Peri Drysdale

Peri Drysdale

Peri Drysdale is a renowned New Zealand entrepreneur and founder of Untouched World, well-known for her sustainable approach to fashion. She was born on March 18, 1953, in Christchurch, New Zealand, and is considered a pioneer in eco-friendly clothing and sustainable leadership.

Drysdale started her entrepreneurial journey in 1981 when she launched a home-based garment manufacturing business called “Snowy Peak” with a modest capital of $200. First, she employed people to knit upscale apparel—such as gloves, jumpers, hats, and scarves—for a few Christchurch retailers. By 1985, her business had grown significantly, with 500 outworkers working for her.

In 1996, Drysdale devised an innovative idea to blend possum fur with merino wool and launched the world’s first yarn that combined the two, calling it “merinomink.” This was part of her experimentation with certified organic, eco-friendly wool and cotton. Her business became well-known internationally in 1999 after it was selected to supply clothing for world leaders in Auckland for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

Apart from her work in sustainable fashion, Drysdale founded the Untouched World Foundation in 2000, a charitable trust focused on developing sustainable leadership in young people. The foundation has worked on several environmental projects, such as the 2010 release of kiwi and the attainment of predator-free status on Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

Peri Drysdale’s contributions have received widespread recognition. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1993 for her services in manufacturing and exporting. She has also received numerous awards, including the South Island Businesswoman of the Year award in 2002, the North & South magazine’s “New Zealander of the Year” award in 2005, and an honorary doctorate from Lincoln University in 2007. In 2008, she won the Supreme Award at the World Class New Zealand Awards, and in 2020, she was inducted into the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame.

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