I sat down wit the very lovely and talented Sarah Firmston from the Bread and Butter Letter. Sarah co-owns the destination shop which started from being a front-room attachment to her New North Road apartment, to one of Metro Magazines top shops, with constant mentions in magazines such as New Zealand House and Garden, Vivia and even Frankie Magazine. Lately however, the young entrepreneur has been putting most of her efforts into Crushes. Crushes is the label behind the store; so all of the jewellery, accessories and goods they manufacture are under this. But it’s probably a better idea for her to tell you.
SP: What’s the main difference between Crushes and The Bread and Butter Letter?
SF: Essentially BABL is a curated vintage and NZ made boutique – we hand pick all of the vintage and then we also sell products that are designed made in New Zealand. Crushes is a NZ made brand that we sell in The Bread And Butter Letter. We design it based on our BABL customers wants and needs, and it is now stocked in around 20 other stores around NZ.
SP: How long has Crushes been around for?
SF: About 4 years ago we started making products for the shop. It wasn’t until about June last year that we really banded it and pushed it and approached other stores.
SP: What do you think all your success is owed too?
SF: I think just being honest to ourselves. The Bread and Butter Letter reflects myself and Rose (Sarah’s business partner and co-owner of the BABL). There is nothing in the shop or that we make that we wouldn’t want to buy ourselves – it all reflects our personalities. It’s also taking it slow. We had the small shop on New North Road for two years. And even though it was a leap to the big space ok K Rd, we had a very basic fit out to begin with. If we didn’t take it slow and steady we would not be where we are today.
SP: One thing I love about you guys is how much you support your local community. Is there anyone that you especially enjoy working with?
SF: We work a lot with the Auckland Fair – a HUGE market that sells 100% NZ made and really gives hand-crafters a platform to get out there and show what they can do. Apart from that, all the local brands we have in the store – we wouldn’t have them if we didn’t really love them. We meet some amazing people and small business.
SP: you did touch on this before, but what would you say the core style of BABL is? I would say it started out quite kitch?
SF: Yeah it did. Especially with the vintage. Now I would say we have a minimalist,contemporary, clean aesthetic. It has grown and changed just as Rose and I have.
SP: What’s a positive about opening such a community based shop?
SF: Just meeting all the creative people you get to meet. Some of the people that come in and you look up what they’re doing – it blows me away. They are creating such amazing things and flying completely under the radar. It’s so inspiring.
SP: Last question – What advice do you have for young New Zealanders who are up and coming?
SF: Just do it. If you’re passionate about something, just do it. Although in saying that, I touched on this earlier, do be cautious. If you want to open a shop maybe you can start out online first and build that up. Then get a bricks and Mortar store and just build it up slowly. Don’t just leap in head first. When Rose and I started out we both had other part time jobs. So if things were financially slow we still had other income. Also you only get out what you put in. The harder you work and the more effort you put in the more you will get out!
SP: Wonderful advice!
Sarah was lovely enough to give me this awesome crushes pack to giveaway to you readers.
Check over on the Sans Pareil Page for details to enter!