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Posted on by Lesley Armstrong

Hi, I'm Lesley Armstrong, I'm a Kiwi, I live in Whangarei, and I started Shopnz.com (originally Shopenzed.com) in 2000.  Why?  Well that is quite a story.
In 1997, I had triplets.  Yes triplets!  And life changed.  I wondered who would employ me if I had three babies.  I'd spent 15 wonderful years working in the clothing industry, in both manufacturing and retailing, but could I go back?  Wouldn't I be constantly having to take time off work to tend to illness, teething, etc?  I couldn't see a way, so I started looking around for what I could do at home.  A friend had sent self-feeding baby bottles from the USA, and they were a godsend, so I figured out how to import them and sell them in New Zealand.

Then another good friend and her husband visited from the USA.  During a short 2-hour visit, her husband, who imported goods into the USA to on-sell to retailers who had catalogue businesses, suggested I sell a line of jewellery for him on the internet.  I could sell it, and he would ship it.  So I thought, OK, I'll just have to learn how to sell on the internet first!

As a tester, I tried selling a book on eBay.  That went well.  So I started selling his jewellery.  But then I'd get buyers saying "oh you're from New Zealand, could you get me this.....".  So I went and bought the item, put it on eBay, and they bought it from me.  And I figured, well if they want it maybe someone else does too!  So I bought more.  Then another person would ask me for something, and another, and another.  I started taking a few items every week to the post office to ship.  I got to be quite friendly with the PO staff.  But then it grew to me taking a suitcase of parcels to the post office, and they got a bit tetchy as the queues grew behind me.  Then I found out the post office would come to me to pick up my parcels, and life got a little easier. 
Then people started asking me where my website was.  Hmm.  I didn't have the money to pay someone else the tens of thousands of dollars required to build a website, so I looked around online for what I could build myself, from a template.  Nothing worked perfectly, particularly as these were the early days of online retail in New Zealand.  Then I was in The Warehouse one day, looking in a bin of CD-Roms, and I spied a NZ based website building CD-Rom, for the princely sum of $29.95.  I had nothing to lose, so I bought it.  And that was the start of Shopenzed.com (which we recently shortened to ShopNZ.com). 
Then people started saying they were coming to New Zealand and could they visit my (then nonexistent) shop.  At that time I was working out of boxes, but we managed to convert part of the house to a showroom and office, and now we have a steady stream of locals and tourists visiting. 

What you get
Shopping isn't just about buying a product.  And retailing isn't just about selling stuff.  It's also about people and values and experiences.
What you find in the shop is what you asked for.  So although we say ShopNZ is a Kiwiana and Maori gift store, it's actually a collection of items that people both locally and worldwide said "Lesley can you get this for me?"
Because we stock what you want, we stock both NZ Made items and those designed in NZ but made off-shore.
Everyone who works at ShopNZ is a Kiwi, either by birth or citizenship.  But please note, my staff haven't been chosen by their nationality, they've been chosen because they have the Kiwi can-do spirit.  We all try damned hard to stock what you want, get your orders processed quickly and efficiently, get your purchases to you promptly and safely, and to communicate with you respectfully and promptly.  We are human, so we do make mistakes, but we try to put them right as soon as we can.
The communication with you is one of the most loved parts of any work day.  Your telling us why you have made a purchase, or what it means to you, is an absolute highlight.  So don't be afraid to chat, post an email, phone us up or visit - we'll be thrilled to hear from you!  Our philosophy is one of old-school care of the customer - we'll do our utmost best to get you what you want, when you want, and with a smile.

 

Hi, I'm Lesley Armstrong, I'm a Kiwi, I live in Whangarei, and I started Shopnz.com (originally Shopenzed.com) in 2000.  Why?  Well that is quite a story.
In 1997, I had triplets.  Yes triplets!  And life changed.  I wondered who would employ me if I had three babies.  I'd spent 15 wonderful years working in the clothing industry, in both manufacturing and retailing, but could I go back?  Wouldn't I be constantly having to take time off work to tend to illness, teething, etc?  I couldn't see a way, so I started looking around for what I could do at home.  A friend had sent self-feeding baby bottles from the USA, and they were a godsend, so I figured out how to import them and sell them in New Zealand.

Then another good friend and her husband visited from the USA.  During a short 2-hour visit, her husband, who imported goods into the USA to on-sell to retailers who had catalogue businesses, suggested I sell a line of jewellery for him on the internet.  I could sell it, and he would ship it.  So I thought, OK, I'll just have to learn how to sell on the internet first!

As a tester, I tried selling a book on eBay.  That went well.  So I started selling his jewellery.  But then I'd get buyers saying "oh you're from New Zealand, could you get me this.....".  So I went and bought the item, put it on eBay, and they bought it from me.  And I figured, well if they want it maybe someone else does too!  So I bought more.  Then another person would ask me for something, and another, and another.  I started taking a few items every week to the post office to ship.  I got to be quite friendly with the PO staff.  But then it grew to me taking a suitcase of parcels to the post office, and they got a bit tetchy as the queues grew behind me.  Then I found out the post office would come to me to pick up my parcels, and life got a little easier. 
Then people started asking me where my website was.  Hmm.  I didn't have the money to pay someone else the tens of thousands of dollars required to build a website, so I looked around online for what I could build myself, from a template.  Nothing worked perfectly, particularly as these were the early days of online retail in New Zealand.  Then I was in The Warehouse one day, looking in a bin of CD-Roms, and I spied a NZ based website building CD-Rom, for the princely sum of $29.95.  I had nothing to lose, so I bought it.  And that was the start of Shopenzed.com (which we recently shortened to ShopNZ.com). 
Then people started saying they were coming to New Zealand and could they visit my (then nonexistent) shop.  At that time I was working out of boxes, but we managed to convert part of the house to a showroom and office, and now we have a steady stream of locals and tourists visiting. 

What you get
Shopping isn't just about buying a product.  And retailing isn't just about selling stuff.  It's also about people and values and experiences.
What you find in the shop is what you asked for.  So although we say ShopNZ is a Kiwiana and Maori gift store, it's actually a collection of items that people both locally and worldwide said "Lesley can you get this for me?"
Because we stock what you want, we stock both NZ Made items and those designed in NZ but made off-shore.
Everyone who works at ShopNZ is a Kiwi, either by birth or citizenship.  But please note, my staff haven't been chosen by their nationality, they've been chosen because they have the Kiwi can-do spirit.  We all try damned hard to stock what you want, get your orders processed quickly and efficiently, get your purchases to you promptly and safely, and to communicate with you respectfully and promptly.  We are human, so we do make mistakes, but we try to put them right as soon as we can.
The communication with you is one of the most loved parts of any work day.  Your telling us why you have made a purchase, or what it means to you, is an absolute highlight.  So don't be afraid to chat, post an email, phone us up or visit - we'll be thrilled to hear from you!  Our philosophy is one of old-school care of the customer - we'll do our utmost best to get you what you want, when you want, and with a smile.

 

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