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The Blue Bell Club

March 15, 2019 March 2019 No Comments

What do you get when you combine a bach at Riversdale and a couple of craft-loving friends?  If you go the corner of Cambridge Terrace and the Square on Fair Days you’ll find out.   That where friends Ramona McDowell And Pip Hermansson sell their eye-catching Pacific themed homewares.

  Their business started small, selling crafts from the front lawn of the bach during the summer holidays.   They had no plans to do more than that.  They just enjoyed making things.  

The idea to do Pacific designs came from Pip.  She’d been on a holiday to Fiji and found herself wanting to “bring her holiday home again”.  She made some cushions to brighten up her own house, visitors admired them and soon the two friends found they were running a small business.  Pip took some samples down to Wellington and was amazing at the enthusiastic response from retailers there.  

They both share in the design process. Ramona, who got her love of sewing from an inspiring home economics teacher at school, does a lot of the assembly of their applique based items.   This is a painstaking process with the colourful flowers individually cut out, stitched onto the base fabric and then embroidered.  

One of their circular designs can take up to three weeks to complete.   No two are the same and they are always trying new designs to keep it interesting for themselves and their customers.

They source fabric from Fiji to support the local women and collaborate with The Colour Closet, a Pacifica design company in Porirua.   

  Their success has rather caught them by surprise.  Today under their Blue Bell Club label they sell through Te Papa and Pataka, at other fairs and at Harbour’s Edge Pop Up,  Parumoana Street, Porirua.  One of their cushions even features in the latest NZ House and Garden (p80).

They’ve expanded their range to include lampshades, blankets, wreaths and striking feather-framed mirrors (the work of Pip’s daughter).  They still love what they do and it shows in the individuality and flair of each of their unique creations.


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