John Heng, co-owner with wife Anne, of Tayor Road Homewares, with shops in Ponsonby and Palmerston North and an online store

Tell us about your business

Taylor Road Homewares is a specialty homewares retailer offering exclusive products sourced from design led manufacturers globally. A number of these have companies have their own in-house designers in the categories we specialise in such as ceramics, tableware, cutlery and gifts. This year our Palmerston North store represented New Zealand at the International Homewares Show in Chicago and was awarded the prestigious Global Honoree Award against 23 other countries.
We now have two bricks and mortar stores in Palmerston North and Ponsonby plus
an online store and a distribution warehouse.

What happens with staff over Christmas?

Our current staffing is 14, giving us full time equivalent employees of nine covering seven day a week trading. These include our extra requirements for Christmas with one more starting full time next week. We are fortunate to have all year round peak staff who are fully trained and come in as relievers on weekends when we are busier. In the build up to Christmas they are able to work more hours. Our youngest daughter is employed all summer when she is home from university and our oldest, who is coming home from London for Christmas arrives next week and will also work through. Our middle daughter, Hannah, is in the business and manages our Ponsonby store.


Is the staff boost worth it? And have you ever overhired?

Staff costs do increase as do sales but most importantly so does customer satisfaction and that is what brings them back again and again.

We have never over-hired and have always managed to have the staff we have be there when needed and do the extra hours.

Staff interact well with our customers and when required, seek assistance from each other to insure the customer needs are met.

What special service do you offer over Christmas?

As we pride ourselves on being a full service retailer, wrapping becomes a full time job.

We also have tea tasting and Christmas treats. Many of our customers don't want to take gifts home until closer to Christmas so use our lay-by service which they cannot do
when buying on line from other sources.

Our stores are very open and spacious giving a feeling of calm rather than clutter. Both are fully air-conditioned and there is space to browse and not feel pressured. This layout was by design and was a major part of winning the award in Chicago.

Next week: A number of enterprising companies are creating apps for their own purposes and for others. There are also a number of apps being developed for small businesses to help them manage their businesses better. I'd like to hear from all of you who are particularly proud of your app especially if it can be used by others too.