Motherhood spur to new business

Former primary school teacher Olivia Buckner in her newly opened store Baby on the Move in...
Former primary school teacher Olivia Buckner in her newly opened store Baby on the Move in Cromwell. PHOTOS: SHANNON THOMSON
When Olivia Buckner was pregnant with her daughter, she and her partner struggled to find baby necessities in Central Otago.

There were some online options but the new parents wanted to be able to see and try out products before they bought them.

"We looked at all the different places and there was nowhere we could purchase a buggy. We couldn’t purchase a a car seat. We couldn’t actually touch and hold the products before we bought them," Miss Buckner said.

So the couple drove two cars from Cromwell to Dunedin to shop for everything they needed.

"We wanted to do it in one trip — we were building a house at the time. We were very much money-conscious, so it was one trip."

That experience, and the service and "level of care" the couple received from store Baby on the Move prompted them to open their own store to service the Central Otago region earlier this year.

After toying with the idea Miss Buckner approached the franchise about 12 months ago about establishing a store in Central Otago.

A search for retail space ensued and finally a spot which offered off-street parking with a flat surface suitable for installing car seats was found, next to Farmlands in Cromwell.

After months of planning, fitting out the store and training required to become a car seat technician and to be able to offer other services, Miss Buckner opened the store on Valentine's Day.

The business services all throughout Central Otago, Wanaka and Queenstown.

Support since opening had been "incredible", she said.

"Opening day we had a line up the footpath ... It was just unbelievable ... the support from the Cromwell families has been absolutely out of the park."

Miss Buckner said she wanted to foster a sense of community with the store.

"I’ve come from a [primary] school teaching background and for me community is so important. I wanted to do something that wasn’t just for us as a business, but really as something that would give back to our community," she said.

"Baby on the Move’s philosophy is kind of like that old school approach. So it’s really great customer service. It’s getting to know your customers and really understanding their needs and then finding the right product to match what they need, it’s kind of providing that support.

The new store was equipped with everything parents would need from buggies, cots and car seats through to toys and clothing.

A hire service was also available for families who might not want to spend on big items such as buggies and car seats that might only be used for a short time — or for grandparents needing to use them while family visited from overseas.

"[Offering a hire service] was really important when we were doing this. We know families like us need something and it’s really not sustainable to be driving to Dunedin or Invercargill to get everything."

"You’re kind of capturing all walks of life ... people that are travelling or people that would like to hire rather than purchase," Miss Buckner said.