After leaving her 15 year career as a teacher in 2018, Meelee and her husband Ed bought The Frock Shop to begin the next chapter of their story. Situated in the tranquil Raumati Beach on the Kapati Coast, they desired a more relaxed lifestyle living by the ocean with their 3 children.
The Frock Shop showcases the incredible range and creativity of New Zealand designers and their talent under one roof. Meelee brings her teaching skills to the business wotij adds her own flare to the store with her styling tips and tricks
We talk with Meelee about her big career change transition; how she balances raising 3 children while running a fashion store and her dreams for The Frock Shop.
What have you got going behind the scenes for the business this year?
As a retail store we are always thinking about the next thing we can do to keep it interesting and relevant. Currently we are working on planning a series of styling workshops. Our first one kicks off next week and we have invited a couple of speakers who will share their knowledge and experience in the areas of health, wellbeing and how to look fabulous as we mature. As a former teacher, knowledge is key, and if we share that amongst ourselves we empower each other and the women in our community.
Any sneak peaks you can tease us with?
Keep an eye out for this on our website and social media channels for details but the workshops focus on how to create a capsule wardrobe; 12-14 classic pieces that women wear in any given season. We talk frankly about body shapes and how to create the right look for you.
Next Boh Runga Jewellery item on your wish list?
A Double Kisses Pendant
What has been the biggest learning curve since taking over The Frock Shop?
The rag trade, how it works and understanding the processes of running a business.
What do you love most about your store and why?
Promoting the fabulous brands we have. Many are NZ designers with the focus on classic, sustainable pieces that last. Helping women choose something they love and will enjoy wearing. When you look good you feel good.
What is your dream for your store in 5 years time and how do you aim to make those dreams possible?
To grow the Frock Shop brand. Taking it to the next level and ensuring it stays on the map as a shopping destination for beautiful NZ clothing. Searching for new brands with that point of difference that women look for to create their own style. I love bringing a new label in that’s a bit different, quirky and fun to wear.
How did you find the career change transition? Is there anything you would do differently and what advice would you give to someone thinking of buying a fashion store?
It was a huge learning curve coming from a teaching background but I was certainly up for a challenge. I have learnt so much about business, the industry and myself as a person. Would I do anything differently? Hindsight is a great thing. Talk to people in the industry for insight and experience. They might have smoothed the way a little.
What is your most treasured piece of jewellery? When did you receive it? Tell us the story behind it.
My jade bracelet inherited from my mum when she died 10 years ago. It tells a story of her journey here from Hong kong as a young woman; 35 years of working in her own business, looking after people and getting a lot of pleasure from that. I take from that her legacy, my Chinese heritage and identity.
What are you passionate about in life?
Life and all that it embodies. My mantra is "Live life to the full. Cherish each day and celebrate all that is good."
Juggling a fashion store and raising 3 children must be very busy! How do you balance work/home life?
I’m not sure you ever really do. Just when you think things are under control something throws you. I have great support from my team at the store and an amazing husband (who is also the financial controller) keeps me in check. Communication and a sense of humour is paramount. Some days are absolute chaos at our house!!!
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given/learnt?
You make a mistake, but only once.