As a market regular, as both a customer and a stall holder, I know that it's getting easier to find high quality, ethically and sustainably made products made right here in New Zealand. But to find them regularly at the same place, is a different story.
With more and more amazing small businesses starting right here in Wellington, it's easy to see that, for a lot of people (myself included), that these businesses aren't the owners' full time gigs, and the commitment to be at a market every weekend after a 40 hour work week can soon become too much.
Driving down Vivian Street one stormy afternoon, I was sitting at the traffic lights when I noticed a big yellow shop, and I thought to myself “what a cool shop that could be — wouldn't it be amazing to have your products on offer at the same place 7 days a week?” I felt instantly inspired and before I was even home I had already sent a message to my closest girls in business to ask "what if I opened a pop up shop? would you join?" The replies came back quick with a resounding yes and I was sold. Within three days I found out we could have the space and it was all go.
To me, framing an ethos behind the store was simple, because organically it's already the ethos which I try to live by - women supporting women, and producing products with sustainable, ethical and philanthropic values. I wanted to provide a space where you could pick up any product in store and know that you were using your purchasing power in a positive way, whether it be through supporting a charity, moving yourself towards a more sustainable lifestyle or supporting a local artist.
I didn't want this to be a normal store, because as a small business owner myself, I know how difficult it can be to get in stores when already working a small profit margin. Instead, I decided to create the store as a collective, where the money from sales was given back to the makers, and where we worked as a team to create the best store we could create.
When I started Smashed Avocados, I thought I would get 20 people together for 8 weeks and that would be it; we would close down and go back to market life. I could have never imagined how customers and business owners alike would respond to the store, and for that, I am so grateful. We’re now in our second rotation of over 40 brands with a third already in the planning. I can't wait to see what happens next and I can't thank everyone enough for supporting my idea.
Artwork by Aimee Sullivan.
Illustrated from left to right, Bridget Feierabend, Ashleigh Thompson, Melissa Stevens, Havilah Arendse, Zoe Flesher.