A Whanganui student studying in Auckland is bringing her event styling business back to her hometown.
Whanganui woman Te Miringa Parkes isn't waiting until she finishes studying to dip her toes in the business world.
Parkes is studying a conjoint degree in Business and Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland and last year started GLOWNZ, an event styling business specialising in birthday celebrations and engagement parties.
Despite the disruptions caused by Covid-19, 2020 has been a success for Parkes, allowing her to expand the business to Dunedin and Whanganui.
Her sister, Grace, will be running the Dunedin branch and friends, Teagan Tapa and Delaney Mason, will be running the Whanganui operation.
GLOWNZ was born and inspired when Parkes' sister Grace was turning 21 a couple of years ago and they were looking for styling options for her birthday party.
"We couldn't find anything. There were ring lights for $1000. It was the most ridiculous thing ever," she said.
She decided she could offer a cheaper and more affordable option. The business started off with a ring light photo booth, but Parkes quickly realised people wanted more options.
"I didn't make a sale for the first six months. It was definitely draining, definitely the worse time.
"They don't just want a photo booth, they also want backdrops, balloons and that kind of vibe. That's when everyone started flooding in."
Inspired by trends set on social media platforms such as Instagram, GLOWNZ offers full event styling from balloon garlands, giant numbers, signage and backdrops.
"A lot of event styling is quite trendy and moves along quite a lot. Trends continually change, people like different things even in different areas," Parkes said.
She said it has difficult operating in the event business during the Covid-19 pandemic, but has been encouraged with the success they have had.
"In February and March, we were on a roll. We were fully booked out for March and April and then Covid hit."
"It was quite interesting, after the lockdown lifted, we had a big influx of people which I found interesting. I thought no one would want to hold events, but it was the opposite. A lot of people wanted to hold events because they were so keen to be out."
Parkes said it is great to be able offer people in Whanganui such a business, as "we miss out on a lot of things".
"In the back of my mind I know it's not our main option or income, but it's there for those who want the option. I know when I was young we would miss out on these type of things all the time."
While their main market is targeted towards 18ths, 21sts and engagement parties, Parkes said they are open to kids' parties and any other celebrations.