It was 16 years ago when my Dad John, fresh off the back of five years as an accountant at EziBuy, New Zealand’s biggest mail order business, floated the idea of us getting into the rag trade and opening a shop.
I was enjoying my new found freedom from school in my first job as a retail assistant for Cue, at the tender age of 16 (below in the Bee Gees White Suit).
Mum (Sheila) was busy working at the Wellington Central Library as a book buyer but keen for a fresh adventure and to build something for ourselves.
Dad often talked about the potential of the industry, and along with Mum had already had a crack at a mail order business during our three years in Perth, Australia… which proved tougher than first imagined.
Undeterred, over some Chardonnay (the Ford’s fave) and against the backdrop of 2002’s general election, we knew BoxHill had to exist. There were big faceless chain brands or ‘old ladies shops’ but nothing that blended age-appropriate-trendy, quality clothes AND great personal service.
BoxHill has, and always will, hand pick beautiful ranges and help customers match them to their style, age, look and shape. We want our customers to not only feel confident and stylish, but to feel like family and friends. BoxHill is the fashion retailer that cares more and knows you better.
With stock to buy, a shop to lease and customers to attract, it was all pretty daunting to get started.
I still remember Mum and I cruising up to Auckland in our “executive” Hyundai Sonata with beige seats and faux walnut steering wheel to splash out on our first stock.
With the 'Apparel Trade Directory' as our GPS, we power-suited our way through several meetings and eyeballed hundreds of garments. After hand-selecting our stock using the timeless strategy of ‘choosing-things-we-liked’ we headed back to a paint flecked Dad who was knee deep in saw dust, setting up our first cute wee shop with TradeMe-chic fitting rooms, a counter and racks.
We decided on the name BoxHill, because it’s one of the main roads between the family home in Khandallah and our first location, nestled among the row of cafés and shops in Ngaio.
After opening the doors late 2002 we awaited the scrambling hoards like a some modern day Black Friday stampede. Of course, it started as a trickle, but slowly, the few turned into many and word spread. We were in business and that first shop ended up being our longest running shop (10 years).
Over the years we’ve opened twelve different shops, from Paramata to Lambton Quay, Kilbirnie to Aro Valley, some working better than others.
Now, we’re in our newly renovated Thorndon shop and have grown our online store massively, with the same ethos and focus on what we now call Platinum Personal Service.
Also, BoxHill is now being taken care of a growing family: starting from Mum Sheila, Dad John, and Erin together now with Rich and little Holly.
Although the road has not always been smooth, we’ve managed to stay the course and feel blessed and grateful that our customers, many who are now good friends, keep supporting us and coming back for more.
This is just the start and we’re glad to have you!