Michelle Baynes, Amore

Michelle Baynes grew up on the sunny beaches of Perth, WA. Admittedly, she was always a bit of a beach girl and found moving back to rural New Zealand was a reality check. Five kids and 3000 cows later, Baynes bought retail store Money For Wine five years ago just outside of Gore in Mandeville. She had always loved everything about fashion and loved the customers. “I could see there was a real gap in the market down our way for certain fashion lines and homewares, so I took the plunge and bought this small business,” she explained. Baynes grew Money For Wine to be a popular Southland destination with over 4,000 followers on social media. “My theory is if you can make a destination work in the middle of a rural area, you can do it anywhere,” she added. She recently sold Money For Wine and launched her new concept store in Gore called Amore. “We chose Gore for our next destination being my home town and buying an old building that we wanted to restore to its former glory with two flats upstairs.”

Having direct contact with her customers is a must for business as well as hosting events in-store for her customers. Amore’s point of difference is its curation of high-end fashion and homewares. “It differs to many stores nearby and is a mix of modern and fresh for the small town that is Gore.” Baynes daughter came back from overseas in October and couldn’t believe how similar the homewares were to what she had seen in Greece. “I chose the name Amore because it means ‘for love of beautiful things’ in Italian which comes from my Italian heritage and I can’t hide it – I have a love for beautiful things!”

Amore’s online offering is now a work in progress. “I know how huge online is for retail now, even bigger than in-store so this is definitely on the cards for us.”

Supporting the 2019 MLT Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, Baynes said founder Heather Paterson was a passionate woman who brought fashion from all around to exhibit their creations in Gore. “We are proud to be supporting such a cool event that enables fashion designers to showcase their pieces.”