Publication:

Stratford Press - 2021-07-21

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Student Abbie has designs on success

News

Alyssa Smith

Abbie Wood, 16, has more than exams and homework to worry about. On top of her regular schoolwork, the Sacred Heart Girls’ College New Plymouth student runs two businesses, one she started when she was 12, and the other she started this year. “When you’re passionate about something you find the time to make it work. There’s a lot of late nights and weekend work, but it’s all worth it when I can share my success with other people.” Abbie’s first venture, Grow Easy, is an indoor plant business. “I started this when I was 12 after attending a business school for kids at the Rumpus Room. I have a lot of help from Mum and Dad. We learnt as we went, and they’d always drive me to markets and launch nights. Without their support this wouldn’t have been possible.” Abbie’s second business, The Together Collective, is a clothing design company started through the Young Enterprise Scheme. The scheme is an experiential programme in which year 12-13 students in New Zealand set up and run a real business. She says she has learned valuable business skills through the Young Enterprise Scheme. “It’s been very beneficial. I won the first national challenge where we had to validate our business idea and the best ones of each region went through to the nationals. There has been a lot of great guidance through the scheme which has helped me progress my businesses.” The T-shirt designs are created by Abbie, and young artists Hannah Hitchcock and Zoe Paynter, both 16. “I am in Zoe’s art class this year and I was in Hannah’s art class last year. I was really inspired by their talent, and I thought their work would be a great fit for The Together Collective.” Hannah says while she has always enjoyed art, it was an art competition last year that gave her the confidence in her work to take it to the next level. In 2020, she placed third in the TSB Community Trust Emergence Awards secondary schools category. The Emergence Awards, which take place at the Percy Thomson Gallery in Stratford, are a Taranaki-based competition and exhibition for young emerging visual artists. “It was very exciting that people enjoyed my art. It gave me the confidence to keep going. When Abbie approached me to be a part of her business I was excited. It’s a great opportunity and a cool way for people to see my designs.” Hannah’s pop-art Mount Taranaki design was originally a painting for her uncle who moved from Taranaki to Napier. “It was about giving him a reminder of home. I love creating art inspired by the natural landscape that surrounds me in Taranaki, while also creating something that reflects me and my own interpretation of the world. I often use bright colours and bold lines to emulate the vivid lives lived within my landscapes.” Zoe’s designs focus on Kiwiana classics. “One of my designs features jet planes, and the others feature a lolly land and a lolly scramble. I enjoy creating art that takes people on a journey down memory lane through nostalgic Kiwiana classics. I often use pastel colours, looking at items through a childlike lens with fun pops of brightness to evoke fond childhood memories” The T-shirts and crews are already popular, with orders coming from the United States and Australia as well as from all over New Zealand. Abbie says it’s exciting to know people around the world are wearing the designs. “It’s pretty neat to know people are wearing our designs everywhere.” Abbie plans to introduce more designs by young artists. “I want to get more people involved so they have a platform to share their art. Young artists are welcome to contact me through my social media pages or my website.” Both of Abbie’s businesses sell through The Collaboration retail space in Devon St, New Plymouth, and online. “The Collaboration is a place where small businesses and artists can share their work. It’s an awesome place for shopping local and supporting small Taranaki businesses.”

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