Wendy Johns wears steel cap boots to her day job - and now spends her evenings and weekends looking after her "girly girl" new business.

Johns works full-time as administration manager at Central Glass where she deals with tradies and wears steel caps as part of her uniform.

But on August 1 she took on a new challenge, buying Blank Kanvas Concepts from Rachel Brandon.

The shop, which has been operating in Victoria Ave for five years, stocks products such as homewares, jewellery and gifts.


"My best friend Rachel owned it and decided to sell it to focus on her design business," Johns said.

"The opportunity came up and I thought why not. It's not something I'd ever thought I would do but I wanted a challenge and I've got a challenge. Actually owning it is that step further. There's lots to learn."

With family, work and a new business, life is a bit crazy at present but Johns is relishing the challenge of being a first-time business owner.

She has introduced more sustainable products and is working on a new point of sale system but said generally the store would stay much the same.

Wendy Johns is the new owner of Blank Kanvas Concepts in Victoria Ave.
Wendy Johns is the new owner of Blank Kanvas Concepts in Victoria Ave.

"I've got no experience in design or retail so I'm not going to change it up too much. Lisa Stewart, the manager, does the day-to-day running of the store and I have a couple of casual staff. I think I quite like sitting behind my desk in the background.

"I'm still surprised when I come in and realise 'oh this is my shop now'. It took a lot of getting used to.

"People seem to enjoy coming in here. We get lots of good feedback. I think I've inherited a very special little shop. I hope I continue in the same vein, make small improvements and make it grow. Maybe one day we will get a bigger shop."

Johns has lived in Whanganui for 14 years and says she will never leave.


"I love it. It's a fantastic little town. We've got something special here, we really do."