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One of New Zealand's top designers and businesswomen

They Say I Dream Too Big. I Say They Think Too Small!

Founder and CEO of the Stretton Fashion Group, Annah Stretton is highly regarded as a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and sought after speaker.

Annah has travelled quite some distance since she founded the Stretton Fashion Group back in 1991. As a talented fashion designer, manufacturer and retailer, Annah’s clothing label has been loved by women all over the world for almost a quarter of a century.

But the CEO and successful business woman is just one of the many strings to Annah’s bow. Her unrelenting drive to do more and be more has also seen her attract an international online following of over of over 210,000, become a successful author, blogger, magazine publisher and public speaker.

Already the recipient of numerous awards including the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Fashion/Business/Community, the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, the EY 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year, the 2017 Westpac Waikato Not-For-Profit Business of the Year, and the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the Year, Annah’s tireless dedication, self-belief and heart means she is nowhere near finished.

Indeed, perhaps Annah’s most significant and enduring legacy will be the work she is conducting through the Stretton Foundation and RAW ( This partnership is enabling some truly ground-breaking work to be undertaken for socially disadvantaged women in New Zealand and is an area that Annah is deeply passionate about.

Through the hugely successful initiative that is RAW, and her work as the Chair of Waikato Women’s Refuge, Annah has become aware of intergenerational disadvantage of family unwellness. Hence the set-up of Kia Puawai, a social venture with new thinking and approach, to address the challenges of obesity, diabetes and chronic unwellness affecting so many New Zealanders.

Talking Points

Leadership: The Secret to Surviving and Thriving in Business

Having survived 30 years in the fashion industry, Annah’s leadership journey is a powerful narrative about disruption and continuous reinvention.

From her start-up days as a wholesaler to New Zealand fashion chain stores, to the successful designer, manufacturer and nation-wide retailer that she is today, Annah knows what it takes to survive and grow through all stages of the business cycle. But it didn’t stop there. An entrepreneur well known for both her business acumen and her philanthropic heart, Annah set up her own foundation in 2013 as part of her succession plan. This enabled Annah to identify new challenges and look for new solutions for some of New Zealand’s more pressing social and fiscal problems.

Annah’s widely recognised achievements in the social ventures space once again showcase her ability to connect, lead and empower through new thinking and adaptive processes.

Heart: Generating profit with a purpose

Right from the beginning, Annah has been an active supporter and contributor to many of New Zealand’s well-loved charities. Back in 2013, however, Annah took her philanthropy to a whole new level with the establishment of the Stretton Foundation as a vehicle to drive social change. It was time to take advantage of all that the fashion industry had taught her to generate real outcomes for some of New Zealand’s largest challenges.

Her first social venture was RAW (Reclaim Another Woman) which is focused on breaking the cycle of intergenerational disadvantage by helping female offenders transition from a life of crime to a life of promise through education, employment and intensive peer support. Her second, Kia Puawai, is focused on redefining the road to better health and wellbeing in the workplace, and in the community, by introducing simple, seamless and sustainable edits to your lifestyle. Her third, Hope Fish, which focuses on building a solidarity structure that delivers real opportunity, inclusion, and support to socially disadvantaged wahine and their tamariki.

Annah's story is one of success and failure, trial and error and disruptive and adaptive leadership, as she challenges the status quo and embraces new normals to drive social change in this country.
We had the absolute pleasure of Annah Stretton addressing the Newmarket Rotary Club earlier this year to educate our members about the RAW programme. She a confident and passionate speaker and what she and her team are achieving with vulnerable and abused women is nothing short of outstanding. A great nationwide support initiative is something that really resonates with Rotary Newmarket Rotary

Interest generated about RAW (Reclaim Another Woman) at the presentation given by Annah Stretton to Women on Boards New Zealand Waikato last night was overwhelming.

Governance New Zealand & Women on Boards

We were very impressed with Annah Stretton’s enthusiasm, communication skills and presentation skills when she recently talked to students enrolled in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at the Fashion Industry training services department of TAFE in South Australia. During the presentation, Annah consistently demonstrated a thorough knowledge of fashion retail, fashion production and how to run a successful business. ANNAH’S DEDICATION TO HER CRAFT AND TO MENTORING OTHERS WAS INSPIRATIONAL TO BOTH LECTURERS AND STUDENTS. We look forward to a continued association with Annah and are sure that both students and staff will benefit from the relationship.

Lecturers Fashion Industry Training Services TAFESA

Every so often you will find that ‘someone’ who - when asked to fulfil a showcase speaker opening slot, or an outstanding grand finale to your event - not only rises to the occasion, but oozes inspiration and purpose from every pore; draining every last second of their day until their pool of contribution is overflowing: Annah Stretton is this person.


Annah provided us with an outstanding key note address for our conference. Her sharp mind and her business acumen was strongly evident and very inspirational for our audience. It is not an exaggeration to say that everyone was hanging off her every word for the whole of her presentation. After she left, many people commented to me that they wanted more time to ask questions, further proving the extent to which she engaged the audience. Annah also did a fantastic job at crafting her presentation so that it paired perfectly with the topics we had asked her to talk to and which were relevant for our audience. Annah’s story is fascinating and her presentation for us was top knotch.

Lumino The Dentists

Over my past ten years in New Zealand I have had the pleasure of working alongside some brilliant entrepreneurial minds, however, never I have met with someone who takes such a refreshing and untapped approach as Annah does. Her extraordinary zest and dedication are quite profound and infectious; once you’ve heard her speak, your mind will be on overload - your energy invigorated.


The best speakers are the ones who not only inspire but who empower us through their words - leading us with passion from whatever position we may currently hold in life. We all know that a charismatic speaker leaves an impression on the audience, large or small, that makes them want to come back for more: Giving nothing other than the 150% (as she does in all of her life and business endeavours), Annah does this by the bucket load!

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