With a smile, Hayley Sissons said her first Tremains Art Deco Festival would be something of a baptism of fire.

But it is very much a case of "bring it on" as she and her devoted crew of staff and army of passionate volunteers get ready to step into the breach for the most fizzing five days of the year.

She took on the role of the Art Deco Trust's retail manager last November and while that makes it just a little over three months at the helm, she is good and ready as, during her OE some years ago, she worked at a specially devised Art Deco shop in London — at the Victoria and Albert Museum where a major exhibition was being staged.

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It had been set up especially for what turned out to be one of the biggest exhibitions staged there, and she held the reins as gift shop manager for the year it ran.

So she came to learn a lot about the unique era, as well as get used to seeing a lot of customers emerge.

"We were getting 2000 people a day so yes, I'm ready for this", she said with a smile.

She said that brush with Art Deco had been exciting and she grew to embrace the style, the colour and the historical and heritage significance it had — especially for a place like Napier which she was proud to see had been adopted as the Art Deco capital of the world.

So when the position came up she was eager to apply, and delighted to get the nod.

As well as her London experience with Art Deco she has many years experience in retail, and has also been involved with working as a coordinator for volunteers in a previous job — so she has the bases covered.

"This is going to be so good and everyone is starting to get really excited now."

On the retail front, Ms Sissons said they were "well stocked up and ready to go".

"We have stocked up right across the board."

Top of the sales list were generally items that went on the top of the buyers ... boaters for the chaps and fascinators for the ladies.

"Hats are the biggest sellers," she said, and added proudly that while the top range of boaters were not cheap they were genuinely and expertly made in New Zealand.

"Lamps and figurines are also popular."

As will be the special smart and sassy Art Deco bags she devised and had made.

As well as at the main shop they will also be available along with posters and other small items at a special kiosk which will be set up at the top of Emerson St from Thursday morning through to the end of Sunday.

Two volunteer staff will always be on hand to sell as well as help visitors to the festival with information.

And on that note she was quick to take her stylish hat off to the colourful and committed core of the whole Art Deco Festival.

The volunteers

"I can't believe how into it they all are — the enthusiasm and the pride they have in their heritage — and they are passing that unique character of Napier on to so many people."

The "vollies" were effectively ambassadors for Napier, she said.

"And they've been looking after me too — they're like my aunties," she said with a smile.

"They're like a family."

There are about 160 volunteers and some have been in the role for more than 20 years.

As well as working in the shop they will also carry out hundreds of tours as well as attend a string of events to assist wherever and whenever assistance is needed.

"We simply could not do this without them."