Boutique fills a niche

Dolly Birds Designer Boutique has been able to find a niche market in the community. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dolly Birds Designer Boutique has been able to find a niche market in the community. Photo by Craig Baxter.

Honestly, you have no idea how hard it is to find a swish dress for a birthday party.

It was a major issue for Michelle Taylor early last year, when she and her mother Diane McKewen searched high and low around Dunedin for something nice to wear to her birthday celebrations.

''It got us to thinking,'' Mrs McKewen said.

''We thought there was a need for fashionable one-off items. We thought, what if we had a little shop somewhere.

''We came across one in Mosgiel for lease and we thought, let's give it a go.''

So they teamed up with Mrs McKewen's younger daughter, Hayley Hollander, and Dolly Birds Designer Boutique was born.

Since opening in August last year, the store has had a constant stream of people coming through, looking for attire for special occasions.

Mrs McKewen said the family business came together almost by magic.

The timing was perfect.

Mrs Taylor and her husband had just returned from London to start a family, and Miss Hollander had just returned from Gisborne after working a part-time job and raising a young son.

Apart from being able to fill a niche market in the community, Mrs McKewen said the best thing about the new business was that it had brought her two daughters closer together.

''It's nice to see. It's great to be able to spend so much time with family and do something we all enjoy.

''Working with family works well. We take turns at working in the shop - we rarely work together at once.

''That's probably why it works so well,'' she joked.

''Because our ages are so different, we all have different tastes.

''Something that I think looks nice, my daughters say `oh no'.

''The diversity brings balance to the business.''

The husbands are often left to their own devices during family gatherings, while the women talk business, she said.

''You know men - they just leave us to it.

''They are very supportive.''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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