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.
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.