From banking to baby fashions, Naomi Seabrooke crossed more than one great divide to take on Kiddy Couture
As a new mum and (fairly) new arrival to beautiful Queenstown, Australian Naomi took over the high fashion online store last November and has already made a bit of a splash. In June she won NZ Online Retailer of the Year in the Kids Fashion Review Style Awards 2012 and her database of shoppers has grown by 30%.
She also introduced Facebook sales and that's something that has hit the spot with shoppers. It started with a Minti range that had been missed off the website. She took some photos of garments and posted them on Facebook at a discount. Within an hour she had nearly 60 inquiries. It's now a big part of Kiddy Couture's sales traffic and her competitors are sitting up and taking notice.
Naomi came to fashion retailing by way of the banking industry where she worked on business strategies. The two roles have surprising similarities and Naomi is able to transfer her strategising skills to making her new business grow.
She's now placed the largest order ever at Kiddy Couture for more of the popular ranges (and now up to the age of 10). Plus she is adding three new labels: Alex & Ant, Littlehorn and Milky.
Sookibaby and Minti are two of the most popular brands on the site. And even Naomi says Minti mums can go a little crazy in their obsession with the upscale range.
Brands such as Milky will herald the introduction of clothing that's easier on the pocket, as Naomi recognises the need to broaden the appeal.
But life in Queenstown is not always a bed of alpine lupins despite the view of the Remarkables from the kitchen window. Naomi does a lot of sole parenting of Angus, now one, as her husband and business partner, Charlie, spends half his time working as a chef overseas. It's five weeks on and five weeks at home - the couple hopes to grow the business so Charlie can stay home.
"Sometimes it's absolutely manic. I feel like I'm going a bit crazy. We have wonderful support from friends but no family here," says Naomi.
The pair were drawn to Queenstown by a love of the mountains and outdoor pursuits. Naomi had been holidaying there for many years before the couple took the plunge in 2009.
Competition in the children's fashion market remains fierce and Naomi devotes a lot of time to keeping one step ahead and looking after her customers.
"There's a perception that if you buy online you should get a good deal. So if you spend a certain amount you should get $20 off."
Kiddy Couture is all about rewarding loyal customers but while it saves on overhead costs, such as high rents, an online shop has to spend more advertising dollars to make its presence felt.
But with good results coming through Naomi is excited about the future for both of her new babies.