Quake shakes up expansion plans
Nelson designer stays local, moves onlineMICHELLE SUTTON
Fashion designer Emma Manhart is continuing with her retail expansion plans after they were almost scuttled by Christchurch's big earthquake.
The qualified engineer, who also has her own clothing label, was about to open her second fashion store in Christchurch when the February earthquake struck, just three days before her store opened.
The big tremor severely damaged the building, on New Regent Street, which had just undergone its fit-out. It remains inaccessible in the red zone and Ms Manhart was forced to return to her Hardy St Nelson store and postpone her expansion plans.
However, next month the designer will have another attempt at opening her second shop - a digital store.
The online presence, an expansion of her website, was possible because it had a reduced risk, with minimising overhead costs, she said.
It also fitted in with her philosophy to remain locally based - her 10 part-time and permanent were all from Nelson where she made all her clothing and material.
"The earthquake forced me to look at my overall business and my plan to open a second boutique along the same lines as my Nelson base, but with a sustainable model.
"I only employ staff in Nelson, I don't import or export the work to any foreign countries, my aim is to have a zero carbon foot print and on-line fits with that."
"It fits in with my engineering work, which I still do from time to time, but now I get to do both - for me it's all the same because it's all design."
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