Nami Hampe and Pascale Baker fell into their blog, Serendipity Ave, through a love of fashion, styling, and creating. Hampe grew up in Germany and Japan, but moved to New Zealand on her own nine years ago. Hampe studied a bachelor in business and marketing. Baker on the other hand was born in Australia and moved to New Zealand when she was younger. Baker studied a diploma in fashion design and business, and her second diploma in social media marketing.
Growing up between Asia and Europe, Hampe explained that this made her very aware of different trends from a young age. “I remember wearing the latest fashion that I picked up from Tokyo to school in Germany and people just looked at me as if I was mad! I always loved that fashion has no rules and it really is a way of expressing yourself without having to speak,” Hampe added. She was a tomboy at heart when she was younger and went to a sport school where she was one of the only girls. In the beginning, she never really had an interest in fashion, but always knew if it felt good it will look good and to this day Hampe still believes this.
Baker’s mother made almost all of her clothing and has always encouraged Baker to be involved in fashion. “Whether it’s making my own clothes or experimenting with fashion trends and shapes,” said Baker. She said it all started with going through all of the Barbie outfits at Big W and not finding the right outfit. Baker learned how to make them on the sewing machine at home with material scraps in bold colours.
The duo is inspired by what is happening overseas in the industry as well as street style, but ultimately their mothers are their biggest inspiration.
Serendipity Ave was born over a wine and an Instagram account. The online retailer started as a blog and grew when readers asked where they could buy the garments the two wore in the posts. “At that time, we felt there was always a thousand options online for say a LBD but we found that girls just wanted that one option you showed them. Where they could see what it looked like on normal sized New Zealand girls just like they are. That's when we thought let's do it and we registered our domain name and next minute we were ordering stock! We have never looked back,” explained Hampe.
The brand started with stocking up and coming brands and has always held very limited quantities. They never intended on doing it that way, but as a small business it made sense. “Looking back, it was the best decision we’ve made,” said Baker. “We wanted to be different to other NZ boutiques by not stocking brands that are already heavily saturated in the NZ market. For example, our first brand we got on board was Interval in which some pieces we have are exclusive to us in New Zealand.”
The online store is five months old and Baker and Hampe manage everything from marketing to ordering to wrapping and shipping. “Having limited quantities allows us to give our customers a personal experience and leaving them feeling like they are investing into their wardrobe and not just shopping trends,” Hampe added.
With the roots of their brand buried in social media, they rely heavily on it for sales. “We find nowadays that is how our customers are primarily communicating and keeping up to date with what is new. We also love to host regular pop-up shops for those who just want to feel and try on the pieces.”
Hampe and Baker want to make Serendipity Ave a supportive movement where women support each other and they have started this with their Girlboss section on their website where they interview fellow women in business. “We want to create a wave of positive endorsement and truly believe that there is enough room for everyone to make it in business.”
Moving forward, the duo is looking to make a few pieces under their own brand name but it is still early days.