A move to the rural North Canterbury town of Amberley offered Ruby six’s owner and lover of beautiful things, Jenni Dobbie, the opportunity to re-invent herself as retailer.
Jenni and her husband’s purchase of a 1920’s bungalow, complete with a commercial frontage, for their new home sparked Jenni’s imagination and desire to run “a wee shop selling beautiful things.”
With a clear idea of the type of store that she wanted to set up, a background in teaching and other business owners amongst her family, Jenni went to work. She says it was simply a “stroke of good fortune” that a friend introduced her to Jan McPhedran from Collaboration very early on in the business establishment process.
After their initial meeting, it was clear to Jenni that Jan had a lot to offer her with a very real understanding of small business and valuable hands-on retail experience from her involvement in The Wonder Room.
Jan provided Jenni with valuable hands-on retail business knowledge, guiding her through every aspect of the set-up process including shop fit-out, display systems, insurance, accounting software, stock management system, point of sale system, product range, possible suppliers, branding and marketing. After weekly face-to-face meetings in the first month to create momentum, Jenni notes that then over the next four months before opening, Jan was only ever a “phone call away” and as she came across something new she often found herself jotting down “ask Jan” notes for their next chat.
Jenni credits Jan with saving her much time and money throughout the set-up process via “so many short cuts” and keeping her on “on track” with clear timelines. “It would have been twice as hard without her” says Jenni. “There is something quite special about Jan. She is an excellent listener; taking in what I was trying to achieve, then challenging my ideas and making me think about ways to do things differently. I really appreciate Jan’s positive, straight up communication style – she’s quite direct, giving honest and real feedback.