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Our Story

Vida Textiles specialises in fair-trade, sustainable & organic fabrics for the home.

Gandhi quote with pic2Vida Textiles was founded in 2008 by Celestina Sumby, who saw a serious need for safe organic and sustainable fabrics. Celestina originally read an interview with Kate Sylvester in a 2007 Sunday Star times magazine about the reality of conventional cotton production.

A conversation with her friend Gretta after her visit to Modena’s Slow Food convention, further cemented her resolve to buy more consciously. After reading Gretta’s report (read the full report here) on the conventional cotton industry and the effect it was having on many people mainly in the third world, she reflected on Gretta’s question ‘why not import organic cotton and sustainable textiles?’

4 years on and further family commitments, including a major Church conversion renovation, Celestina has taken a step back, and handed the business on in November 2011.

My own journey to organic textiles, started quite subtly as a child. I grew up on a dairy farm where my mother grew our vegetables, bought Soil and Health magazines, (now known as Organic NZ) dabbled in homeopathy, made natural creams for the cows using honey and zinc and raised free range chickens. My mother and grandmother were also avid sewers, knitters and crafters. It was this upbringing that instilled my love of textiles and planted the seed of my environmental awareness.


While completing my degree in Textile Design at Massey University, I did my ‘apprenticeship’ at Arthur Toye’s flagship store in Wellington. London was where I became involved in interiors, working my way into managing Liberty’s soft furnishings department.

After having to search further and further afield to look for fabrics that fitted my ethos I started my own sustainable interiors business. I now have 20 years experience in textiles, and have also completed the Certificate in Ecological Building and Design, which evaluates building materials, and alternative energy and water sources (see BBE for more information). Together with my family, we are committed to living a more sustainable lifestyle.

General-is-shot-2_02Currently Vida Textiles is representing Ink and Spindle & the local Eco Fabric along with sourcing many organic basic fabrics including organic cottons, hemps and linens. The fabrics we supply are grown, manufactured and produced either organically and/or sustainably and wherever possible under the GOTS Standard which includes a fair trade element.

Through doing these things we hope to help protect the environment, the health of its people and to preserve the traditional diversity of textiles.

Janette Sherwood  Owner


By taking a step back to the way our great-grandparents did things we make a leap forward in preserving the planet for future generations to live in.

Celestina Sumby, Founder of Vida Textiles