Mt Maunganui’s Dandie Store is a free-spirited world unto itself

Come with us to this consciously curated treasure trove by Rose Ackland of Beach Knickers and Josh Milward of Sitting Pretty Design.

In early 2020, Rose Ackland of fashion label Beach Knickers and Josh Milward of Sitting Pretty Design set off on a road trip from their home in Tauranga to Dunedin, stopping everywhere in between to sell Rose’s latest Beach Knickers collection to stockists in the South Island. The fun they had visiting the various stores inspired them to offer their own community a boutique shopping experience, while supporting local designers, small businesses and their creative mates. They put their heads together for some good old-fashioned brainstorming during the March lockdown, and the result now open in Mt Maunganui is Dandie Store.

So Rose, what’s so great about Dandie’s location? Being on the main road at the Mount but not in the main strip of shops makes us kind of a destination store. We love the site because it’s a really old building with a bit of character and a back garden — and we’re right next to a great coffee and bagel shop.

Did you have to do much to make it your own? It had been empty for six months before we moved in, so it needed a bit of love. We were excited to start from scratch because it meant we were able to bring lots of our ideas to life. We put up a wall, painted, tiled the floors, installed lighting… everything you can possibly think of. We wanted to make the space fresh and colourful, so we texture-plastered the walls — a look that was popular in the ’70s. Using older techniques like this gives the shop a nostalgic feel for many of our customers.

HANDS-ON Everything Rose and Josh decorated with was made by them or picked up secondhand. Josh crafted the shelves and racks you can see in these photos, and the coffee table pictured in the middle image is one of his too. The white shell pots on either side of it were a vintage find that the pair restored and the floor tiles were a Trade Me score. In the shot above, Rose’s Beach Knickers designs hang alongside items by other favourite brands.

How would you describe the Dandie aesthetic? The shop is filled with natural light and colour. I think colour can make you feel differently, and it’s something people really enjoy about Dandie. I want people to enjoy colour and not be afraid of it. We have records playing and incense burning, which creates a different experience for everyone — some love the music and some comment on the scent. We love vintage and it shows, even through the new things we have in store. It’s a real mixture of old and new, beach-town boutique and our imaginations.

ABOVE Josh puts a record on at the rear of the store. The record player sits on a shelving unit he made that also displays various homeware items the couple stock.

What’s on repeat on your in-store playlist? A lot of JJ Cale, the Beatles, Otis Redding, the Rolling Stones…

What attracts you to the pieces you stock? Josh does a lot of research. He’s amazing at discovering brands and designers, and getting in contact with them. We love original designs with a thoughtful approach to making and manufacturing. Small production is also important to us when we’re looking for brands to stock.

TOP Some of Josh’s steel Dandie hooks. ABOVE In the dressing room are his Wavy mirror and a stool from his On the Beach collection.

What’s the secret to scoring good vintage? We’re both really passionate about secondhand and vintage. Doing research and learning about design and art helps you to pick out quality pieces that have value. When things are heavy, rare or interesting, I tend to grab them.

How do you and Josh balance working on the store and your own brands? Neither of us really thought about how much we were adding to our workload, so we’ve had a pretty big year juggling it all. But we’re so grateful to be doing what we’re passionate about. The shop allows both of us to put things we’ve made straight out onto the floor and get a feel for whether people like them and why. It’s an awesome way to get feedback and make things people really want.

What do you guys get up to in your downtime? We spend time with our friends, escape to the beach and catch up on life admin. Josh plays in his workshop and I like to paint. The shop has been all-consuming, but we hope to have some time off at the end of summer.

Where are you favourite spots to get away to? We love the South Island, and locally we head to Waihi Beach or follow the towns up the Coromandel. New Zealand is pretty magic at this time of year.

Interview Alice Lines
Photography Rose Ackland

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