Dominic Ellett

Business owner at Indigo & Provisions

It is always interesting recounting the steps of how people start their own retail business and it is often a crooked pathway of learning and to eventual success.

With a dad in marketing and branding, Dominic moved around a lot growing up, being born in Paris, and then moving to Oxted in Greater London, Dubai, and then back to the UK. Growing tired of the UK rat race they moved to Auckland New Zealand looking for a lifestyle change and a place that was closer to the natural environment.

Dominic’s first taste of the retail industry came at the age of fifteen working part-time for Amazon where he worked a Thursday night and a Saturday and he loved it, saying they had a cool crew of people all having a love of punk rock and tattoos. He said it was like being paid to hang out but he was also very good at the job, getting hired full-time when he finished school.

While at Amazon, Dominic started his own T-Shirt brand called ‘Stay True’ with friends designing elements that were screen-printed onto the T-Shirts. He sold these at local markets and online on Shopify which was in its own infancy in New Zealand at the time.

In the following years, he worked for Yoobee saying it was an exciting time to be in tech with the release of the first iPhone, then Platypuss as assistant manager at the Queens Street branch.

While building the Stay True brand, Dominic saw an opportunity in late 2013 to start his own bricks and-mortar business in Takapuna and called it ‘The Unknown Collective’, which would feature over twenty independent brands, from young designers, student brands, and other unknown NZ labels. However, in recounting the move, he said he was a little naïve getting caught paying very high rent and did not have a great understanding of business expenses. Luckily he had a break clause on his lease and got out at the end of his first year saying he learned a lot.

Then working as a store manager for Federation Clothing where he was connected to the whole team from accounting, designers, and business management and got to understand production timelines, order fulfillment, and business management.

Dominic then met his partner Jess and they decided to do the big OE being based in London and continued his retail experiences working for Levis and then a store called ‘Meet Bernard’ where he got to help with buying, social media, and learned how to work with small brands. After two years they returned back to New Zealand and due to family ties, settled here in Christchurch.

Wondering what to do next, it was his partner's mum that encouraged him to look into his dream of setting up his own business, and now has a rich tapestry of retail knowledge, he started seeding the idea with a business plan, researched into brands, and possible business location. After a chat with business owner Tess from Francis Nation, and excellent help from the then Arts Centre leasing agent Louise Sutherland, settled on his retail location at the Art Centre.

Five years later has built a loyal local and national following and the first question we want to know is where did the name Indigo & Provisions come from?

The name comes from my love of denim and Japanese dye techniques (Indigo) combined with a love of things that get better with age such as leather or cotton canvas (Provisions)

What do you love most about the main street retail industry?

It offers something you cannot get online, which is the personal touch, staff reviews, and recommendations, and I am a strong advocate for bricks and mortar business.

Tell us where you like to shop?

Infinite Definite for clothes, HAPA and Frances Nation for home, and having a love of reading Scorpio Books Store is one of my favourites. These guys are the stalwarts of the retail industry defying many of the odds, with amazing staff, all of who are very knowledgeable.

I also love Alice’s and Lumiere theatres. They do a great job and always have something different from the mainstream offering.

Do you have any cool places you like to go to?

The Darkroom, Space Academy, and 12 Bar offer a beautiful triangle of musical genres and the food at Pizza Trap at the Space Academy is really good. I also enjoy a whiskey at The Last Word as they really know their stuff and give great service.

I also love my coffee and frequent Tom’s on Southwark Street.



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