"You're brave," they all said.
Preparing to open a new shop right after a ground breaking lockdown - something New Zealanders never thought they would have to go through - it seemed crazy to many.
But Erin Skelsey's dream and excitement of opening her own floral, homewares and design store was greater than her fear.
So after years of dreaming, but only two months of planning after purchasing the lease for 6 Maclean St, Paraparaumu Beach, in August, Orinoco Design opened on Labour weekend to a booming start.
A former pharmacist and now boutique shop owner, manager and florist, Erin has always enjoyed working in the community and dreamed of opening her own shop.
"I've wanted to open a shop for a while.
"I've always worked in the community and I've just done my floristry training."
Working as a pharmacist for the last 20 years, Erin said, "Opening a shop, it's very different, but it's what I've wanted to do, it's my passion.
"I love flowers and design and style and it's all come together.
"Customers have just said, 'what a great addition to the beach'."
Paraparaumu Beach has had a number of new businesses open this year with the likes of Coffee and Flowers and The Common Room both opening mere weeks before the lockdown.
Doing the whole fit-out themselves, Erin and her husband went for a relaxed beachy feel but still with a lot of class.
"I think it's important for the street - having new businesses, it's exciting."
Since opening Erin has had many customers saying, "This is what Paraparaumu Beach needs of - more new businesses to continue creating a community hub at the beach.
"More people are shopping local, so it's nice that people feel like they can come down here instead of heading into Wellington."
Erin is all about supporting the community.
Joining with the Cancer Society after seeing many cancer patients dealing with it while working as a pharmacist, Erin said, "To me it's also about giving back, and is something I am so passionate about with patients I have met and cared for."
Orinoco will be giving dried or fresh flower bouquets weekly to cancer patients/whanau in the district through the Kapiti Cancer Society.
Explaining the name and logo of her store, Erin said the logo is a circle to represent community.
"There's a bit of a story behind the name.
"The logo is a circle for the community and the name Orinoco has multiple connections."
Orinoco is the name of two flowers, an iris and a chrysanthemum.
It is also Erin's nickname, given to her when she was younger after watching The Wombles.
"So it ties in the floral element but also connects with me.
"When getting the design for the logo I told the designer I wanted it to reflect nature and beauty.
"Some people have said it looks like water and Orinoco is the name of one of the biggest rivers in South America so it relates to water too."
Owning a shop is a big change for Erin, but the design is unique and reflects perfectly the relaxed beach vibe of Maclean St and its surrounding streets.
Walking in you will be met with a variety of homewares, candles, jewellery and clothing hung on beautiful floating branches.
Orinoco Design is located at 6 Maclean St, Paraparaumu Beach.