2024 Honorees

Laura Thompson

CEO and Co-founder

“Our motto is to unite Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through fashion and a cause.”


Tell us about your company and role.

Clothing The Gaps is an Aboriginal social enterprise and B-Corp that has become one of Australia’s largest Aboriginal-owned and operated clothing labels. Our motto is to unite Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through fashion and a cause.

My co-founder and I first witnessed the power of fashion to create social change when we saw the impact Aboriginal-designed merchandise had on encouraging members of the Indigenous community to attend our programs and adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours.

How would you describe yourself?

As a proud Gunditjamara woman, I’ve never felt more self-determined than I have in business. Business has given me the freedom to be my silly self, to experiment, to be creative, to set my own goals and chase down opportunities based on my own values and interests.  I would say I have a continuous improvement mindset. What I mean by this is that the work is never done! You often hear me at work saying “we’re getting there”. It wasn’t until a team member pointed this out, I realised that we never actually get there because I am always looking for how we can constantly continue to strive to be better! It helped me see I need to celebrate the small wins along the way.

What qualities do you think a successful founder needs to have?

Founders must be passionate about their product or service if they’re going to be motivated to keep pushing through challenging times. If I were selling tees that didn’t spark conversations and support First Nations people and causes important to them, I’d be unmotivated and out!

Founding a business is one the hardest and most rewarding things you will ever do in your lifetime and founders need to stand for their values and make a difference.

What has been your biggest professional success so far?

My biggest professional success so far was when Clothing The Gaps spearheaded the ‘Free The Flag’ campaign for over two years. After being served with a ‘cease and desist’ notice for using the Aboriginal flag on our clothing. This brand advocacy resulted in finally liberating the iconic flag from copyright restrictions enabling it to be available for public use. 

Pattern art Pattern art

What causes are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about many things but First Nations justice and truth telling are my priorities. Clothing The Gaps is also supporting the ‘Our Island Our Home’ campaign which focuses on the impact climate change has on the Torres Strait Islander Communities and where rising sea levels are already threatening homes and damaging fresh water supplies, crops, burial grounds, and sacred cultural sites.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing eCommerce brands?

I think the biggest challenge right now would be the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on consumer spending. People are thinking twice about if they really “need” another tee in their wardrobe. Now it’s a case for brands to rethink strategies and refocus to align with a changing consumer mindset.

What's your favorite loyalty program or subscription offering from an eCommerce brand?

This question is a tricky one for me because I am constantly choosing to buy from First Nations businesses and don’t recall any of them having a loyalty program as yet. Overall though, I do believe loyalty can also be built on shared values of social responsibility, sustainability, and quality rather than just traditional rewards programs.

What do you geek out over?

Is it weird that I geek out over Shopify plugins and emojis? If you see a post on Clothing The Gaps with lots of emojis, you can guarantee that it was me who posted it!