The minute you meet Anna, owner of Wallis; a womenswear boutique based in the main street downtown Mount Maunganui, you immediately feel her sense of enthusiasm for this diverse community and neighbourhood Anna is proud and happy to now call home. Time to pick Anna’s brains around business life post lockdown in her new location.
So how’s the Mount treating you Anna? I absolutely love being in my new shop and being based here! All the other retailers have been so welcoming and there’s a real sense of support and togetherness. To be honest I wasn’t sure about keeping the shop which was then based in Maunganui Road near Blake Park, but being in lockdown gave me time to reflect and process the “where to from here”.
I realised I loved the interaction and connection with all my customers so after some thought we decided to shut up shop in Auckland, where Wallis originated, and move our Mount Maunganui shop into the Mount Main Street. It’s a great spot and we couldn’t be happier. So post-Covid lockdown; how’s business? I’m lucky that I have developed great relationships with our suppliers and the majority of our labels are New Zealand designed and over half are still made in NZ so it feels good to continue to support local. In the same essence, we’ve had lots of local support as well as people visiting Mount Maunganui as domestic tourists so it’s been great. I think we’ve all realised that if we don’t support our local retailers or operators they won’t be here so that change in attitude is the real silver lining post lockdown.
How has Grace Team helped you? One of my closest friends referred Grace Team Accounting to us and they were integral to getting us set up from the beginning when we made the decision to move to the Main street. It’s so important when you’re making these big decisions, that you get all the support you can and the number one stand out for us is they’re not just accountants, they are the total business support package. From helping us get set up on Vend (POS System) to nutting out Xero they have worked alongside us every step of the way. Best advice you’ve received? I was very lucky that my mum was my mentor. Mum had a stall selling her own hand painted tee shirts in Cook St Market back in the day and she started Wallis in Auckland all those years ago. Cook St Market was a thriving, creative hub of all these passionate and colourful people who loved what they did and that passion for what you do is something passed down to me. Mum always taught me the importance of balance and to enjoy life to the full. She was a real entrepreneur and an absolute inspiration for business as well as life. Best advice you would give? Don’t try and do everything yourself because you can’t. Utilise the knowledge of people around you and surround yourself with great people like Grace Team Accounting. Don’t be afraid to not know everything. Your why? Lockdown really gave me the time out I needed to realise just how much I love the social interaction in the shop. It’s such a buzz for me when I see someone walk out of the shop feeling happy. I love how fashion makes people feel - empowered and full of confidence. If you had 3 more hours in the day what would you do? Just hang out with the family - there’s nothing better