Izaak Calvert


Izaak has always had a passion for skateboarding, and clothes and held a dream to own his own skate store since a very young age. He made plans on his computer on how he would achieve this goal until he lost his computer; however, having the ability to retain information in his head, his planning was not all lost.

Not being the best student, his teachers would ask him what he wanted to do when he left, and he would tell them his dream. They would repeatedly respond, “You will never own your own business unless you do your work here.” 

And good for him that those words never got in the way of his dream.

Izaak did not complete level 12 and left school to go work in the local Greymouth plywood factory. While still living at home, he saved all his money to help realise his dream. 

Christchurch was like a second home when growing and said they would even drive over here to get McDonald's, as they didn’t have one on the Coast. He would also come over with his mates to enjoy the skate parks and city nightlife so moving here to start his business was an easy choice. “It’s a big/little city and everything you need is in close proximity.”

We like to know why people start their businesses in the location they do, especially on the fringe of the CBD. Izaak said he had to take out a small loan to start up, so he had to go to an accountant to provide the bank with a business model. It was the bank that dictated location as he was looking at locations closer in but due to the higher rents, the bank said the rent needed to be half of what he was looking at before they would provide a loan.

However, the location ended up suiting his business brand ‘Outsiders’. We asked how the name originated and Izaak said, “I did look at a range of names but they all seem to connect to existing brands. I wasn’t from Christchurch, so an outsider, I am not a businessman, and so an outsider, and skateboarders are often seen as outsiders, so it all seemed to fit”. 

He says there is also a lot of really good food around this location, which brings people, and new customers have often commented that they have seen his store driving past or on the bus.

Izaak opened on 26th October 2019 and the COVID lockdowns came in March 2020. I asked how did the business survive over this period. He quipped, “Quitting wasn’t an option.” But attributed his survival mostly to his website with a good number of sales coming through online. He was skeptical about having a website at the beginning but a good friend offered to build it for him and said he only had to pay for it when he could afford to. What a good friend.

However, while sitting at home during lockdown he realized he needed to reduce some costs and had always wanted to have a Barber within his store. He managed to convince a mate to set up his barbershop within his business, subleasing some space. What was originally one rickety chair became one really nice Barbers chair, then two… and now looking to be three.

One of Izaak’s business goals was to support Street Culture and post-lockdown he has held skate events, art exhibitions, and even Rap battles.

We asked, “Are there any city stores you think have done a great job of what they do?”

“I think Gerard at Curb has done some really good stuff and he had the same battles I had. I also love Dimitris Souvlaki they are just the best and Winnie Bagoes has a great environment.”

What do you think are the opportunities for Christchurch?

“We need the Metro Sports and Stadium completed and a few hundred thousand more people living in Christchurch. We also need to continue letting people know about how much the city has to offer as there are still a lot of people who think the town has nothing to offer.”

And we agree!



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