Right from the inception of toitū, Team Timbuktu was a brand we knew we wanted to support. They're changing the game when it comes to sustainable and fashionable outdoor apparel for women, and the complete transparency from Founder, Rhianna, shows just how much effort goes into every run of tights, tanks, tees and jackets.
Name and position? Rhianna - Founder/Director of Team Timbuktu
Where in the world does Team Timbuktu work from and make its products? I design all products and run the business from Melbourne, Australia, and have partnered with a couple manufacturers across Taiwan, China and India to make our products. Our waterproof jackets' yarn and fabric is made in Taiwan and garments in Xiamen, China. Our activewear yarn is made in Taiwan, and fabric and garments made in Xiamen, China. Our organic cotton yarn, fabric and garments are made in Tirupur, India.
How did the idea for Team Timbuktu form? I was hiking in Patagonia a couple of years ago, on a two month backpacking trip, spending the majority of the time hiking up volcanos, in valleys, near glaciers and sleeping under the stars. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been to, but I was wearing clothing that whilst being functional, weren't stylish or sustainable. My background was in fashion, having studied design and worked in the industry managing production, so I felt confident creating a product of my own and working directly with the fabric mills to create a more sustainable fibre.
What is Team Timbuktu's mission? To encourage women to get outdoors and adventure, without creating unnecessary impact on people or the planet.
When explorers think of Team Timbuktu, what would you like them to think of? Sustainability and adventure.
Does Team Timbuktu do more than just make beautiful, sustainable outdoor apparel? Two years ago we launched by donating 20% of profits to two different charities (one mental health based, one environmental conservation based) but unfortunately had to pause it. We’ve done specific campaigns donating to a charity called Thread Together, which supply people in need with clothing, and also did a fundraiser for the Australian bushfires at the start of the year. We’re looking at potentially creating a plant a tree for every purchase in the future to offset our impact, but are still looking at the best way we can continually give back.
Why make the effort to create environmentally friendly clothing, as opposed to simply making standard apparel? To me it just seemed like common sense. If I’m trying to create a brand that encourages people to spend time outdoors, why would I invest in a product that creates a direct negative impact on the outdoors (and on the people creating it). I believe all businesses, of all sizes have a responsibility to choose better and do the right thing - for the makers, for the planet, for the business and for the end consumers. It’s more costly and time consuming, but I don’t believe a business should be considered successful if it’s capitalizing off the misfortune of people or our planet to create profit.
If you could choose to wear only one piece of Team Timbuktu apparel forever, what would it be? Easy choice, one of our Waterproof Jackets! They’re waterproof, windproof and breathable, so they’re the perfect year round piece to be worn hiking, camping, running, snowboarding, commuting to work or walking the dog. I’ve also seen customers wear them whilst skydiving, protesting and eloping in them, so fair to say they’re pretty versatile pieces. They’re durable, versatile and I also love that the fabric is 100% recycled. They’re definitely my favourite piece.
Favourite thing to do outside of work? I love going for hikes, ideally with enough time to switch off from the day to day, keep the phone on aeroplane mode and rough it without all the comforts of home. Something as simple as making a coffee outdoors becomes a ritual and it’s so much easier to be present, rather than distracted by email, social media and everyday life.
What’s the most memorable adventure you’ve ever been on? There’s way too many to choose from. Wilsons Prom in Victoria is where I first fell in love with hiking and completed my first solo multi day hike. Hiking the Overland Track in Tassie with a friend last year was refreshing and memorable, and reminded me why hike times are suggested (we did it in 4 days rather than 6- would not recommend). Hiking with crampons up a volcano 5,000 feet high in Peru and hiking the W trail in Torres Del Paine in Patagonia in Chile, where the idea of Team Timbuktu came from, is another memorable one.
Top 3 things you can’t go on an adventure without? A little more than 3, but my minimums are: excess water (it’s not something you ever want to run out of), coffee (if an overnighter), sun protection (hat and sunscreen) and a fully charged phone (on aeroplane mode - for taking photos and for emergencies only).