We catch up with Bazaar The Empire co-founders Nardine and Hayley to chat about fashion, business, friendship and they tell us all the good spots in The Bay. Naturally, we couldn’t help but be inspired by their style along the way.
Launched in Ahuriri, Napier by colleagues and best friends, Nardine Ataera and Hayley Stuart-Malcom, December 2012, Bazaar The Empire has well and truly cemented it’s presence as a destination boutique for a curated offering of both street and luxury wears including jewelry, shoes and accessories. That’s where we come in! Saben sits in excellent company in store alongside Cecilie Copenhagen, One Teaspoon, C&M, Salasai, Juliette Hogan, Camilla, Cooper, Remain and La Tribe to name a few.
What was the founding dream, question or idea running through your minds as you conceptualized Bazaar The Empire?
We both wanted to create an inclusive space where everyone felt welcome - shopping was inspiring, uplifting and fun and the brands we offered were attainable, exciting and differed to what was already in the Hawke’s Bay market.
How has this evolved, and what mantras will you be practicing in store for 2020?
We still feel this fits us well but now as our online presence grows it’s time for us to really focus on how to evoke these attributes online also.
With business comes challenge, what has been the biggest learning curve?
Adapting to how fashion has changed particularly over the last 5 years. It’s so quick to market now with the introduction of fast fashion; with that our buying formula has changed to reflect this but we also work hard to stay true to how we both prefer to operate which is providing quality, timeless pieces our customers will continue to love in years to come.
What piece of advice have you since learned that you would impart to yourself circa 2010?
Buy what you love and love what you buy - we always come unstuck when we buy things we are invested in.
What do you love most about the store?
Our location, the beautiful, fresh, open space and our regular customers - they’re so so cool and we’re so thankful for them!
Independently epic, it’s undeniable you are a force to be reckoned with when together. Is playing to your strengths an effortless synergy or have you had to find a rhythm?
Don’t want to boast but in the past 7 years the flow has been a breeze. We know our strengths and roll with them, it’s a beautiful thing.
Perks of being in biz with your bestie?
Support, laughter, understanding and enjoyment! We have g one through so much together particularly both becoming Mum’s during our retail journey and to share it with someone you deeply care about is a real blessing.
What trait do you admire most about each other and how has that shaped the business?
N: Hayley has a business brain to rival a Harvard grad and she’s one of those clever ideas people I’m lucky enough to have by my side - she’s always thinks outside the box and it’s the opposite to me so something I love.
H: There’s a lot that I admire about Nards, professionally she is a natural connector of people she’s great with creating working relationships that naturally enhance and flow on to the way we do business together! Her other special talent is when she makes up her mind about something she can be quite driven to achieving that goal! She methodically ticks box’s and does the work to get it done!
But my favourite thing is her sense of humour and our ability to laugh at ourselves and have fun while working together!
Your styles are so different yet they sit so seamlessly in store. The more playful and bold pieces pair so perfectly in store with elevated basics and styles that lean towards sophisticated luxury. Talk us through your buying process?
We both back what we love and definitely have “our” brands but it helps if the other still appreciates the collection and pieces to guarantee a good sell through. There are always moments when one or the other gets carried away with something but over the years we have refined our buying process and have a clear idea of what our customer is wanting.
How do you know when something is going to resonate with your customer?
We always know when we both fall hard for a piece that it’s going to be a best-seller; these moments are magic!
What trends have piqued your interest for 2020? What should we be investing in?
- We’ve noticed a lot of tartan coming through in jackets and jumpers especially red (Hayley is super excited by this) and blues.
- Trench coats seem to be making a strong entry this coming winter which is such a great investment buy.
- Dramatic sleeves are paramount and we’re loving this addition of volume for the coming season.
- A fun play on leopard print is evident and the use of abstract colours which inject some much needed vibrancy into our winter wardrobes.
- Snakeskin print is still strong and coming through in a lot of footwear which offers a point of difference to your winter shoe game.
Meet Nards, an eternal perfectionist. She wakes early for daily gratitudes, defies odds keeping her white couch spotless at home with her two boisterous babes Arai, 4 years, and Conor, 3 years. (Need I even mention her beautiful boys matching outfits?!) and has recently subbed coffee for noni shots. It’s a Miranda Kerr thing #ifyounknowyouknow. She opts for paired back luxury, a minimalist at heart, her style is best described as lady-like with an edge. The overriding theme – black. She is tireless in her edit, always sourcing and curating the fashion buy for Bazaar The Empire with best friend and business partner Hayley, the ying to her yang, with family and their customers at the heart of it all. She’s a powerhouse and also one of our dearest friends. No one perfects the art of dressing like Nardine, so fashion-lovers get your notebooks, we know your gonna love this style series.
How would you describe your style?It’s a mouthful but I’m going to roll with lady-like luxe minimalism with a tomboy edge.
What pieces are currently on high rotation? One Teaspoon denim shorts in varying shades of black, C&M tees, silk camisoles, statement blazers and oversized earrings.
Your failsafe look (like, your default setting when nothing is ‘working’) A black blazer with everything (lately even my activewear!) luxe tee and denim shorts. Simple statement accessories elevate an everyday look - cue Saben bag, YSL sunglasses and standout earrings.
Next on your wish list? Amouage Honour Perfume and an investment swimsuit.
Saben Staple? Big Sis Tilly.
Saben Splurge? Charley - for work-mode.
Top three tips to finding your style and creating a capsule wardrobe?
1. Find a style muse (or two) and take note of what inspires you about their style.
2. Invest in those building block pieces - start and finish with the blazer! My other key pieces would be; great tees, good jeans (denim shorts in summer), a couple of beautiful black dresses that can be used for different occasions and a few gorgeous tops or shirts. A medium sized bag that can be used for any occasion will take you places (I love Saben Sadie for this reason) sandals, sneakers, heels and boots - buy classic and you can’t go wrong here.
3. Stay true to yourself - it’s great to experiment with trends but if you feel uncomfortable you may have taken it too far…
Meet Hayley, the girl has panache! Her style best described as boho-chic. Fearless, she’s also ridiculously clever, funny as heck and charmingly beautiful. She has the ability to pull off ANY lipstick colour ( – ‘it’s about the attitude you wear with it’??? - We think it’s the bangs!) Loves a yarn, and a strong cup of tea and always knows about the cool-stuff before its cool. Despite her insanely busy juggle as co-founder and fashion buyer at Bazaar The Empire and mum’ing to her daughter Havana, five years, Hayley is always looking for ways to make the fun funner, and this translates both in her style and in store. With a more playful approach to the art of dressing Hayley never shies from colour, print and bold new silhouettes. So please, read on and enjoy her fantastic-ness.
How would you describe your style? Today I would probably describe it as: Indulgent, fun, fearless and a bit of fun, tomorrow probably described as homeless-chic… Depends on the day I never take any of it seriously!
What pieces are currently on high rotation? My fav fav thing this summer are my La Tribe studded sandals, it’s love! Also my Salasai pleated skirt has been shamelessly over-worn….
Your failsafe look (like, your default setting when nothing is ‘working’)? I go straight to my Miss Crabb robes, either the dress or jacket and always black jeans in winter!
Next on your wish list? I’m a magpie but don’t really have a major wish-list to be honest. I generally love things in the moment and I either get it or I let it go! I don’t need anything other than boring stuff and who wants to wish for that?
Saben Staple? My Saben staple is Big Sis Tilly - it’s the most useful thing I’ve owned. I got my first one when Havana was born and it could fit one nappy and wipes so I was good to go!
Saben Splurge? Saben splurge is the Ivy, I have this also which I pop my Tilly in and also literally everything else I own.
Top three tips for style and picking pieces to love and wear for years to come:
- Don’t be rigid as style evolves and changes what worked for you five years ago may not work for you now and that’s okay!
- Always have a go-to pair of pants/jeans that make you feel awesome.
- Inject your personality in your wardrobe with accessories this can be shoes, jackets, scarves, jewellery and sunglasses.
- Also last one invest in the pieces that you love and that are timeless not a passing trend as you can mix this in with a cheaper trend item and you won’t be wasting your money :)
H: Hygee In Te Awanga such a feel good cafe! Carr’s in Hastings; soul food burgers and chicken salads that are spot on! Salt cafe in Hastings which is close to where I live - we are there way too much! Birdwoods for their smashed avo and feta toast, it’s perfect!
N: I can’t go past Elephant Hill (Te Awanga) for the most exquisite dining experience in Hawke’s Bay - food almost too pretty to eat! And St George’s Restaurant (Hastings); grab a seat in the courtyard and be served the delicious food direct from garden to plate.
H: Wherever Nards is :)
N: Champagne in the sun at Malo, Havelock North
H: Ah no it’s just tea for me! I know it’s a sad situation.
N: I’m a newly converted bulletproof coffee addict and my husband does the BEST! Followed by Miss Browns in Ahuriri and Sutto in Hastings.
H: Opera Kitchen (Hastings); anything sweet they have is epic especially their crack pie!
N: Jungle Cafe (Havelock North); raw, vegan, GF, RSF, you know just all round good for you - treats of the (almost) guilt-free kind for me please : )
Once we’ve shopped at BTE, where do we go? To the beach! Our location is dreamy and the gorgeous sea side is literally a minute away.
BAZAAR THE EMPIRE
2/91 Bridge Street, Ahuriri, Napier
With thanks to Rachel Burt Photography