Ponsonby’s Garden Party assists Kiwi artisans

5:00 AM Saturday March 12, 2016 Paul Charman

Interior of the Garden Party store at 71 Ponsonby Rd.

The Garden Party, a well-established Ponsonby business specialising in quality ceramics and gifts, is on the market.

“The 22-year-old store at 71 Ponsonby Road would suit an owner keen to express artistic values and people-skills through a profitable business,” says Shelley May a Business Broker with ABC Business Sales who is marketing the business for sale by expressions of interest.

The Garden Party is in a boutique-strewn locality, one popular with shoppers from across the city. It occupies a strategic niche in an era when more tourists seek authentic Kiwi gifts, often shunning the cheaper facsimiles made outside this country.

Another trend benefiting The Garden Party is that so many New Zealanders now have family members living overseas.

This group face the challenge of finding suitable reminders of home, particularly birthday and Christmas gifts for children and grandchildren.

Perhaps a significant third group would be those from overseas living and working in New Zealand for a set period of time.

These expatriates also wish to share a taste of life in Kiwiland — but not necessarily by sending “cheap knock-off gifts made in Asia.

So let’s point out some of The Garden Party’s vital statistics:

  •          The shop is open seven days and staffed with five casual part timers, with rosters structured to suit the lifestyle of the owner.
  •          The lease is locked in till 2021.
  •          The financial summary of the last six years shows consistent sales around $700,000 (most recently the net return has exceeded $180,000 pa).
  •          Included in the sale is a shopping website, currently contributing about eight per cent of sales.
  •          An effective Facebook Page, with activity usually updated via three posts-per-week, including specials and new products.

True Commercial - 71 Ponsonby Rd%2c Garden Party.jpg

The Garden Party at 71 Ponsonby Rd.

As a neighbourhood shop with a large loyal customer base, The Garden Party is in one of the city’s more affluent suburbs.

Owner Anna Lim must have had an eye to the future when she and her mother launched the business back in 1994. But even Anna probably did not foresee the extent to which Ponsonby Road would transform into a popular medium-to-high-end shopping destination.

Nor could she have foreseen the over-arching reason why The Garden Party is so well placed today: New Zealand’s burgeoning tourism sector.

This notched up 3.09 million visitors to New Zealand in the 12 months to November last year, the highest ever annual recording of arrivals.

Shoppers may be from this group, or from one of the others mentioned. Or, they may be a resident of Auckland’s CBD, somebody who has wandered in while enjoying the atmosphere and buzz of Ponsonby Road. But if they buy something, here is what customers from each of these groups will have in common: a desire for authentic items crafted by folk living here.

Such items include beautiful ceramics, tea towels and jewellery. There is a selection of organic and natural toiletries and cosmetics, gardening products, cards, children’s books and toys, wall art, possum and merino woollen items and many others.

And, thanks again to Anna’s discerning eye, common themes are the beauty and superb quality achieved by artists and craftspeople concerned. Supply lines are well established — with talented craftspeople from all over New Zealand providing products.

Hence this business assists and sustains Kiwi artisans, providing a useful commercial outlet for their work, which is of enormous value to all of the folk concerned.