Andrea Caughey was born and raised in Gore, only leaving at age seventeen to study as a nurse in Otago. Twelve years on, after living in Wanaka and Cadrona, she would return with her husband to renovate houses, spending the next few years in the home decorating retail industry.
Upon her return, locals commented on her deep love of shoes, encouraging her to follow her passion for footwear and fashion. Coincidentally, as she mused on this, the Caugheys came into possession of an empty motorbike store in desperate need of some TLC. Overnight, the concept for Collective Designs was born.
In the seven months between conception and opening, Caughey worked hard to transform the greasy motorbike shop into a women’s fashion outlet. Local builders and tradies were employed to help with the project, furthering aiding Collective Design’s Gore-centric image. Gore business Brian Mahon Engineering was the one to design and make all of Collective Design’s shelving and racks, for instance. However, it was mainly a family effort in terms of the elbow grease, as Caughey revealed. “We did most of the decorating ourselves, along with the help of my parents and sister.”
Indeed, Collective Design is certainly a family enterprise. Caughey now works in the store part-time with her sister Nadine – both committed to sourcing and featuring great local designers.
Collective Design’s clothing label, for instance, is designed and sewn by Gore local Mandy Cleland. In the store, other local brands on sale include Damselfish Jewellery, The Merino Locker, and Sutherland Clothing. But the store isn’t just restricted to clothing and jewellery – and is also proud to showcase artwork by award-winning local artist Margaret Palmer McKenzie.
Caughey also cites local support as a massive boost for the business, which is currently looking at expanding online, and further utilising Facebook as a marketing tool. “The feedback has been awesome,” she explained. “GoRetail is led by some very inspiring people, local businesses supporting local businesses.”
In the future, Collective Design hopes to keep improving and provide a warm and friendly shopping experience for all who enter the store.