The beautiful and the bizarre


A boutique to open in the hotspot of Ahuriri promises style with an edge.  Amy Shanks chats to the brains behind Baz*ar The Empire.

They say as one door closes, another opens and for Nardine Kelly and Hayley Stuart-Malcolm that door led to the creation of their own fashion empire.

The stylish pair - Nardine who previously part-owned Havelock North boutique Hunt & Seek and her right-hand woman Hayley - are collaborating on a new project.

Baz*ar The Empire will be based in Ahuriri and aims to deliver effortless, eternal style pooling from hand-picked designer collections, selected for their originality and exclusivity. "It's based on the way we like to shop. I don't like basics, I like stuff that stands out, we want to stock pieces that are amazing," Hayley says. "We like to take one expensive thing and build an outfit around that. The most pricey piece we have would probably be $500, but there are lots of middle and lower end items too."

Freedom of expression was embraced at the boutique with an eclectic range of precisely chosen designs on offer - all with a point of difference.

Brands such as Ruby, 2nd Day, Havaianas, Saben, Super, Linda Kingi and Minty Meets Munt accessories will line the shelves alongside the best tea and delicacies in Hawke's Bay.

"We are stocking brands that we have had a good relationship with. We are also going to be selling tea, so people can come in, try it and read a magazine. We want a relaxed space."

After five-and-a-half years working side by side at Hunt & Seek, Nardine and Hayley know the industry and are channelling their diverse creative energy in an exciting new direction.

Every aspect of the classic gold-and-white themed Ahuriri showroom has been designed from scratch, with ideas to expand already in mind.

"I'm a graphic designer so eventually we want to make it into a workroom, showroom space for my designs as well. We want to do a lot more with it, but right now, we are doing what we know," Hayley says.

Building a strong online presence was also very important and would help gain a "wider audience" for the boutique especially during winter months when retail slowed down.

"I am designing the website at the moment, you would be stupid if you don't think you need an online presence, the marketing side of things is a really important tool.

"We are very lucky that we have a lot of loyal people who believe in us, we have also a lot of good relationships with people from out-of-town who support us."

However, Baz*ar is not just about selling beautiful, material items, Nardine and Hayley always go the extra mile to help customers achieve the right look. "It's about creating an experience. We often dress women Inspirational ideas ...

the bizarre promises style with an edge.

Baz*ar The Empire

and do the whole outfit, right down to the shoes. If we don't provide it in store, we can go out and find it for them."

The shop is on Bridge St in Ahuriri, next to Rush Munro's and will open next Saturday. They already have plans for a VIP party at a later date. "It's important to us that we enjoy what we do, we want to enjoy work and that's why we chose Ahuriri. It's a real holiday destination and it's growing."

As for the name of the boutique, it sums up the pair's diverse personalities and marks the beginning of a new adventure, says Hayley. "We have always said we want to start an empire, and the Bazaar. I love Morocco and I'm a bit of a hippy, a gypsy Nards calls me, and it reminds me of the markets there. For Nardine, it relates to Harper's Bazaar magazine so it just works for both of us."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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