New business is about to take off
Couple happy to settle here
New Wanaka resident James Mitchell is relishing setting up his cover-making business, Optimum Trim, in Ballantyne Road.
The UK immigrant’s arrival in Wanaka has been six years in the making, as he and his horticulturist wife, Claire Insley, worked their way from the top to the bottom of the country.
The couple met and married in the UK and worked in various places throughout the North Island before arriving in Central Otago two years ago, where Mitchell worked with an Alexandra firm.
The keen paragliders recently moved from their Cromwell home to Lake Hawea, where there is strong paragliding network, and they are now in the process of applying for citizenship.
Mitchell is also a practicing kung fu artist and plans to set up a wing chun school in Wanaka.
‘‘We always had our eye on Wanaka because of the outdoors,’’ he said.
Setting up what is Wanaka’s third upholstery business had been challenging ‘‘on a shoestring budget’’, but Mitchell was grateful for the support of friends and his landlord at Wanaka Storage and Workshop Rentals.
‘‘It was difficult to find premises in Wanaka but I was lucky. I rang the agent and he said he had just that second listed it,’’ he said.
Mitchell learned his trade in the United Kingdom, working in the luxury yacht and aviation markets.
He eventually ran his own business for four years.
While working in Whangarei, he commissioned work from the US secretary of state John Kerry and his wife.
He also helped design and make flight interiors for Air New Zealand’s seating.
‘‘I now have strong ties with flight interiors and will be the only local company supplying to the aviation market with fully legal and tested materials,’’ he said.
‘‘The Queenstown Lakes area is a growing exciting and up coming place where things are moving forward.’’
James Mitchell is excited about his new business.