TWO FRIENDS, ONE DREAM. HOMEWARE HEAVEN IN THE VILLAGE
Having not caught up for a while, long-time friends Tracey and Christine got together one night at a local comedy show. As the wine flowed and the night progressed, they realised that they both wanted a career change. Passionate about nice things and great service they decided to make the dream into reality, opening their beautiful homeware and gift store The Urban Studio at 445 Mt Eden Rd in December 2019. Bursting with creativity and laughter, visiting these two is akin to catching up with old friends – ones with impeccable taste.
Q. How did you start this business?
A. Tracey: Christine’s passion was urban glam – beautiful, quality things for home and lifestyle and mine was restyling and selling remarkable pieces of furniture. We started with selling some previously owned furniture for clients, styling it an attractive way with cushions, vases and plants. Iconic, quality pieces always have a home. While we worked together on furniture, we also spent a lot of time pulling everything else together. We support NZ brands but also love bringing in quality brands from Australia and all over the world for something a little different.
A. Christine: I wanted to be in the village because we are both locals. It was important to bring something different to the village and complement the stores that were already here. Space doesn’t come up very often in Mt Eden and we spent a lot of time looking around. We were lucky to find this space and the timing was right.
Q. What were you both doing before this business venture?
A. Tracey: I am from a teaching Maths & Statistics background but have always been interested in interiors and house renovations. I’m always changing my dining room table and moving things around. My husband would come home and there would be no dining room table (laughs). I would make spreadsheets of paint colours, looking at formulas and light reflectability. That’s how I bring together maths and interiors.
A. Christine: I have had quite a lot of experience in homewares and fashion. I’ve worked at Kate Sylvester and for Air New Zealand before that. My previous role before this was as operations manager for Soho Wines.
Q. What is it about Mt Eden that you like, and what other stores do you support?
A. Tracey: Mt Eden has a really nice community feel about it. Since moving in, people have been really friendly, and very supportive and loyal.
A. Christine: We eat all the pies from the Paris Bakery (raucous laughter from T & C). They are so good. We had to do a little vacuum before you got here! We buy our coffees and hot chocolates from Circus Circus two doors down. They see us coming and they make it straight away.
T&C: Then there’s sushi, flowers, books, and of course, bread from Olafs plus the superette for bits and pieces to name a few.
Q. Do you have favourite customers?
A. T&C: So many different people come by and they come from many walks of life and that’s interesting as you don’t know who is going to walk into the door and what story they are going to tell you. We hear a lot of stories because we’re here all the time, and we love to listen.
Q. Any plans for the future?
A. Tracey: We are just working hard to grow our business at the moment. Mt Eden is where we are based and our kids are close by. We will continue selling things to be enjoyed for a lifetime. We’re not into disposable. We’re not a green shop but we try to find things that are ethically made and things that you’re not going to throw out after a short time because you’re sick of it. We love using colour to complement classic pieces.
A. Christine: The things we chose to put in our store we have to love. That’s part of our criteria. We curate things that we love, that bring people joy.
Q. What do you do on your days off?
A. Christine: I run around madly catching up on home stuff. I’ve got two teenage girls that play a lot of hockey so they need a taxi driver.
A. Tracey: I’m renovating a house so that keeps me busy along with the kids and I’ve got 2 dogs that need walking. So that’s my time off.
Tracey and Christine are just lovely and oh so styley. They also proudly offer an online service that you can chose a gift that can be beautifully wrapped, with a handwritten card and sent anywhere in NZ.
Check them out at theurbanstudio.co.nz