The owner of a small, high-end boutique in Wellington says Covid-19 has "weirdly" been a big boost to her business.
Rachael Caughley said July was her best month ever for sales in the five years since she opened the small shop, Caughley, on Wellington's Ghuznee St, and credits the pandemic as being the catalyst for the growth.
She was "shit scared" as coronavirus hit New Zealand's shores and she had to close her shop, not knowing what would happen, but over lockdown she experienced 400 per cent growth in her online sales.
Since lockdown ended sales have continued to grow in store, giving her the highest numbers she's experienced yet.
"When we first went into lockdown, mostly all of our sales ... came from in store, so it was very scary closing our shop for a month. During that time it gave me some space to actually sit down and focus on online."
Caughley had always had an online platform for the store, but being a small business had not put much resource into it, instead focusing on the in-person experience she and her staff could provide.
But with Covid-19 prompting her to take another look at her online presence, she found there was huge growth to be had.
She began interacting with potential customers on social media as she would in person. One day she made a post about how to wear some of the belts she had in stock, and within three hours of making the post, she had sold out of belts.
The online growth was not enough to counteract the negative effects of lockdown though, with Caughley's sales cutting by about 50 per cent.
Still, she said the engagement with her online marketing was "phenomenal", and allowed her to tap into the Auckland market.
When shops reopened, in-store growth began to climb.
Caughley believes it was partly to do with her push in online marketing, and partly to do with people's changing habits around the pandemic.
"People are definitely into supporting local, and I definitely think that for a lot of my customers, potentially they were going overseas, and they're no longer going overseas, so they have a bit more disposable income for something like beautiful clothes."
Caughley said beautiful clothing could be a form of "escapism" for some, and wearing a great fabric or a well-fitted blazer gave many women a sense of empowerment, which was something that people wanted right now.
However now wasn't the time to "rest on our laurels", as fashion was a "fickle business", she said.
For now she was making the most of the boost in business, which also left her with her second highest number of sales in August.