Red Letter Day owner, Lindy MacDonald, shares her passion for fine stationery and whatinspired the launch of her boutique store in Matakana and most recently Jervois Road,Auckland.
How did your love for fine stationery and writing come about?
From a young age I enjoyed writing letters, a habit encouraged by my prolific grandmotherwho lived in Scotland. Her use of Aberdonian English was a source of much amusement to my 10 year old self – I was ‘quine’, my brother ‘loon’ and my mother ‘hen’! Nana, to ensure returncorrespondence, gifted us paper and pens for birthdays and Christmases. My passion for allthings writing was ignited.
What inspired you to start your own store?
Graham my husband and I owned a vineyard in Matakana. We were watching the new retaildevelopment with interest when, after a particularly nasty winter which saw Graham with shingles and me a pruning injury, I glimpsed an opportunity. After discussing it with Graham,an avid pen collector and the developer, I decided to ditch Mother Nature as a boss and startedevolving the idea for Red Letter Day.
Who is your role model?
I’m sure this sounds twee but, my grandmother is my role model. I met her for the first timein Scotland when I was sixteen; she was exactly in person as she was on paper, a little lady with a lilting voice. It didn’t matter that her family was scattered around the globe she had aconversation with us individually via paper and pen and her personality shone through on thepage.
Having your husband as your business partner, how do you find balance living andworking closely together?
Graham and I have been married 23 years and have always worked alongside one another, hotels in the UK and the vineyard in Matakana, so Red Letter Day wasn’t a huge leap to take.Graham is a talented pencil and pen artist and loves nothing more than to engage the customerswhile he’s sketching in store – they love the interaction with him while he’s drawing. I do the admin side, buying and can usually be found behind a counter – Matakana or Ponsonby.
What do you do to relax and unwind?
We are very lucky and live close to the beach. I take our dog Bailey down most days, I can’t help but unwind watching that Schnoodle bound like a rabbit from dune to sea to driftwood tosniffing other dogs that happen upon her turf – she’s an absolute pleasure to both Graham andme.
I’m also a prolific reader, letter writer and diarist - all activities that relax me.
What is some advice you can offer people that are wanting to start their own business?
Apart from doing the required homework and having a passion, trust your gut. We openedDecember 2007, the beginning of the downturn, if we’d listened to the naysayers we would have second guessed every move and most likely confused ourselves and our customers. It hasn’tbeen an easy time to be a retailer but by bringing in new ranges, brands exclusive to Red Letter Day, we keep the passion alive for ourselves and our customer base.
What are some emerging trends for stationery?
Graham and I tend to avoid trends. We like to travel to at least one international fair each year to discover new and interesting products for ourselves. We have attended Paperworldin Frankfurt, the New York stationery fair and Reed gift fairs in Australia and come homewith fabulous ranges including Jac Zagoory, Retro 51 and El Casco desk accessories. This year Graham has his eye on a product not yet available in New Zealand so we are off to Singapore inJuly to try and secure it – watch this space.
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