Grace Riggir, Deadly Ponies

It is a taxing job having to consistently out-do your work from season to season, but for operations and product innovation manager, Grace Riggir, every day is a new adventure. Riggir started at Deadly Ponies just under three years ago, back when the company had only a team of three.

“Over the last two years, we have grown considerably, and now have over 25 team members. With this has come considerable change, both within my role and the company in general. We are a well-oiled machine now,” said Riggir.

Born the middle child of three sisters, Riggir grew up in Whangarei with a mother who would create all the faamily clothes.

“I started young choosing patterns, fabric, trims and designing looks my mother would make into reality for me. This of course had me hooked on the fashion industry.”

She then went on to complete a design degree, majoring in textiles, working for various New Zealand designers in retail stores before landing the job at Deadly Ponies.

Riggir is responsible for the team, ensuring production and the workroom runs as smooth and efficient as possible while continuing to develop and improve designs, quality and craftsmanship.

“The most vital element to any role, particularly management, is communication. Organisation, time management, initiative, analytical thinking, problem solving and creativity are all vital too.”

It would be a lot to say Riggir is married to her work, but she does describe herself as an obsessive type who can only find time to continue creating.

“My style as described by my boyfriend is an un-made bed looks, so nothing is too taxing although I do like to think chic. I get great fulfilment from making.”

Riggir draws inspiration from her surroundings, but also looks to customer feedback and her team brainstorming meetings for new ideas.

“It is just as exciting creating bespoke hardware and new leather as it is developing new lines.”

Like with most New Zealand brands, getting a balance between supporting New Zealand suppliers and managing international commitments has proven difficult, but slowly Riggir has collected skilled craftspeople for the workroom, with the focus now being on finding materials and skills that can not be sourced in New Zealand.

“Any day can be a mixture of touching base with team members, the product development team, retail division and operations team or ensuring our team vision is driven, focussed and on track. I also spend a lot of time working with suppliers, developing new materials and ensuring logistically what we need for our collections are all in order too.”

The continued growth for Deadly Ponies is all part of the 10-year plan Riggir and the team have put forward, who consider themselves family and are dedicated to helping the brand reach new heights.