Thursday, April 18, 2024

Businesses doing it tough in lockdown

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Paul and Paulie is a small local business that runs an online clothing store.

The owners of an east Auckland business are speaking out about the challenges they’ve faced caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Local residents Rachel Emmanuel and her husband own and operate the family-run online children’s clothing store Paul and Paulie.

“It is a tribute to my dear father Henry Paul,” Emmanuel says of its name.

“Dad encouraged me to be bold, adventurous and kind.”

Paul and Paulie is a values-driven business, she told the Times.

Their cotton is organic cotton from India.

It’s certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and grown without fertilisers and pesticides.

Emmanuel was a teacher at Howick College who specialised in food nutrition and technology.

In 2014 she was diagnosed with double cancer and underwent treatment in hospital.

“The staff and students at the college were amazing,” she says.

Eventually she transferred from being a teacher to the director, co-owner and designer of Paul and Paulie.

“I love creating and making things,” Emmanuel says.

The first hit the business suffered was last year.

Due to the widespread impact of Covid-19 and the first lockdown, when the business was starting out, their shipment of winter clothing was delayed by seven months.

It was ordered in February and arrived in October.

“We got winter clothing in summer!” Emmanuel says.

The second hit was that prior to the current lockdown they put money into upcoming baby shows they were displaying their clothing in.

“Now the money is held up in there,” she says.

“It’s been cancelled twice now.”

Emmanuel and her husband attend markets and small and big events to sell their products.

“We went to the Queen’s Birthday [public holiday weekend] event at the Cloud and often go to the markets at Devonport and Takapuna,” she says.

Most of their business is centred on building rapport and trust with their customers through their market trips, events, and word-of-mouth, as their online presence is limited as their business is new.

They’re unable to do this during lockdown and cannot do deliveries until level four.

Luckily they have received the Resurgence Support Package from IRD.

The whole market and local business community has been affected, Emmanuel says.

“Some have been made redundant.

“A friend of mine’s store just opened in Pakuranga Plaza.

“Another friend has a cafe in Brookby. Both were doing really well.”

The community has been incredibly supportive during lockdowns she says.

“We look after one another. Everyone is great.”

And despite the setbacks she’s positive about the future.

“We have future events planned,” she says. “It’s exciting.”

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