If you have been loving our most recent campaign SUGAR COATED, you'll find the latest collection, alongside all the colourful summer props in Saben Stockist, Hedgerow. Hedgerow, is a boutique home, gift and lifestyle store in Auckland's coveted Remuera road, owned by Sarah Clark. We recently sat down & chatted with Sarah, delving into the inception of Hedgerow, her aspirations, the invaluable lessons of her journey, the balancing act of motherhood and business, her unique personal style, and the intricate workings behind managing a thriving boutique.
What was the founding dream, question or idea running through your minds as you took on Hedgerow all those years ago?
Doing my own thing! I had always absolutely loved Hedgerow and stores like it and was keen for a new adventure after almost 15 years in advertising. I was also a mum to my youngest two children and wanted a career that was more flexible so I could be more available for them at the times they needed me. Working for yourself means you can get a lot done in odd hours of the day and night!
How has this evolved, and what mantras will you be practicing this summer and beyond into 2024?
My babies are pretty grown up now (24, 20 and 15) so they don’t need me in the same ways that they used to. This gives me more time and energy for Hedgerow but I am also trying to remember that there should be time for rest and relaxation as well. I have such great staff and I am planning on some time out this summer!
With business comes challenge, what has been the biggest learning curve for you?
Everything! My only retail experience had been some part time work in a fashion store while I was studying for my degree. I knew nothing and was completely naive when it came to the ins and outs of running my own business. I had to learn absolutely everything. Plus technology has changed enormously over the past 18 years and I have had to work really hard to keep on top of that.
I have now had the business through two recessions and a pandemic which have obviously been challenging but they are also great opportunities to look at how you are doing things, try new things and take risks. And be really proud you survived!
What piece of advice have you since learned that you would impart to yourself when you were starting out?
Keep things in perspective!
What do you love most about your beautiful boutique?
My customers. My community is full of some of the most lovely friendly, loyal and kind people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I absolutely love being in store, it never gets old for me.
Independently epic, it’s undeniable you are a force to be reckoned with. When selecting products and brands for your range, do you go with gut instinct or are you strategic when planning your products and brands in store?
A bit of both. I am constantly impressed by how clever people are. I love to take a chance on people (especially woman) doing new things and taking risks.
Happily, I can support great female owned NZ brands that I love but are also consistently successful for me like Saben. I have solid brands that I have had for years that are the cornerstone of the business and that means I can take risks with new brands.
You have a beautifully curated selection of brands; playful and bold lifestyle brands alongside elevated basics and sophisticated luxury. Talk us through your buying process as a mother-daughter? How long has Ruby been helping with the family business?
Ruby was 6 when I bought Hedgerow, so she really doesn’t remember life without it! She has always had a great eye and helped out in store and I need to know what her generation are into! She is now a lawyer so she doesn’t have much free time but our buying trips are not only vital for the business but we have the very best time together.
You have a lust-worthy selection of local and international brands? Have you got any faves…apart from Saben of course 😉
How do you know when something is going to resonate with your customer? Ha if I knew that I would be retired by now! It is a constant puzzle as to what resonates and sometimes I get it right but sometimes things I adore fail!
How would you describe your style? Modern but classic.
What pieces are currently on high rotation? Marle's new Vermilion colour in the Coco pant and Hanya Dress, Laing Silk Sets and Roma set.
Your failsafe look (like, your default setting when nothing is ‘working’) I sadly always fall back to black! I am trying so hard not to do that but a black dress always solves a problem.
Next on your wish list? A Celine belt
Saben Staple? Bea Crossbody – the perfect classic!
Saben Splurge? Roma – I need this!!