David and Emily Love are the owners of Taupo-based and online musical instrument store Love Music.
When and why did you leave Auckland?
We moved down to Taupo from Auckland in October last year. We had a few reasons for doing it. We wanted to have a pace of life that was less hectically focused on working to pay a mortgage, and we wanted to be our own boss and have control of our own future from that point of view. Also, because my wife and I grew up in small town New Zealand we wanted to give our nine-year-old daughter the opportunities we believe regional schools offer - like more outdoor activities, better teacher-to-student ratios, more time with mum and dad, and less of a focus on commercialism.
Why did you decide to settle in Taupo in particular?
It took us a couple of years of looking around towns in the Waikato area to work out where was the best fit for us. We needed to be near the water and every town we came across was quite agricultural until we found Taupo. Taupo always has something going on, so there are always new and interesting people coming through, which gives it that city feel but with the friendliness of a small town.
What was the opportunity you saw to start a business when you moved?
When we first looked down here we looked at opening a cafe or something along those lines until we visited Taupo with 'resident eyes' instead of as tourists. Taupo has a bunch of really incredible cafes here already that are thriving. What it didn't have was a musical instrument store. I'd been running a musical instrument business in Auckland for 10 years, so it seemed like a perfect fit for us and we ran with it.
What are some of the specific opportunities you've been able to explore by setting up your business in Taupo?
By moving to Taupo we were able to use the equity that we'd built up in our house in Auckland and reduce our personal lending significantly. This meant that from the get-go we could afford to take a lot less out of the business and instead reinvest our profits in stock, promotional activities and reducing our business lending. On the other side of things the business team with Taupo Council - in particular Town Centre Taupo - have been hugely helpful, setting us up with service providers and including us in town-wide promotional events and networking opportunities.
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On the other hand, what have been some of the challenges?
The hardest part has been moving away from our network of friends and family in Auckland. When we moved down here we only knew one couple. It can be really isolating and that can mean facing doubts and concerns by ourselves. On the flip side to that it's forced us out to get to know people, which has the side effect of building awareness of our business.
What advice do you have for someone else considering a similar move?
Focus on hitting the ground running. Have a database of people to talk to, events to go to, and find the people in the community who talk. And then leave a good impression. If you're friendly and helpful your new community will reflect that back to you.