Meet our Friday Muse, Tiraki wine co-founder EllaRose Hammond

1 June 2023
By Fashion Quarterly

FQ checks in with Tiraki co-founder and marketing manager EllaRose Hammond from her hometown in Marlborough before she jets off to Europe later in the year.

In conversation with EllaRose Hammond, we chat being a freelancer creative in Auckland, and returning  home to Marlborough to start New Zealand’s first B Corp-certified wine company with her two brothers.

Having worked with fashion industry heavyweights like creative director Kayla Jurlina, Hammond knows a thing or two about launching a luxury wine brand in New Zealand’s highly-competitive market. Discover her career to date, how she juggles her many talents, the upsides of being a young founder, and her simple pleasures in this week’s Friday Muse.

Bring our readers up to speed on your career:

Since completing my Bachelor of Commerce degree I have worked in a range of industries, from the wine industry to sports marketing in the United States. Working across different businesses always gives you really interesting insights and learnings. When I moved back to New Zealand during COVID-19, freelancing to different companies felt like a natural progression. Over the last few years, I’ve been able to support small businesses with Digital Marketing, Ecommerce, and Website Development as well as a fun sprinkling of photoshoots. As a freelancer, I’ve been able to invest time into our family business – Tiraki – where I’m the Marketing Manager. Between Tiraki and my freelancing work, there certainly aren’t any dull moments.

What motivated you and your brothers to create your own label from your family vineyard during lockdown in 2020?

My brother Tyler and I moved back from overseas to the safe haven of Marlborough for lockdown where our brother Josh and our parents were living. Through the lockdown we spent some quality family time together. Out of boredom, possibly, and wanting to make use of the produce at home that might have gone to waste, Tyler made some feijoa schnapps and Quince wine. This was quite potent alcohol but it sparked the idea that maybe we could build something special by using Josh’s skillset as a winemaker rather than Tyler’s homebrew. Without knowing it we had planned our careers quite well to start a wine brand with one as a winemaker, one as a MBA grad and one as a marketer, along with parents who produce quality premium grapes. As the discussions started, we all agreed that we wanted to do things slightly differently, we wanted to use business as a force for good and in a way that could take Longfield to the world in a sustainable way for future generations.

What did you seek to do differently with Tiraki Wines?

We believe that we can use business as a force for good – something we have contemplated since the beginning. We want to create wines that are outstanding; to be savored as a sensory experience, with delicious fresh food and good company as part of an adventure. This means making no compromises when it comes to creating our wines. 

As kaitiaki of the land we recognise the importance of working with the land in a way that protects it for future generations. We believe it is not only ourselves but the community around us that need to work together to achieve this. We cannot keep growing our agricultural economy by further intensifying agriculture and growing more products on the same land. All this will do is damage the ecosystem further and the long term viability of the land. Therefore we must focus on creating products of high value less intensively and more sustainably. Giving back to the community, working with purpose and the love of adventure and wine is what Tiraki is about.

As New Zealand’s first B Corp-certified wine label, what specific values and commitments does Tiraki uphold? 

B Corp is a very holistic certification. It encompasses not only environmental objectives but also social. Tiraki’s business structure is designed to give; we are formally committed to donate the equivalent of 2% of revenues or more to charitable partners each year. We also have a commitment to purchase core products (at least 50% of non-labor expenses) from independent suppliers local to where the product will be used or where the company operates. To ensure we maintain purpose driven supply chain management, Tiraki audits our supply partners to make sure our values are aligned. We work with partners who have third-party sustainability certifications and prioritise local suppliers when possible.

How do these values align with your personal beliefs? 

Growing up our parents have always instilled in us how important it is to support local. Being from a small town this is an important value to ensure the longevity of the town. It has now become second nature to us and when starting Tiraki we knew that it would govern our decision making processes. This community driven mindset is what led us to certification.


What has been the response from consumers to Tiraki so far? Any milestones or memorable moments you can share with us?

We have had an overwhelmingly positive response from consumers so far. We have seen impressive growth in our international markets and the noise around the brand has been very rewarding. B Corp was my project and receiving certification was an almost surreal experience for me. I had worked on the certification for over a year and to see it come to fruition was definitely a highlight. I have always been a proud younger sister of my two brothers but working with them in our business has only increased my admiration for them. Having people tell me how much they like our wine is always memorable because the little girl inside me is always yelling “my brother made that!!”

Balancing responsibilities between running a wine label and working in the fashion industry can be quite challenging. How do you manage your time effectively and ensure success in both areas?

There are some weeks that I do find it challenging to balance it all but I feel very lucky to be super passionate about both industries. I love using the toggle app to track my time spent on things and to keep me focused.

How has your experience working with Kayla Jurlina and Blackbox Boutique influenced your approach to fashion within the context of Tiraki? Any crossovers between the two?

Initially you may think that there is little crossover between the two but with both being luxury products there are definitely things that I have learnt working in the fashion industry that I have taken into Tiraki. Since moving to Auckland and working with Creative Director Kalya Jurlina I have learnt about how important the finer details are and how to get the most out of photoshoots.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I have two little nephews who I absolutely adore so when I am home I love spending time with them. I love being out on the boat in the Marlborough Sounds with my friends and family or going on hikes in the beautiful scenery.

In what ways has being a young founder influenced your decision-making and leadership style?

Being a young founder means that I have been able to observe the best of what is out there from long standing companies and combine it with my own personal values to create a culture that has a fresh perspective on where we see the industry going and how we want to be a part of that.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start their own business in your industry?

It is important to find your point of difference. The wine industry in New Zealand is extremely competitive and if you can define your point of difference and be super passionate about it then you will find success. Always surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, we have so much to learn from others and asking questions.

Finally, what do you hope to achieve this year both professionally and personally?

Being a bit of a homebody, I am looking forward to moving overseas and pushing myself to grow personally and meet new people with fresh perspectives. It has been a challenging few years for everyone through Covid so I am looking forward to letting my hair down and having some fun this year, too! Professionally I would love to see Tiraki continue to grow on our trajectories and take some steps towards our new sustainability goals for the future.

Quick-fire Q&A

The best book I’ve read recently / My current podcast recommendation… I have followed the trends online and have enjoyed the Colleen Hoover books recently but also love listening to the Diary of a CEO podcast.

My favourite place to dine… Would probably have to be Amano. From breakfast to lunch to dinner, all of their meals are amazing and their bakery is my go to lunch spot when I am in the city.

My hometown’s best-kept secret… The Marlborough Sounds, I talk about this place so much that you would think I am an ambassador. The colours, the serenity, the many happy memories. This is my favourite place in the world.

My favourite wine at the moment is… The Tiraki Pinot Noir. Perfect for this colder weather and dinner parties!

Three beauty products I can’t live without…

  1. Dermaviduals Cream Cleanser
  2. Dermaviduals Essential Cleansing Cloth
  3. Drunk Elephant sunshine drops

Lately I’ve been splurging all my money on/saving all my money for… I am travelling to Europe in July so I am doing my best to save all my money for that!

My favourite New Zealand designers are… I always love supporting New Zealand designers. Some of my favourites are Paris Georgia, Pecchenino, and Sonni for the cutest kids clothes for my nephews.

I would describe my personal style as… I have always liked to wear things that are slightly different from the norm. I love mixing pretty dresses with chunky sneakers or oversized blazers or bombers.

Images: Supplied. 


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