Mall draws fashionista to Chch

23:40, Nov 23 2012

The owner of clothing boutique Clash says the concept of the Re:START container mall prompted him to open his second store in Christchurch.

For Christchurch-born Nick Paulsen, opening his second store in his former home town after launching the business in Auckland less than six months ago was a bit of a risk.

He had not been too sure about the wider market in Christchurch and exactly what would happen elsewhere in the city, but when he came down and saw the Re:START mall, Paulsen was "sold" and he knew he wanted to be part of it.

Paulsen, who lived in Christchurch until he and his family moved to Auckland about seven years ago, began his career with a stint as a porter at The Centra before going on to become manager at Amazon Surfwear in Hornby.

When he moved to Auckland he joined the company's head office, where he became the visual merchandiser for Amazon Surfwear New Zealand.

What does a visual merchandiser do? It involves making sure stores have a great look and feel, consistently across the country.


Snowboarding brand Huffer then recruited Paulsen to help them move from a wholesale model to a retail sales model.

By then Paulsen realised he had a passion for fashion and customer service and wanted to do something new.

"I sat down with my dad one day and we decided to open something."

His father is Chris Paulsen, the founder of House of Travel, so he had a mentor close at hand.

Paulsen said he had always wanted to have his own business, but he didn't know when that would be.

He spent six to eight months doing his homework on the market, brands and overseas stores before launching the business.

It was a "pretty tough time" for retail but he had been fortunate to find family and private investors to support the business.

He opened the first Clash store in Newmarket in June this year.

The name and concept for the edgy clothing boutique is partly inspired by English punk rock band The Clash - Paulsen has an extensive vinyl collection and "London Calling" was top of the heap when he and his friends were trying to come up with a name for the business.

The Clash created a movement with its music and fashion, which Paulsen admired, but "clash" has more significance than just the punk rock band, he said.

"The word 'clash' says we encourage people not to be afraid to try new things and there's nothing wrong with being different."

Some of the brands the store stocks have a long history, such as Baracuta, which dates back to 1937.

That appealed not just to an older generation but also to young people who increasingly wanted to know the story behind their clothing, Paulsen said.

There was a trend to go op shopping and to buy vintage clothing or brands with a story or cool concept behind them, he said.

The success of the Auckland store had prompted him to pursue a second store in Christchurch.

"I have a real attachment to Christchurch, being brought up here and having lived here most of my life. I loved the concept of Re:START mall.

"Once I had been down here I was sold."

The Press