On the move after nearly 10 years in the same location, Living at Home's Lindsay Chemaly is moving to new premises so she can focus on her passion, which is helping clients furnish their homes with curtains and blinds.
How long have you had a shop in Remuera?
I've been here since 1995. 21 years! Sue and I started in Remuera Mall as Biggie Best, which is a global fabric franchise company, then I moved across the road in 2007. And now I'm moving to number 419, the old Remuera Health premises.
Three moves within the same area. You must love it here?
I've actually been in the soft furnishing business for 30 years now, and I started out in Howick. But it became clear after a few years that several of my customers were travelling all the way from Remuera. At that time there were already several similar stores in Remuera, but because I had a good customer base I thought relocating would make it more convenient for them.
Tell us about the 'look' you've created at the new shop?
I've gone for a fresh, casual look. Very relaxed. And although there are still some homewares, it's mainly curtains and blinds.
What is your favourite thing in the shop?
At the moment it's some lovely, natural jute rugs that I've just got in.
What sets you apart from other shops in Remuera who do soft furnishings?
I give a really personal service. My customers know they are dealing with the owner of the business rather than an employee. I come to the customer's home, do the measurements, offer advice... well not so much offer advice, as I find people generally know what they want - but sometimes they just need a bit of help realising it. Then I attend the fitting as well. And if something is not quite right, I will tend to it personally, there and then. It's my personal guarantee.
I understand that personalised service has been recognised officially?
Yes! For the past three years Living at Home has achieved 90% or higher for customer service excellence in the Remuera Mystery Shopper awards. I am one of only five retailers in Remuera who have achieved this for three years running.
Does creativity in the soft-furnishings trade run in the family?
My family actually have a retail background; my father owned a paint and hardware business. It did have carpet and curtains for sale though! My mother and grandmother were both creative - they were a hat-maker and wedding dressmaker respectively.
Do you work in the shop every day?
Yes, I'm here every day, along with my trusty part-time ladies.
Do you live locally?
I live right here in the village, it's wonderful. I'm even walking to work most days now!
Did you grow up here?
No, I came to New Zealand when I was 30-years-old... there was so much unrest in South Africa. But my children have all grown up here and attended the local Catholic schools.
What do you do in your spare time?
I play golf. Not overly well though! My husband is very good, I'm just a beginner.
What do you enjoy most about being in Remuera?
The people, I love Remuera people! It's my home and my community.
Living at Home
419 Remuera Road
Ph: 09 524 9986
Photos by Vanita Andrews and words by Fiona Wilson