Cou­ple’s line in fine fur­ni­ture

DAILY GRIND Ha­ley Doreen and John Mai have turned their pas­sion for the stylish lines of Scan­di­na­vian fur­ni­ture into a busi­ness. Joe Daw­son sat down with the own­ers of Do­min­ion Rd’s The Vin­tage Shop to find out what got them hooked.

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Hay­ley Doreen grew up in the fur­ni­ture trade but has put her own spin on the fam­ily busi­ness.

Af­ter tak­ing over her par­ents’ Do­min­ion Rd an­tiques shop four years ago she and part­ner John Mai slowly trans­formed it to bet­ter re­flect where their own pas­sions lie.

To­day it is The Vin­tage Shop, spe­cial­is­ing in, but not lim­ited to, mid-cen­tury Scan­di­na­vian fur­ni­ture.

Sleek lines, sim­ple yet highly func­tional de­sign and beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­als is where it’s at for the cou­ple, who for- tu­nately share a very sim­i­lar taste. The move away from the more tra­di­tional an­tiques her par­ents dealt has proved to be a good one.

‘‘We found there was a de­mand and it was an era in fur­ni­ture we were pas­sion­ate about,’’ Ms Doreen, 30, says of their spe­cific in­ter­ests.

‘‘We like the gen­eral de­sign of it. It’s the aes­thetic of it and the fact it mixes in re­ally well with ev­ery kind of decor. You can mix it in with an older house or some­thing more mod­ern.’’

Stock is sourced in­ter­na­tion­ally and from within New Zealand through a net- work of con­tacts. Ev­ery­thing they stock is hand­picked and when it comes to choos­ing what to buy in they have to trust their own taste.

‘‘It’s all to our kind style,’’ Mr Mai says.

‘‘We go for things we like and hope that other peo­ple will ap­pre­ci­ate it too. We

of didn’t know if it was go­ing to work but it did.’’

The 31-year-old says he brings the hands-on skills re­quired to run a sec­ond­hand fur­ni­ture busi­ness – he has a knack for join­ery and re­fur­bish­ment – while Ms Doreen is ‘‘the brains’’ of the op­er­a­tion.

In that re­gard they are well suited to work­ing to­gether.

‘‘Some cou­ples would prob­a­bly kill each other but we’re deal­ing with it bet­ter and bet­ter,’’ he says.

They have also been able to draw on the knowl­edge of Ms Doreen’s par­ents to help them steer the busi­ness.

Mr Mai says he has learnt a lot from her fa­ther Trevor about how to bring the best out of old fur­ni­ture.

Any restora­tion work – strip­ping, re­pol­ish­ing and colour match­ing – is to res­tore pieces as much as pos­si­ble to their orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

‘‘We bring it back to how it should look – orig­i­nal and in keep­ing with the era. None of this high-gloss sce­nario.’’

The pair place a great em­pha­sis on cus­tomer ser­vice.

‘‘We share work­ing in the store be­cause we both love it,’’ Ms Doreen says.

‘‘If there is some­thing we fight about it is be­cause John wants to work in here and I want to work in here.

‘‘We love what we do, and peo­ple love hav­ing a chat and we en­joy talk­ing to the lo­cals.’’


Vin­tage dream: The Vin­tage Shop own­ers John Mai and Hay­ley Doreen.

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