Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goodbye and Hello. And thank you.

I'm guessing this is going to be one of the hardest posts I've ever had to write.  Well, I've only ever written five!   Might be a long one too so I hope you've got a cup of tea there.  I'll just come straight out with it....

I'm saying goodbye to Hapene Flax NZ Ltd.

Maybe you've already heard, or perhaps you don't even know what Hapene Flax NZ Ltd is!  I guess you could say it was my first 'baby'.  A little idea with a little piece of flax, that I nurtured and grew and developed and loved, and I guess you could even say flax became my life!

Life changes doesn't it.  Twelve years, 50,000 pieces of flax, 3,000 emails, six cats, one husband and two children later....I'm  ready to hang up my flax hat.  A decision that has taken three years to make, but more so in the last year, a decision that has been sitting quietly in the back of my mind, already decided upon, but just not actioned.

It was just over a year ago that I had my second prem baby.  My eldest boy Enosh, he wasn't too early, but still a wee thing at just 4lb 11oz.  As
for Asher, he was born 8 weeks early at a teeny 3lb 10oz.  It has been the hardest, yet most rewarding, year of my life.  I won't go into detail (he's totally fine by the way, a big happy boomba now!), but the year has flown by and the kids are growing up before my eyes....or should I say, 'not' before my eyes.  I'm always busy busy busy. Seems like so much to do, and so many hats to wear.  I know there are others out there who can totally relate.  Taking care of your family + creating all of your products from scratch + marketing + accounts + administration + customer service + every other little detail that being in business involves = worn out, pulling her hair out mum!  It's the 'me having to design and make everything' that is the biggest thing.  No-one else can do it for me.  I'm the artist.  Yes, there are parts of jobs that I can get others to do, but people come to me to get the work that I do.

I'm not an energetic, carefree twenty year old anymore.  I know I'm only in my thirties and still have a lot of life to live, but right now, my priority is my family, and my health.  I want to take the kids to the park, be free to join my sister and nieces for lunch, go for adventures with my boys through the forest, play tackle, bake cakes and do messy art.  And believe it or not, we'd like more kids, totally aware of the fact that my dodgy kidneys are a precursor for preterm labour and teeny tiny babies.  That also means I have to reduce stress levels, take it easy and keep my silly blood pressure down.  Hard to do when you're wearing all the hats!

So it's haere ra to Hapene.
I'm ready to let it go.  I've been fortunate to have received worldwide exposure, awards, extensive press coverage, and regular orders throughout the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.  It has been an amazing experience from which I've learnt SO much, and I couldn't have done it without my family, especially my mum!  I'm ready for someone else to take it to the next level, make it a huge success, and fulfill all of these dreams I have written in this big book called a twelve year visual diary, AKA business plan.  The potential is huge.  Huger than huge.  Who is going to make it happen? Could be you!  Of course, I can't sell 'me', and I can't sell creative talent.

But what you'll get from me is: 
The Patent, 12 years worth of product development, Marketing and business plans, the reputable Hapene branding with the incredible exposure received over the years (see here), product photographs, www.hapene.co.nz and www.hapene.com, beautiful professional website with online store and content management system, all new branding design, stock and materials, trade secrets, full procedures, equipment, suppliers details, client database, Facebook page.....I'll stop here because this post is going to be way too long!  I will give all of this and more to the RIGHT person/persons/company, for the right price (not the highest).  I totally don't expect to be compensated for the blood, sweat and tears poured out over 12 years for this.  I'm completely realistic.  I just want the chance to be more of a mum, and less of a "I'll be with you after I've finished this wedding order".  And I want Hapene to live on, and fulfill its potential.

Which brings me to the HELLO part.  Hello garage (it will be my husbands dream come true to have garage space!).  Hello walks on sunny days.  Hello time to organise my linen cupboard, attack the sewing pile, finish painting the boys rooms, play with the kids!  Hello Maisy & Grace!  Uhhhhh....what???!  Yup, Maisy & Grace.  A lovely little online store I started a little while ago.  Merchants and makers of vintage inspired homewares, art, craft and design.  The philosophy: It's the simple pleasures which MAKE LIFE BEAUTIFUL.

This is something that's been quietly brewing away over the last few years, as my intrigue and passion for the ways of old have slowly infiltrated my life and my thinking.  Inspired by my Grandmothers mainly.  I guess also as you have more children and your life evolves into a more 'domestic' way of thinking, your ideals and outlook on life change too.  I tried to incorporate this passion and love for all things beautifully vintage and classic into Hapene Flax NZ Ltd, but it just didn't quite fit.  The quest for a 'simple beautiful life' was getting more and more complicated!

So enter Maisy & Grace.  You could say they are my idealistic multiple personalities.  Maisy, on the one hand, is like your Nana - she preserves, irons, sews, and loves a simple life with a 'waste not, want not' attitude.  Grace, on the other hand, is like your favourite Aunty - creative, a baker, the ultimate hostess who loves pretty things.  I wish I was them!  Well I can try, and the online store is a take on the good old fashioned General Store - a place where Maisy and Grace inspired homeware is showcased, recipes and housekeeping tips are shared, and where you can get a little (or big) piece of this simple, beautiful lifestyle.

The beauty of this little venture for me, is that I get to share everything I love, and I don't have to make every product from scratch!  This is my new extra curricular activity - every woman needs one!  Especially when you have an overactive mind like I do.  I will still dabble in a bit of creativity - upcycled products, letterpress, sewing, painting (once an artist, always an artist), perhaps a bit of weaving every now and then.  And perhaps I might even put my degree to good use and get back into a bit of interior design work - but maybe when the kids are all at school!  In the meantime, I'm going to aim for a simple, beautiful life - selling these lovely wares, hiring out vintage china, styling the odd event here and there, and most of all, being mum.

If you've read all the way to here - CONGRATULATIONS!  This is a mammoth post!  I hope you'll join me over at my new venture.  Thank you for all of your support and encouragement over the years.  And if you think you have what it takes to make Hapene a huge success....email me - christall.lowe@xtra.co.nz

Take care all,
Hei konei ra,

Christall x


  1. Hi Christall! Great post enjoyed it. Excited for you in this next stage of your life! More time to be a mummy yay!

  2. Awesome Christall, good on ya! Love & Blessings to you, your family & your new venture :)

  3. What a lovely post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. So many times you hear of 'super mums' like you who are doing everything - and which the rest of us aspire to be like....but it was so refreshing to read that this 'super mum' is becoming less 'super' in business and more 'super' for herself and her family. I admire you more for this decision than all your 'super mum' creativity. xxx

  4. Wow isn't life dynamic, ever changing, evolving etc etc etc. Hapene Flax is just one of your journeys and now you take another path. Good luck to you and your thriving family. May Maisy & Grace bring you a little more time and a little less hats to wear. xo

  5. hi Christall,
    your an inspiration to me!:-) i very much undertand where you are coming from and see alot of me in you, i too have a young family, husband and alomost 4children(lil ones still in the oven)
    i decided to take a step back from flax weaving this year to spend more time with my 18month old, but still do cake orders on the side. its very challenging juggling being a full time mum and also trying to pursue a carier in using your gifts and talents.as you mentioned wearing all the hats. i think you've made a brave choice. i have always admired your work and skills and i wish
    you all the very best for you and your families future.
    it would be so tempting to invest in your first baby but i too need to make more time for family, the moments we will not get back if we miss it.
    many blessings
    Felicity Williams

  6. A really well written post Christall!! And as I read this - it so reminds me of myself. Congratulations on closing one chapter and opening another!! There can only be bright happy days ahead of you hun!! Enjoy time with your your family and do all those simple things in life that bring you joy. xx

  7. Hapene flax was my case study project doing a certificate of business. Maisy & grace is beautiful. All the best for the future x

  8. I will so miss you Christall..But family comes first and as you have two wee boys..they need you more..God Bless in whatever you do in the future. Bernadette Hitchcock(Gold Coast Queensland AUSTRALIA)

  9. I somehow stumbled across your Maisy & Grace Facebook page and then made it here. I loved your post, and I wish you the very best with your new adventure and raising your family. Well done. xxx

  10. Best of luck to you with it all. I can imagine how hard it is to let go but sounds like you're absolutely doing it for the right reasons. Funnily enough Ruby & Willow began as a similar venture to Maisy & Grace, whilst I was running the stationery business under Kate Holland Design. Then I decided I liked the R&W name more so combined before focusing solely on the design and ditching the giftware. I've found it so much better having all my eggs in one basket so to speak!! But now as you mention I wear so many hats, and feel like a broken record going on about how busy I am. Sometimes I really think I just need to stop and smell the roses!!

  11. Wow - what a brave and wonderful decision Christall. Knowing you via Hapene, I was thrilled to find your new alter-ego, Maisy and Grace and look forward to following your creative journey, albeit at a more relaxed pace :)

  12. I love that little thing looks prett! I can´t wait to do that


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