From left, Ema Manase from Emz Pineapple Pies, Margaret Langi from Marlina's Cookies, Troy Ikiua Jackson from Savage Designs, Ernestina Bonsu-Maro from EBM Artistry, Toni Helleur from I Am Mangere and Lillie Refiti from Golden Gardenia.
Photo/ PMN News/ Justin Latif
An innovative initiative in Māngere is helping online retailers and start-ups connect with their customers through a new shop.
The Māngere Town Centre is one of the oldest and most popular shopping centres in South Auckland.
But it is also known as a hub for dollar dealers and fast food outlets. However one local charity is hoping to change all that with its new shop the Nesian Collective.
The store will enable culturally inspired start-ups and online-based businesses to have a site to sell their products in the town centre.
I AM Māngere is behind the idea and its chief executive Toni Helleur says it came as a result of extensive community research.
“We’ve done surveys with the community about what they want in the town centre, and they all say the place needs a facelift, the shops aren’t relevant and its boring here - so this piece of work has come from that."
The initiative will see five businesses which sell a range of products including clothing, desserts, jewellery and art in a shop opposite the local library.
Bonso-Maro says the shop, who's business is a talent agency which also sells clothes, will introduce young people to the fashion industry, modelling opportunities and entrepreneurialism.
“People know the town centre for the $2 shops or the takeaways, but this will bring a different experience for people,” she says.
“I think youth will come in and feel captivated as they see what we each do. And what’s cool is that we’re all unique, we’ve all got a story and we’re not going to be another $2 shop.”
Helleur says this initiative is part of I AM Mangere’s wider work to empower local entrepreneurs in the community.
“We helped Fitz from Twosevenfive get their shop - and everyone knows what they’re about,” she says.
“And when this one popped up - we thought this needs to be for our small businesses, dedicated to bringing in locals that can bring an injection of something different into the town centre.
“And so we’ll behind the scenes offering mentoring and funding applications and stuff like that.“
Nesian Collective opens this month and go to the I AM Māngere Facebook page for more details.
Watch an interivew on Pacific Days about the Nesian Collective below.