Although it's a challenging year for local businesses in the aftermath of Covid-19, the annual Kapiti Women's Expo is approaching full steam ahead, thanks to the determination of two like-minded women.
Organisers Julie Maltby and Emily Lester said despite losing up to 20 vendors this year due to small businesses closing or scaling down, they've managed to secure a whopping 75 stallholders for the Sunday, November 1, event.
"Businesses see the Kapiti Women's Expo as a platform to network with other business owners, connect with members of the public and pick up where they left off after the strain of lockdown," said Julie.
"When Emily and I took over the event four years ago, it had a handful of vendors, so to be welcoming almost 80 businesses despite Covid-19 is a pretty big feat."
As well as helping to support small businesses and encouraging people to buy local ahead of Christmas, the expo will again donate all its entry sales to Kapiti Women's Refuge.
"Access is a gold coin and it's important to us that the proceeds go to a charity that impacts so many," said Julie, whose work is voluntary.
"Most people can relate to Women's Refuge in some way because almost all of us know someone who has needed its services.
"As well as getting behind businesses and enjoying a girl's day out, women are supporting other vulnerable women when they attend the expo."
According to fellow-volunteer Emily, who juggles the expo's website and social media on top of her Paraparaumu business Kapiti Virtual Assistant, there'll be plenty to see.
"We'll have stalls for health and nutrition, including back massages and reflexology, clothing and shoes, jewellery, photography and pet care," Emily said.
"People can also expect to find plants and flowers, skincare and cosmetics including advice from event sponsor Caci Kapiti, lovely homeware and even a pelvic floor testing station."
Of course, there'll be lots of food and drink to enjoy.
"You can sit down for a break between shopping for sweet treats and food like wraps, sandwiches and salads, and taste varieties of teas and plum liquors."
"Another fun thing is a cake raffle by The Chocolate Shed, with all the money going to the Kapiti SPCA," Julie said.
For its second year, the Kapiti Expo will take place at the larger venue of Southward Car Museum, in Otaihanga, from 10am to 3pm.
"Wham Bam Events is going to dress up Southwards with chandeliers and a beautiful entrance, including a fairy light tunnel.
"It's a once in a year event and this time especially, it's worth celebrating all the amazing businesses."