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Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

  • News
  • December 12, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Gem Retail Hotlist: Benjamin Black and regional retail

Our 'Best provincial retailer: South Island' award was hotly contested in the Gem Retail Hotlist, but in the end, it was Nelson jeweller Benjamin Black that won. Find out more about this boutique craft jeweller.

Nelson jeweller Benjamin Black Goldsmiths illustrates how starting off in the regions can give a business the freedom to take risks.

When master jeweller Benjamin Clark opened Benjamin Black Goldsmiths in 2012, he was in his early twenties, but already had some seven years of experience behind him. The son of a watchmaker began his career in jewellery aged just 16 as an apprentice at the world-renowned Jens Hansen Gold & Silversmiths. 

After mastering traditional gold and silversmithing techniques and developing a distinctive style Clark spotted a gap in the market for ethical, handmade jewellery that had a bit of heft to it. “Fine and dainty” designs were dominating elsewhere, and Clark has since had success with a line of chunky engraved signet rings.

Now 30, he co-owns Benjamin Black Goldsmiths with his partner Amy Cunningham. The couple also run sister brand Black Matter, a demi-fine fashion jewellery brand which is sold on a wholesale basis. He answered some questions for us about regional retail.

Tell us how being based in the regions has supported your business’s growth.

Nelson is a hub for artists and creatives. We are constantly being renewed and inspired by the people who surround us. This is not only motivating, it also helps to catalyse innovation in business, and has been instrumental to our growth. 

Have you ever been tempted to up sticks and move to Auckland or another major centre? What’s made you resist?

Although a large percentage of our customers are based outside of Nelson, we will continue to base ourselves here for the foreseeable future. We feel fortunate to live and work in a place that has so much to offer, whilst also being able to connect with a national audience. 

What’s special about regional businesses?

Regional businesses are special because they represent a piece of their origin. They are quite often smaller, family businesses or boutique stores, which have a beautiful personalised approach and uniqueness. If you go into a regional business, you will quite often be meeting with the owner, and in our case, the makers. Visitors to our region love this as much as we do. 

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 764 October/November 2019.

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Picking up the scraps: The companies leading waste minimisation

  • Design
  • January 23, 2020
  • Findlay Buchanan
Picking up the scraps: The companies leading waste minimisation

In New Zealand, we discard 15.5 million tonnes of waste each year, an absurd amount for a small, agrarian, country at the bottom of the earth. Partly, the problem lies in our recycling systems – only a meager 28 percent of it is recycled. But, new radical solutions are being developed, we’ve already transformed water bottles into asphalt, plastic bags into clothes, and roofing into pavements. Plus, a company in the states, Joachim’s firm, plans to build a 53-story tower made with the waste, a vision for tall buildings and skyscrapers that could be made of plastic.

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2020 vision: What 2020 means for Dargaville retailers

  • News
  • January 22, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: What 2020 means for Dargaville retailers

In the final installation of our series looking at retail in seven New Zealand regions, we're examining Dargaville.

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Container Door fined $54,000 over non-compliant bicycles

  • News
  • January 21, 2020
  • The Register team
Container Door fined $54,000 over non-compliant bicycles

Ecommerce retailer Container Door has fallen afoul of the Commerce Commission after supplying pedal bicycles which did not meet mandatory product safety standards.

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Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
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2020 vision: How Cambridge retail will perform this year

  • News
  • January 21, 2020
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
2020 vision: How Cambridge retail will perform this year

As part of a series looking at seven regional centres to consider what regional retail looks like this year, we're considering Cambridge.

Read more
 
 

Steve Mills becomes Countdown's new GM of Merchandise

  • Who's Where
  • January 21, 2020
  • Makayla Wallace-Tidd
Steve Mills becomes Countdown's new GM of Merchandise

Countdown has announced Steve Mills as the new general manager of merchandise.

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Larger retailers to discuss key issues in Retail NZ’s new group

  • News
  • January 20, 2020
  • The Register team
Larger retailers to discuss key issues in Retail NZ’s new group

Retail NZ is launching a new Leading Retailers’ Group for large and significant retailers. With its first meeting to be held in late February, the group will provide a safe outlet for senior retailers to discuss issues affecting the sector.

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