I’m from England originally, brought up in Maidenhead. I came out to New Zealand in 1971 with Mum, Dad and my four siblings. We settled in Christchurch.
I’ve been at French Country Collections for 3½ years. I’ve always worked in retail. I took time off for the kids. We’ve got four – three girls and a boy. I’ve got four grandchildren now too.
Two of the kids are still at home while they save to buy a house. They help with the cooking and cleaning. I was horrifed to hear the other day that some kids aren’t leaving home till 27. That’s not good for anybody.
We live in Ohoka on a 5-acre lifestyle block. We tried chickens – they attract rats. Now we have two donkeys, Pedro and Santos, and sheep.
We treat our customers as family members. We get lots of regulars – we get new stock in every Tuesday and they come in to see what we’ve got. For some it’s more like monthly, when they’re at The Colombo for something else. Off to get your nails done, we ask them.
People are looking for all sorts of things when they come in – it’s a real browsing shop. We’ve got things for inside and out. Lots of people looking for something special for their home but we also get people buying for staging homes for sale.
I love being part of the team here. Although it’s hard to resist the temptation of buying some of the beautiful stock for home.