Whangārei's business community has a new kid on the block in the form of a collaborate art studio for the city's creatives.

Journey, which was launched on July 4, aims to provide a space for locals to share their ideas and work.

It's the brainchild of Ruth Gayford, owner of Mercy Clothing, a popular women's clothing label which has been around for several years and is now located at the new space at 19b Bank St.

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Her partner Mike Paora - a carpenter by trade who fitted out the shop with the help of friends and family - is also using the studio space for his pencil sketches and wall art.

"We were looking for a new work space and found this lease, it'd been empty for years," Gayford said.

"We took it on before Covid and were locked out for six weeks, then jumped back in as soon as we could."

Gayford said the couple, who are both Northland-born and raised, plan to stock their products at the front of the shop.

Out back will be an open art studio where customers can watch them at work.

They plan to hold pop-up events with a local focus, along with opening nights and invite-only evenings.

"The idea is to have our workspace at the back," she said. "It's such a big space we're able to have a showroom out the front.

"We want to start stocking other products from local artists and makers, we've got quite a big group of creative friends and it'll give them the opportunity to sell their stuff as well.


"We are constantly inspired by how abundant Northland is with artistic talent.

"Now more than ever, is our time to come together and lift one another up by supporting and engaging with independent locally-owned businesses."