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The future is bright: Michaela Longstaff

  • News
  • July 27, 2017
  • Caitlin Salter
The future is bright: Michaela Longstaff

As part of a series profiling retailers in their twenties, we heard from Michaela Longstaff, 28. Longstaff comes from a long family history of retailing and she’s always taken a hands-on approach to running her business, Mikko Shoes. The company specialises in European footwear and has five stores across New Zealand.

What’s your background? 
I studied a Bachelor of Fashion Design at AUT, which refined my creative side and my passion for all things fashion and lifestyle. Coming from a family of retailers where the conversation around the dinner table always ended up in that direction meant it was a natural progression for me to move toward fashion retail. 
What business support have you had since you started your business?
My family has been fundamental business support and helping to keep me on track. There are a lot of relationships that my family has built over the years that I continue to support, which is a great help. 
 
Has your age been much of a factor in running the business?
I think perhaps being a young person, very engaged with the state of ‘now’ means that I don’t have any hang ups about how things used to be.  
I do a lot of research and make decisions on what is right for our business at the time. I am open to new technology and systems, which is very powerful.
I think my perspective in a buying sense has contributed to our success too. I don’t believe that women should be put in a box due to their age. Everyone has the right to look stylish no matter what age they are.
 
What drove you to start the business?
I think it was a bit of naivety and a lot of hope. I wanted to make a difference and to be creative while maintaining a commercial business. Being my own boss came in to it. It enables me with creative freedom and fun along the way. On a practical note it was about providing women with a solution. I am still very passionate about providing women with shoes that not only feel amazing, but look great too! 
 
How creative do you have to be in terms of marketing these days? Does traditional marketing still work?
Traditional marketing has its place; but there are so many options available now and consumers are savvy. It is about telling your story and connecting with customers on a different level that does require some creativity and experimenting.
As a smaller size family business we have to be creative with our budget too as we have to make every dollar work for us.

Where do you want to take your business?
It’s an evolving process. I don’t think there is a magic number of stores or business size. It is all about reacting to the market and moving with the customer. This is a luxury we have as a family-owned business; we can react to the market and make decisions quickly. 
We are spending time investing in our team and making sure our product is right. Getting the basic right is what I believe to be one of the key successes for any business.
 
What wisdom and skills can young retailers bring to the industry?
Wisdom may be the one thing young retailers lack, but we make up for it in many other ways. It is important for young retailers to remember that we don’t know everything and that we need to surround ourselves with talented people who hold the same values and support us.
Age is just a number, it’s about the way you approach your business or your role that matters. I employ people of all ages, who bring different skills and passion which is very inspiring.  
 
Any suggestions on how different demographics can work together in retail?
All ages have something to offer in retail, whether it is advice through experience or new ideas and fresh thinking.
We need to be open to new ideas and change when required, but we must respect experience and tried and true ideas. The fundamentals of retail haven’t changed for hundreds of years and it is important to remember that before rushing off in a new direction. Somebody has probably been there before and can have a lot of valuable insight to share.  

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail magazine issue 750 June / July 2017
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The Retail Hotlist: Blackbird Goods is 'Best provincial retailer'

  • News
  • August 15, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: Blackbird Goods is 'Best provincial retailer'

Back in June, we celebrated retail's best and brightest with NZ Retail and The Register's first-ever awards: The Retail Hotlist. We've been sharing the stories behind the winners for a couple of months now. Read on for the last installment in the series: Blackbirds Goods of Napier, who won 'Best provincial retailer.'

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Cocavo expands 4,000 stores further into the US

  • News
  • August 14, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Cocavo expands 4,000 stores further into the US

Whangarei founded company Cocavo has recently extended into over 4,000 Walmart stores in the US. We spoke to CEO of Cocavo, Chris Nathan, about what it takes to roll out the humble New Zealand product further into international markets.

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The Retail Hotlist: 'Retail visionary' goes to GoodFor's James Denton

  • News
  • August 14, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: 'Retail visionary' goes to GoodFor's James Denton

We've been sharing the stories behind each winner of our awards programme, The Retail Hotlist. We're nearly at the end of the list - but first, read how James Denton from packageless grocery start-up GoodFor was named 'Retail visionary'.

Read more
 
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Menulog introduces people's choice to online restaurant awards

  • News
  • August 13, 2018
Menulog introduces people's choice to online restaurant awards

Technology has aimed to add convenience to all parts of life, food delivery included. As our nation's love for dining out and ordering in has meant food delivery providers have had to keep up with increasing demand. Menulog, for example, has included a new people’s choice vote in its winter Restaurant Awards.

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The Retail Hotlist: Cecilia Robinson is 'Most influential in retail'

  • News
  • August 13, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: Cecilia Robinson is 'Most influential in retail'

The Retail Hotlist is The Register and NZ Retail's awards programme. Following the launch in June, we're now sharing the stories behind our winners. This time, Cecilia Robinson, winner of 'Most influential in retail', talks My Food Bag, future predictions and management.

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Vote and win: Vote for our cover in the People’s Choice awards

  • News
  • August 10, 2018
  • The Register team
Vote and win: Vote for our cover in the People’s Choice awards

The NZ Retail and The Register team is excited to announce that we’re one of 12 finalists to win the Magshop People’s Choice Awards for the best magazine cover of 2018. We need your help to get to the finish line, but your support won’t go unrewarded: there’s a prize pool for voters totalling more than $3,300.

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