Results for the Tempo Readers' Choice Awards are in. Aimie Cronin talks to one of the winners about his new store, Recycle Boutique, how he got into the retail business, and what it's like being one of Waikato's nicest bosses.
Andrew Anderson was out of work with no immediate plans, when his dad phoned one day, asking if he wanted to go into business.
"Initially, I thought, ‘Oh, it'll be sweet, it'll be easy as . . .' but I retract that statement."
Anderson is 24 but looks younger. He's well dressed in a hip, street kind of way, and he's a heck of a nice guy.
He has been in trouble with previous employers for "not being aggressive enough, but I'm a firm believer in letting [employees] know they've let me down and they won't do it again. You don't need to yell."
Anderson praises his "amazing" staff who have worked hard alongside him since the store opened in September.
He says they have all been busy not only making sales, but also organising systems for each item people bring into the store.
"Nothing in here is owned by us. We have almost 400 people on the system now and each of those people has brought in at least one massive bag full of clothes. It needs a bit of organisation. There's a lot of administration work in that side of it."
What's surprising is the range of clientele that visit the store. After school, the place swarms with youngsters, but during the day, there are men and women of all ages on the lookout for a bargain.
Denim cut-off vests are the hottest-selling item for females, Anderson says, and men are into shoes, clothing by Federation and Huffer and simple, baggy T-shirts.
Staff members price each item depending on its condition, whether it's a desirable label and current season. A black, fringed Zambesi dress in excellent condition is a couple of hundred dollars, but a Karen Walker dress from the Hi There range is priced about $100 - not cheap, but much cheaper than new.
Anderson admits he has become more fashionable since the new business venture.
"My wardrobe has probably tripled," he says. "You've got to look the part, I suppose."
People can sell their clothes through Recycle Boutique and will receive 50 per cent once the item has sold.
Best restaurant: Agenda
Best cafe: Scotts Epicurean
Best takeaways: Wong's Kitchen
Best bar/pub: House & Agenda
Best ethnic eatery: Little India
Best gourmet food supplier: Nosh
Best shoe store: Hannahs
Best jewellery store: Michael Hill
Best clothing store: THE WHITE ROOM
Best home decor: Freedom Furniture
Best Waikato event: Balloons over Waikato
Best Waikato destination: Raglan, New Zealand
Best hair salon: Modo
Best spa or beauty store: The Caci Clinic
Best new store: Recycle Boutique Hamilton