A couple of weeks ago, my mum and I visited one of Nostalgem’s stockists at Botany Downs Town Centre. While walking through the covered outdoor area, you can’t help but notice an elegant boutique gift shop that is RAPT. We were very lucky to meet and interview Anj, RAPT’s owner. This working mum had so many great insights about striking a work-life balance that we wanted to share her thoughts with our blog readers. And as the name suggests, you’ll feel rapt admiring the classy and minimalistic aesthetic of the store! Stuck with birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, or Christmas gift ideas? There’s something for everyone at RAPT, with a friendly team with a great eye for design.
Here is the insightful interview with Anj. Enjoy!
1. What inspired you to start RAPT?
My mum was the lead in starting RAPT. She and my dad had been looking for a business for Mum to run for some time. When Surprizes Botany came on the market, it was a perfect fit as Mum had enjoyed working for Living & Giving (the online homeware and gift shop). In 2007, Mum walked into the shop and took over. In 2009, I joined her team just to build a website and get things running. We rebranded the shop to RAPT, launched our first website and I was hooked! It was such a pleasure working with Mum, and I loved the product and merchandising and invested myself in growing our online presence on a social media and e-commerce basis. And, well, the rest is history. I’ve never looked back and have almost flipped the business on its head and taken it to a whole new level since then.
2. What was the best thing you learned from working with your mother?
Mum has this incredible talent for customer service and has built a reputation for really caring and looking after our customers. That has been invaluable to our brand and our growth. Many times, we end up out of pocket to solve a problem. But it has been worth it in the long run as putting your customers’ needs before yours secure future loyalty and this has come from Mum’s lead.
3. What are the first three things you do when you arrive at work?
I walk the floor and take in every corner of the store. I work very hard to keep the stock fresh and the displays beautiful so I know just about every inch of the store and how I want it to look. I spend time looking at what needs working on and where some gaps for new stock are. Web orders are the first port of call for the morning, and I will jump in and help any staff member working on the orders so we can get them out the door ASAP. I am focused on quick shipping as I know how annoying it is waiting for your order as an avid online shopper myself. Emails, emails… There are constantly dozens of fresh emails to look at so I like to clear them out of the way first thing.
4. How would you describe your customer avatar (your typical customer)?
She’s a lady who likes a boutique-style, someone you’re not going to see everywhere. She has great taste and enjoys indulging in a day out shopping with a local coffee in hand and a friend or two in tow. She always loves a good chat and over time we’ve built some real friendships with some of our local fans.
5. What’s so special about having a store in Botany Town Centre?
Botany is such a unique mall. It’s not a cookie-cutter mall with a basic layout and the same old stores. We love its unique style and the new Lane is just so different – it won awards for its design. What’s so special though is the community – both with our customers as well as the local retailers. It feels like home!
6. What’s your one advice to working mums?
BREATHE! I run two businesses and have a two-year-old as well as a stepdaughter, and Me Time is just an impossibility. I have always been pretty hard on myself working all hours as I am so driven and very goal-oriented, and the intensity of the schedule can get intense. To get through it’s all about prioritizing and working smart. Efficiency is key and I’m lucky I work extremely quickly. Our house is up early and out the door by 7 am, but I head home at 3.30 pm to pick up my little man. We hang out for the afternoon and that time and flexibility are invaluable. I will always pick up anything I need to in the evening and am learning to lean on my team. Try and balance what you can but always make time for your li’l babes.
7. What’s your favourite Nostalgem jewellery and why?
I get excited about selling the flora gems. I think the creativity of this handcrafted piece is so lovely and customers love the story behind it. They are so pretty and something I’ve never come across before. I just love telling customers it’s all made here in New Zealand too, which is so important these days.
Wow! What great insights into Anj’s journey with RAPT, and all while being a working mum! Here are some photos we took during our visit.
The Nostalgem collection! Absolutely amazing to see Nostalgem’s products showcased so beautifully!
Wood planting boxes with a nice rustic touch for the keen gardener
The flowers added a nice touch to the display. Don’t they just complement the setup so beautifully?
A well-curated display of the fragrant Ecoya products! The right place to go if you’re stuck on gift ideas! We managed to grab a last minute birthday present for my Nana here, and it definitely was a success!
My personal favourite products here by far! Gorgeous crystals in a classy minimalistic packaging for an elegant touch.
If there’s one thing I noticed about RAPT’s gorgeous product displays, it’s that there is beauty and elegance in minimalism, and… that cohesive colour palettes never fail to disappoint! If you happen to go to Botany Downs Town Centre, I highly recommend you drop by to see what Anj’s wonderful curation has to offer. It was great to get to know more about Anj, the face behind RAPT who works incredibly hard on such a beautiful and elegant store. Thanks Anj for your time!