Step through the door of Whanganui store Ruby & French and you'll be greeted with "bonjour".

Owner Gillian Radich wants to give people an experience that is more than just shopping when they come into her Victoria Ave store.

Radich is about to celebrate six months of operating her French/European-inspired homewares, gifts and antiques shop.

She took the plunge and opened the shop after attending a PopUp Business School run through Whanganui & Partners.


"The Pop-Up Business School was good because I made contact with people and got some help with certain things," Radich said.

"Then I thought if I don't do it, I will wonder."

Radich, who has lived in Whanganui for five years, has a background in nursing, farming and orcharding.

"We restored an old villa and restored furniture," she said.

"I've always liked design and style and making things look nice.

"I thought there was a gap in the market. I've always liked antiques and I like to restore and give new life to old things, mixing it up with new things. I wanted to get away from mass-produced items and offer something a little bit different.

"For me, the shop is more than shopping - it's about giving people an experience."

Last year Radich went on a buying trip to France and brought back part of a container-load of products. She also stocks items from French product suppliers in New Zealand and Australia and has a supplier based in Denmark.


Linen clothing, which Radich intended to be a small sideline, has proved popular and she is looking at developing that stock. Copperware, oak furniture, French glassware, soy candles in vintage cut glass and cushions made from old tapestries are popular with customers.

"I get customers from Whanganui and out of town," she said.

"People appreciate it because it's something a little different."