Leah and Paul Jackson are passionate about designing, making and sourcing unique and ethically made gifts. Their shared vision is evident in their newly opened business, Paddington Store. “We were convinced that Tauranga was ready for a high-end gift store that would showcase great design and offer inspirational and innovative products,” they say. With its trendy ambience “Our Place”, in downtown Tauranga, was the perfect location to start. “It makes working not feel like work,” Leah reckons. “We love the environment of “Our Place” with its music, food and entertainment.”
As a couple, Leah and Paul bring an ideal blend of experience to their business. Leah has designed and made products for their other business, ‘Daffy and Yarn’, which they sell to over 30 stores around the country. She has also just finished 3 years of study focusing on graphic design. Paul works in sales for a wholesale music company for 9 years selling to music stores across New Zealand.
What is unique about Paddington Store? “We are a store for anyone and everyone looking for gifts that are unique, fun and ethically made,“ says Leah. “The challenge is to continuously find new, unique products that are a little bit special!” Paul adds, ”Choosing beautiful products that our customers will love is our passion. We love to meet people and hear about their stories. Knowing those stories helps us to select products that we think will appeal.”
It isn’t always straightforward to source new, fresh products in the right quantities, and to work within the physical constraints of a small outlet. But both Paul and Leah are up for the challenge. “We are really happy with the way things have come together in terms of product range and store set up. Working with a small space has really challenged us to think creatively.”
“The container store has been a perfect place for us to launch Paddington Store and we see our business as a long-term investment in the local economy. We would also love to open a few stores around New Zealand in the future!”
There have been a few lessons along the way for Leah and Paul. Leah says: “We have learned the importance of focusing the range of products. The knack is to find the products that are the most sought after and make sure you never run out of them. It is also important to be on the constant look out for new products as the seasons change.” Paul adds: “Cash flow is key and you need to make sure that you have a spare bit of money when starting to do follow up orders on products that sell. And they both agree, “Always be open to changing things if they don’t work.”
Interested in finding a gift with design flair and shopping in Tauranga’s trendiest pop up store precinct? Leah and Paul would love to see you at Paddington Store, “Our Place”, 91 Willow St.
Image credit: Erin Cave.