After working for 30 years as a baker, local woman Kathy Kearns swapped out her rolling pin for a makeup brush.
Kathy is a familiar face in Te Awamutu. For years she and her family ran Viands Bakery in Kihikihi - and which is still owned by her parents.
The baking journey continued as she and her husband Shane went on their own way to Tirau where they opened The Baker. This family-run bakery has been a massive success and their daughter Rachel now manages it.
About seven years ago things changed for Kathy.
She underwent a major back surgery that left her unable to carry out tasks around the bakery and wondering what she'd do next.
"I couldn't do the baking or the heavy lifting any more, I tried but it just got too much," says Kathy.
With some serious thinking and a bit of advice from Shane, Kathy decided to go into makeup, which she has always loved.
Since making this decision Kathy has been to makeup school in Auckland, became a freelance makeup artist, branded her own makeup range and opened a shop.
"I wanted a new challenge," says Kathy.
And her business – Kathy Cosmetics and Gifts - is still very much a family venture as well
as a culmination of all the things she loves; makeup, plants, crystals, coffee and baking.
The first shop she opened was in Tirau and she shared this space with her good friend Pippi Pieterse, who sold crystals and accessories.
The move to open a shop came off the back of last year's lockdown in March.
"I was a freelance makeup artist before Covid, then the lockdown hit and I lost all my events and so then I applied for a small business loan, got it, and branded my own [makeup]," says Kathy.
She has recently moved her shop to Te Awamutu at 191 Alexandra St. The new shop also features a The Baker counter, which is managed by Shane and their other daughter Paige mans the coffee machine.
Paige has her own spray tanning and makeup business – Paige Olivia Artistry - and on select days she also offers her services from her mum's store.
"It's very much a family thing," says Kathy.
Making the move to Te Awamutu was an easy decision, says Kathy.
While working in Tirau she had noticed that quite a lot of her customers were travelling over to see her.
"I've got so many loyal customers here and that's why I chose here," says Kathy.
Since opening a shop last year the business has only grown, and in the move to Te Awamutu she hired Hannah Thomson, makeup artist and shop assistant, to help her out.
I'm training Hannah like how I would like her to treat the customer. She is a beautiful person and she would naturally make someone feel comfortable in the chair, which is the key," says Kathy.
What's important to Kathy is keeping the experience of shopping with her personal, and looking after her customers.
Unlike some major makeup chains, she makes a real effort to get to know her clients, and services such as a simple colour match is complete with a full face of makeup, meaning the customer isn't walking out all blotchy.
"Yes you have to sell to make numbers, but that's not my priority. If I look after my
customers it should follow suit by right," says Kathy.
"They come first, their faces come first."