Former The Block NZ winner, Amy Moore, is putting her eye for style into her very own retail store
If Amy Moore’s win on The Block NZ had you searching for colourful and playful wares to put in your own home, then you might be due for a road trip to Gisborne. The former beauty therapist-turned-interior designer has recently set up her first retail store, The WorkShop, and it’s filled with everything ‘Amy’ – bohemian-styled homewares, vintage finds and locally made items.
What was your vision for The WorkShop?
Initially I wanted a space to use as an office where I could sit quietly and plan rooms and ideas for clients. The space was always filled with bits and pieces I had collected for my clients to look at when they visited. That got me onto the idea of actually selling the cool things I was finding. Not just homewares, but vintage finds and products made by local artisans.
What brought you to retail and design?
After 20 years as a beauty therapist it was time for a change. Being part of The Block NZ 2018 made me realise that my passion for creating beautiful spaces was something I could take further and possibly turn into a career, which with a little push from some of my friends, I did.
What does The WorkShop offer?
It’s funny, I still find it difficult explaining the space. It’s a collection of things to buy – old, new, handmade and imported from around the world. I feel like the word “boho” is thrown around a lot these days, but I do think the space successfully brings together things from different cultures and different eras to create a somewhat bohemian vibe.
What did you have to do to get the space ready?
The idea to make the space more than just my office was born during lockdown last year, so I had lots of downtime to do some research and see if it would work. It quickly became apparent that my allocated space wasn’t going to be big enough, so I roped in a builder and we extended into the shed space through the back wall in late November. By mid-December – and just in time for the Christmas shopping chaos – The WorkShop was born and it’s everything I’d imagined, and more. It has given me so much more space to create areas of interest without tripping over myself.
Where do you source your products?
Anywhere and everywhere. I am currently designing some furniture, which I am having made in Indonesia. With no travel, I am doing it all from here with the help of a friend and I am loving the process. I am also bringing some rugs in from Morocco and some homewares from Bali. I deal directly with the men and women in the villages so I know the money is going only to them and their families.
What’s the best part of running a store?
I love that I have total control of what is in The WorkShop. I don’t employ any staff at this stage, although my bestie spends a lot of time in here and helps me out with so much.
What’s the hardest part?
Having time off!
What do you love about living in Gisborne?
I love everything about Gizzy. The community is so supportive and they really embrace new things. I think because we are that bit more isolated, people think were a bit behind the times, but in a way I think that adds to its charm. Gisborne is a place you don’t necessarily pass through on your way to somewhere else. It’s a destination. I think we live in a pretty special part of the world. But I would say that – I am Gizzy Hard, after all!
Why did you want to include workshops as part of The WorkShop?
I thought including workshops would be a great way to bring like-minded people together. I guess it’s a bit of a coincidence that it also called The WorkShop. The building was formerly a local plumber’s workshop and now Stu [Watts] uses some of the space out the back for the same thing – another reason for the name.
What workshops do you offer?
We are starting off with a few workshops hosted by local ladies who sell their wares in store. Pottery, aromatherapy, and perfume making – to name a few.
What is your favourite thing you’ve got in-store right now?
I have a gorgeous original artwork by Rachel Barber that consumes most of the back wall of the shop. I also have something super exciting in progress as a collab with a friend of mine. She has a business called Wild Earth perfumes and earlier this year we started to create a fragrance together – we’re calling it ‘1000 Hippies’. We are in the process of sourcing bottles and having labels made, so watch this space.
Any more plans for the future?
I would like to continue to build on my business. I want to make The WorkShop a place where people can buy things, but for it to also be a space for people to feel welcome in. I’d love people to come in, have a coffee or a kombucha, wander around and a chat about their homes, or just their day. It’s become a bit of a hub where people float in and out – even if they don’t really need anything.
Words by: Bea Taylor. Photography by: Florence Charvin