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Fledgling Business Takes Flight


22nd September 2008

Fledgling Business Takes Flight

Picture walking into a candle lit room where the dining table is dressed to impress, the lounge is filled with stunning décor to satisfy the eye and gentle fragrances fill the air. Imagine a coffee or wine in your hand and the company of good friends. You’ve just walked into a Chez Nous demonstration, a shopping experience like no other.

It is an experience that is being perfected by one of Hawke Bay’s up and coming new businesses. Chez Nous NZ, a Napier based party plan company, is already making its presence felt on the National Stage having just been named a finalist in The David Awards for Small Businesses.

The awards which are being run by Home Business New Zealand, received 80 entries across 8 different categories. Chez Nous is a finalist in the Most Outstanding Fledgling Business Category which recognizes businesses under two years young that are smart, quirky, or just very professionally set up.

The creation of Chez Nous NZ began in 2006 when two Napier women, Leanne Christensen and Rachel Mackay bought the business. Although neither of them had any previous experience in running a business they set about the task of creating a company tailored to the needs of today’s women (and men!).

“More and more men are becoming décor savvy and taking a bigger role in designing their homes.” says Leanne. “Couples simply don’t have enough time to spend trawling through shops in town looking for the perfect gift or accessory for their home.”

“We take the hassle and the guess work out of shopping for home décor by bringing the products to you.” says Rachel. “When you experiment with the colours and decor in your own home it’s easy to make the right choices.”

The Chez Nous range now encompasses high quality, stylish home décor products and giftware from bedding and towels to kitchen and dining and much more. You can even preview the products online before attending a party, at the Chez Nous website and online shop.

“Chez Nous is about the whole experience. To enjoy, to inspire, making shopping easy and relaxing” says Leanne “and it’s a fantastic business opportunity for those interested in pursuing a sales career.”

As successful business owners Leanne and Rachel believe strongly in the importance of balancing work and family commitments.

“The aim is that our business will work to contribute to our family life, not to detract from it. That means a highly successful, profitable business that is flexible enough to allow us to spend great time with our families.” says Rachel.

This commitment to a family friendly business carries through to their Sales Consultants. Chez Nous sets no minimum requirements for parties to be held each month or monthly sales. Instead they believe it is important for each consultant to set their own pace.

“Some of our consultants only want to do one party a week, whereas other consultants want to make this a full time career” says Leanne. “It’s about providing the framework for a successful business and allowing each individual to tailor their business to suit their personal lifestyle and goals.”

Clearly they are doing something right. This last financial year has seen a 206% increase in sales over their previous eight months of trading and an impressive 211% increase in Gross Profit.

“We have spent our first two years laying solid foundations for the company” says Leanne. “Now we are well positioned to expand the business beyond Hawke’s Bay.”

And they are setting their sights high.

“Our vision is to be the best Party Plan business in New Zealand” says Leanne.

Being selected as a finalist in the David Awards has been a great encouragement to the two women.

The David Awards seek to recognize and honour the unsung heroes in home and small business throughout New Zealand, whose tenacity, courage and ingenuity place them at the forefront of entrepreneurship in this country.

“We are very excited about making the finals. It’s great to see that others recognize the enormous potential of this business.”says Rachel.

“This is only the start. We have a clear vision for this company and we are well on the way to achieving it. It’s an amazing journey and we are enjoying every step.”


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