’s the backstory for your business idea?

I was that five-year-old girl wearing a princess dress in the sheep paddock. The seven-year-old girl was dressed by her Mum in the morning and changed once I got to school into the outfit I had hidden in my bag. I always shared my clothes with my sisters and friends.  I worked after school and weekends in a popular fashion store, this was a great experience. I would have loved to be a designer and stylist when I was younger, but I wasn’t great in sewing class and didn’t think I could do it, so I decided on following the pursuit of a ‘safe’ office job.

Maru and I met working in the construction industry. He is focused on sustainable infrastructure, and myself in HR/ Personal and Professional Development. We were in the Philippines on a wind farm and hydro plant build. The clothing options on the islands where we lived were limited, so I started sewing my own dresses. We had an opening of a windfarm and I had nothing to wear and couldn’t find anything over there that was made of natural fibers or ethically made, lots of people were asking to buy my dresses, that’s when the penny dropped. I started designing a collection to launch in PHP, covid happened, we ended up back in NZ. I was not ready to give up so decided to pivot.

What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?

  • Both Maru and I have executive experience in business, we also built a wonderful community / network of people expert in their field (fashion, finance, marketing).
  • Also a lot of Google and YouTube. 
  • You have to know when its suitable to just get stuck in and DIY and when its best use of time and money to outsource to a guru to gain traction.


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