Artisan & Merchant hits the market

We spoke to boutique clothing and homeware store, Artisan & Merchant, about their business hitting the market.

You have decided to sell your business Gretti.  This must have been a difficult decision. How did you come to it?

Yes, I have decided to sell my store and yes, it was a very difficult decision, but definitely the right one for me. Unfortunately, due to ongoing health issues, I had to have a really good look at how I was doing things and the changes I could make to make things a little easier for me day to day.

Something had to give, I needed to lighten my insane workload and give my body the break it needs.

The logical change to make was to sell my store and focus on the wholesale side of my business, so I will keep my clothing label Honest John and focus on building this into a bigger wholesale company… I now stock my label in quite a few stores around NZ, so it was the obvious choice. It means I can be free to work when and where I want to and when I feel well enough to do so, and to be able to focus all my energy on designing and creating. 

It also means I have the freedom to live wherever I want to, so I’ve decided to move to lovely Bali and base myself there for a bit and see how that feels. 

It has a fantastic fashion production industry, so I can have my label produced there by an ethical producer… and live a gentler, slower life…the bonus being that I absolutely love Bali and have wanted to move there for years, so it was a no brainer for me…. Living the dream on a beautiful tropical island…why wouldn’t you?

What is the timing you have in mind for the selling process?

Well…because I’ve decided to take a year off and do a world trip before I move to Bali, which means I will need to have 4 collections designed and finished before I go so that I can keep supplying my wholesale stores while I’m travelling… and developing 4 collections is a whole lotta work…. so I’m going to need a bit of time!! 

I’m flexible of course, but, ideally, I’d love to exchange with the new owner around Oct/Nov. That way, it gives me time to get organised and I can get the shop ready for the summer for the new owners…to make it an easy transition for them.

What is your biggest sense of accomplishment with the development of your brand and store?

Well, it was a total gamble when I started my label and decided to open a store to sell it… I had no idea how people would receive it, whether Raglan was the place to do that, or whether it would be a complete disaster, so I guess it’s a great sense of achievement that I’ve developed a clothing brand that now has a pretty big and loyal following. The demand from other stores to stock my label has gone a little crazy, so that is definitely confirmation that I must be doing something right. 

I’ve worked in fashion retail for years, all over the world, so I wasn’t too worried about opening a store…that comes quite naturally to me, and I was pretty sure I could make it work… but the label was a massive risk that thankfully has paid off… in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

What will you miss the most about the day to day?

I love retail, I love dressing people and making them feel good about themselves, and I love my regular customers, so I will miss that for sure! I will miss the crazy busy days when it’s non-stop all day and the adrenaline rush that comes with that. I’ll miss my little store too – I love the space I have created there.  

But mostly, I will miss the wonderfully mad crew of friends I have here in Raglan and the special community that inhabits this town. It is such a unique place; I lived all over the world for more than 20 years and I’ve never come across another place quite like it! But I’m going to keep my house here, so I’ll be back to visit often.

What do you intend to do moving forward?

Well, aside from selling up, travelling and then moving to Bali, I’m hoping to live a more balanced life. I need to learn to slow down, to take a step back and to be OK with doing that! In saying that, I do have a couple of other business ideas that I want to play around with once I get to Indonesia…definitely keeping it within the creative vein…but let’s just see how things unfold! To be honest, I’m just looking forward to the unknown!

Contact  Steve Pett  re sale of business; Commercial Sales, Business and Brokerage 0275604838 or email steve.pett@bayleyswaikato.co.nz