Relocating her fashion store from Fendalton Rd to Victoria St in August 2010 did not generate the business that Bianca Waghorn expected.
Six months later, things took a turn for the worse. Her baby arrived four weeks early and was born a week before the February 2011 earthquake.
"Victoria St was a mess, our house was damaged, my ex-husband moved to Queensland and I was taking my baby to work," she said.
Waghorn has relocated to a shop in a new neighbourhood and says "the foot traffic alone in Merivale is 80 per cent up and things are looking much better".
My New Neighbourhood, a series detailing the displacement of food and fashion businesses affected by the quakes, begins today in Zest.
My first fashion shop was in Sumner. I had worked in fashion for 18 years, I had modelled at trade shows, worked for some quite well-known fashion retailers and been a fashion buyer, so I knew quite a bit about how the business works.
Dfusion in Sumner was very successful. I wanted to come to town though and relocated to Fendalton. That was a good business too. Then because I still wanted a bigger shop I moved to Victoria St. That was in August 2010. It was not a good move. In my businesses I have always done everything, from doing the accounts to buying the stock to working in the store, but Victoria St was just too hard.
A week before the February 22 earthquake my baby was born. She was four weeks premature. The cones and fences went up in Victoria St, the road was dug up, we had no power, and at least twice I had to shut the shop. I had been planning to work part- time as we have other children as well, but my ex- husband relocated to Australia and I had to bring Coco - that's my baby's name - to work. I now have childcare but there are still all the other family things including school runs on the other side of town.
Our house was damaged and to date we have moved four times. It has been a nightmare and I have been really stressed and I've drunk a lot of wine. But I have settled into my new shop at 198 Papanui Road which is pretty much in the middle of Merivale, and I feel I am getting somewhere. The premises are brand new. When a building has been demolished it is hard to recall what the businesses were before but I think it might have been a hairdresser.
I have always loved fashion and I enjoy having my own shop. We have good labels from Australia and Europe as well as NZ and we also have "vintage" - good secondhand labels - upstairs.
It has been dismal but things are looking up.
AS TOLD TO KATE FRASER
- The Press