It’s always interesting asking local business operators how they ended up…
The bulk of my childhood was spent in Oamaru, close to the Ocean, Southern Lakes and extended family. However, the summers were spent with us kids following Mum and Dad to Nelson and Central Otago as they grew and sold cherries around the South Island. Reflecting back on those days of hectic markets and cherry-picking, starting at the ripe old age of 8, you could say that we were bred for a business environment!
Further down the track, I had studied to be a Nurse at Otago Polytech and was unsure on my career path but persisted, moving north and starting a role at Nelson Hospital. Only a short year later, I got itchy feet and found an exciting recruitment position at Sealord. I was curious enough to chance an application, and that was that. I spent five years working in various parts of the business before ending up in a management role with the factory fleet. This role was fast-paced, pressured and exciting, I really had no idea the personal and professional growth I would experience working in such a dynamic environment. I thrive in higher pressured situations and love operations and creative thinking. However, lurking in the background had been the desire to build further on my financial acumen, work in a smaller business model and fully realise the impact decision-making has on business performance.
My escape from the chaos was helping a friend at her beautiful clothing store, Palm Boutique, on the odd Saturday to give her a break. It was this relationship that lead her to pull me aside when she wanted to sell. This was an exciting opportunity, for one, I was going to be able to get ground roots business experience I was craving, and two, I am absolutely passionate about quality slow fashion that supports our people, planet and economy! This passion extends to my own creations when I have the time. You can find me trying to perfect the art of shoe-making when I get a few seconds to breathe! I am absolutely loving working for myself, and I really enjoy getting to know my incredible customers. The amount of successful, strong women we have in Nelson is humbling! Owning a business gives you accountability in every way, you have no choice but to own every decision you make, which is stressful at times but incredibly rewarding.
Throughout the journey I have made in Nelson, the people I have met have given me all the support I have needed to succeed. However, it took me a couple of years to make relationships of significance. Workmates came and went, with the exception of a few who have become lifetime friends, and so three years in, I went along to my first Nelson Young Professionals event and found a real community. This has been such an excellent foundation for business, my social life and other development opportunities. I am now President, which sounds a tad more important than it is, but I am very passionate non-the-less! We are volunteers who strive to make Nelson a great place to work, play and stay for young professionals.
Send your young people to NYP if you want them to find their feet here in our region. Trust me, a supportive and connected community is the key to engaging young talent in our region, and we are doing the work for you. Oh, and be sure to pop into Palm Boutique to say hello and look at the beautiful, sustainable fashion New Zealand, and the world has to offer.