Women in business

We believe they should be celebrated every day. But this week we're celebrating wonderful women a little bit extra to mark International Women’s Day (Thursday 8th March).

A photo of Elisha Watson.

Auckland

Eat & Drink, Shops

We take a look at some of our favourite female business owners in New Zealand..

A photo of Robyn Mclean and Mary Bond from Hello Cup

Robyn Mclean and Mary Bond, Hello Cup

Wellington, NZ

In 2017, registered nurse and journalist duo Mary and Robyn cast their current careers aside and came together to create a genius thing to end all genius things: a reusable menstrual cup called the Hello Cup.

Made in New Zealand and fully recyclable, the Hello Cup is changing the lives of women all over the country due to their cost efficiency and convenience. The landfills will be sighing with relief too – each year over seven billion sanitary items pile up in landfills – a bloody nuisance to our planet.

The Hello Cup idea was born after Mary and Robyn (best friends since year seven) had been chatting about how amazing menstrual cups were and decided to go on a hunt for a Kiwi-made one, but their search was not fruitful. This, Robyn says, was their light-bulb moment where they decided it was time to put their brains together and design and produce their own cup. “We love that we are doing something that makes the lives of our customers better and easier...the old cliche ‘find something you love and it won’t feel like work’ applies to us at the moment. We’re loving it.”

A photo of Rachel and Anjali from Twenty Seven Names

Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, Twenty Seven Names

152 Vivian Street, Te Aro
Wellington

In 2017 Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, owners of much loved New Zealand clothing label Twenty-Seven Names celebrated 10 full years in business. And what a ten years it has been.

Best friends since primary school, Rachel and Anjali started Twenty-Seven Names as a way of working together creatively after graduating from their respective fine arts and fashion degrees. Since then, it has become a label loved by many women both here and abroad.

But it’s more than just beautiful clothes – Anjali and Rachel say they feel responsible to the people who make, sell and wear their clothes and are always trying to make choices that support women, help local and small businesses and cause the least harm on the environment. “We put our hearts into this business and it's really rewarding. We now have an amazing team to support us and we are so proud to be two women in business that are free to make our own choices and goals.”

A photo of Ava with her son.

Ava Nakagawa, Little Pom’s

294 Kilmore Street, Christchurch

When asked about her favourite part of her job, Little Pom’s owner Ava Nakagawa says, “the people. We’ve got amazing food and coffee which inspires me but it’s the people that make it and serve it. I love my team, they’re just the best group of humans – alongside my Pom’s crew.” And visitors to Little Pom’s will realise very quickly that the feeling is mutual – the people love Ava and Little Pom’s, too.

Open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, the cafe has a loyal following who flock for their morning coffees, breakfasts, lunches and brunches. With a delicious menu focused on being seasonal and fresh as well supporting local producers, it’s not wonder there’s rarely an empty table in sight.

Since opening in October 2016, Little Pom’s has been a haven of good food, good drinks and good people – three ingredients which make this cosy neighbourhood cafe a favourite for Cantabrians.

A photo of Elisha and her team.

Elisha Watson, Nisa

Wellington, NZ

Elisha Watson is founder and owner of Wellington-based underwear company Nisa. It’s not just any old knicker company though – Nisa employees women from a refugee background to create “kick-ass” undies whilst providing them with engaging and meaningful paid work.

We recently spoke to Elisha for a Neat People profile, but she was so cool we couldn’t resist including her in this round up, too. Previously working as a lawyer and volunteering with the Red Cross in her spare time helping refugees resettle in New Zealand, Elisha found unable to help refugees with one vital thing – a job. “I thought starting a social enterprise would be a great way to help them out and give them their first job in New Zealand... once they have their first job under their bet, it’s to much easier for them to establish a career here.”

A photo of Tessa Peach

Tessa Peach, Frances Nation

The Arts Centre, 28 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch

You don’t have to be a genius to know that Tessa Peach, owner of Frances Nation is one. In a small shop, Tessa has created a beautiful celebration of New Zealand made daily wares that has both visitors and inhabitants of Christchurch in a trance (the scent of beautiful natural products might be playing a part in that, too).

Having worked at popular London grocers store, Leila’s Shop, Tessa was inspired to create something of her own at home in New Zealand. “Working for Leila’s made got me thinking about how great it could be to establish a homewares shop with a similar attitude to that of a grocers. Why not choose local producers, quality and natural ingredients for our homewares as well as our groceries?”

A photo of Sian Watts and Brona Parsons from Federal Diner

Sian Watts and Brona Parsons, Federal Diner

47 Helwick Street
Wanaka

Wanaka’s Federal Diner or “The Fed” as locals call it, has been a favourite hospo hot spot since its opening in 2010 and owners Sian Watts and Brona Parsons have played a big part in this.

Coming from a chef background and a business management background respectively, both owners bring different skills to the business, which Sian says is a key part of how they operate. “Brona and I work well as a team, we’re both quite different which is great as we bring different skills to the table that compliment each other.”

Committed to providing seasonal, sustainable fare, Federal Diner is open seven days a week and is always brimming with locals and visitors enjoying a drink or a bite to eat in The Fed’s relaxed and fun setting. Hectic as they may be running this popular spot, Brona says the people in the team make it worth it. “We have a great and diverse team from travellers to young school kids and long term locals. It’s very satisfying when we have a crazy busy day and by the end of the day everyone is shattered but we can still have a good laugh.”

A photo of Lilly from The Colombo.

Lilly Cooper, The Colombo

363 Colombo Street, Sydenham
Christchurch

Lilly Cooper took ownership of The Colombo site in 2010, two weeks before the first Christchurch earthquake. “After that, everything changed – The Colombo was going to be something totally different – but after the quakes we needed a space like this for people to enjoy and to come together.” And what Lilly has created at The Colombo has done just that.

Hosting a range of food, fashion, homewares and textile outlets, The Colombo acts not only as a stylish approach to a shopping complex, but as a social hub for locals and visitors to explore. Busy as she may be managing this hot spot alongside other projects, Lilly says it’s the variety that keeps her on the ball, “everyday is a new challenge. I’m constantly learning about new trends and ideas and taking inspiration from what I see here and overseas.” This thought and attention given by Lilly and her team have made The Colombo a treasured asset in Christchurch’s post-quake landscape.

A photo of Natasha Mead.

Natasha Mead, Natasha Mead Studios

Auckland, NZ

Spending her days doing packaging and web design, brand identity and art direction for some of New Zealand’s most loved brands, Natasha Mead is one hell of a woman. Natasha started Natasha Mead Studios in 2013 and has been going from strength to strength since. Her clients include Lonely Label, Penny Sage, Sans [ceuticals] and Douglas & Bec. These days, she has a half-time side-kick, Natalie and works with web developer-whizz Joe in her little studio in her garden in Freemans Bay, Auckland.

A photo of Ami Muir from Pepa Stationary

Ami Muir, Pepa Stationary

The Arts Centre, Christchurch

Since October 14th 2017 Ami Muir has been making an impact on people's lives through an unlikely tool: stationery.

Pepa is Ami’s stationery shop situated in the Christchurch Arts Centre selling stationery and accessories all sourced from independent producers from around the world. But it’s more than just that. Pepa is a platform for doing good in the world – Pepa post being a shining example of this. “Each month we collectively write to a stranger. Someone who's been nominated to receive an outpouring of love in the form of anonymous letter...people can write letters and we send them onto that stranger for the month. The Pepa community is full of kind people wanting to support others. I’m excited to let Pepa grow into doing more good in the world.”

Just over four months in and it’s clear that the world is excited to have Ami and Pepa in it, too.