Their faces will be familiar to those who shop in Timaru, and now two vendors are starting their own business and aim to open a store on the main street.
Fire Hire Boutique business partners Shannon Huggins and Karina McLeod have been friends for over a decade, ever since they started working at Timaru’s Ballantynes store at the same time.
The clothing rental industry is not a new concept in New Zealand, and the couple believe that special event clothing rental is becoming more popular for sustainability and cost reasons.
“I’ve always lent clothes to friends, so I thought why not make a business out of it?” McLeod said.
* Wild pine clearing work around Lake Ōhau has been completed
* How to “sparkle” your New Year’s Eve guilt-free
* Rental of dresses to reduce prom costs
“Some people want to wear something different for different events, but not everyone can afford to, so renting is a good option for people who want to change it up without a big cost,” Huggins said.
“You can spend a lot of money on a dress, and you can wear it once, whereas if you rent it, it’s for a lot less,” McLeod said.
“And having the trial aspect is good because you can go in and try things out before you commit, and you can see how things will fit.”
The pair said they decided to stock slightly cheaper options as well as higher-end items, to ensure there was something for everyone’s budget.
Since launching this month, they have said they are happy with the number of bookings they have received and expect to be busy with bookings for events such as 21st birthday parties and weddings. And the duo plans to cater to the prom market by getting dresses ahead of that.
“We hope to have a range of colors, sizes and styles. We’re in the process of getting bigger sizes to accommodate everyone’s needs,” Huggins said.
“That’s definitely one of our goals, to make sure we include everyone.”
Operating from a spare room in McLeod’s home, the boutique’s collection began with dresses from their own personal wardrobes with more stock expected to arrive in the coming weeks.
“When Evolv, where I worked, closed, we had a hard time finding clothes, it was very difficult to find clothes to wear to go out without having to go online,” Huggins said.
The business is still in its “early stages”, but they hope to expand the store enough to have a store in Timaru.
“It’s exactly what Stafford Street needs,” Huggins said.