Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Birds of a Feather...

As mentioned in my previous post, I've been on a streak of good things happening.  Last week I won a high tea at Annah Stretton Birds of a Feather store on Grey Street in Tauranga.
Annah Stretton

Annah Stretton is a brilliant New Zealand fashion designer and entrepreneur.  She has written two books and publishes two magazines (Her Business and Pink Magazine - for Breast Cancer).  She has won numerous entrepreneurial and business awards.  She's an advocate for a number of charities.  Basically, Annah Stretton is the Oprah of New Zealand but without all the hype.

When I first moved to Mount Maunganui, I would shop along the main street for Mrs. Peacocke (the old days of caring for Mrs. P - remember that?).  I would walk past the Annah S. store and admire the frocks in the window.  This was designer fashion which at the time I couldn't afford but which reminded me of my sister Ann.

My sister used to make all her own clothes and I think she'd like Annah's style.  Most of Annah's early fashions were kinda "patchwork", with asymmetrical cuts which made the pieces look tattered in a funky sorta way.  But the fabric was of highest quality.  It made me think that she must've started out with off-cuts and created unique items on a shoestring budget.  I thought she was brilliant.  It's something my sister would have done, had she not gone into Interior Design and Architecture.

Then I purchased my first Annah S. design.  Back in 2006 when I was going to marry Brian.  I wanted to get married in something from my favourite boutique.  I bought a beautiful yet practical Annah S. four way wrap skirt and a corset.  I figured I could wear the skirt forever and ever.  It was made out of four panels of gold fabrics - all very different but complementary to each other.  The skirt and corset had a modern 1980's Madonna "Like a Virgin" feel to it.  The corset was made up of panels of cream coloured fabric with dusty rose velvet on the bodice.

Sadly I never wore the outfit in the end - as the wedding was called off.  Take a trip down memory lane if you wish to read that here.  My beautiful (and very expensive) Annah S. designer skirt has been hanging in my closet ever since.  I've worn the corset a handful of times.  I do love it and it looks great with white jeans.

Anyway BACK to my original story.

A few weeks ago when I was online filling out applications for grants and funding for Kilimanjaro, I filled out an application to win a High Tea at the Annah Stretton Birds of a Feather shop.  I totally forgot I'd filled it out when I got the call from the store manager to say I'd won!  I had to gather up 3 friends for an afternoon of cake, fashion and wine.

The lovely Marilyn
I invited friends who have helped me on my campaign.  My first call was to Joanne - the documentary film maker.  Next I invited my friend Marilyn who introduced me to Joanne.  And my third guest was Charlie, my friend and the youth worker for the local CanTeen office.  Three women who do so much for others and who have been big supporters of me.  It was nice to be able to do something for them.
Charlie from CanTeen

Joanne suggested bringing the camera to do some recording for our short YouTube video.  I wanted to clear it with head office, so I got in touch with Tony at Stretton Designs who spoke to the boss (Annah herself) and gave me the all clear.

Joanne - film maker extraordinaire
We were greeted by one of Annah Stretton's personal stylists - Kerry.  She was so lovely.  We sat down and enjoyed our high tea with scrumptious little cakes and shared a bottle of my favourite New Zealand Savignon Blanc (Kim Crawford).  The shop is big and bright with the storefront looking out onto Grey Street through a wall of windows.  The shop is spacious, with retro look sofas and racks of designer Annah Stretton clothing.  They now offer make up consultations too.  Annah knows what women want and she is giving it to us - all under one roof.

The space is available for functions and gatherings.  I couldn't think of a better place to have a soiree.

As we were finishing off our cake, Kerry came over and presented me with a Gift Voucher to use toward my Expedition of Hope.  Annah has generously donated an exclusive "Girls Night Out" for 6 women valued at $2,250.  This is an exclusive preview party of the new Winter 2013 Collection.  One of Annah's senior stylists will come and teach you how to dress for your body shape, give tips and tricks to accentuate your assets and disguise your flaws and help to decode your key colour palette.  PLUS bubbles and nibbles and a goodie bag AND a follow up personal styling voucher with an Annah Stretton principal stylist valued at an additional $250 for every member of the party.

Such a generous donation!  Annah Stretton, you are a star.  Thank you so much!  This will be used to help raise money towards Kilimanjaro.  We are currently organizing a charity dinner and auction TBA soon.   Keep watching this blog for updates.

I love Annah Stretton dresses.  They are so feminine and practical and fun and flirty.  I tried on a jacket from this season's range that fit like a glove - so I HAD to have it. 

I also bought myself a dress that can be worn so many different ways - it would be impractical NOT to have it.  It matched my new jacket and it was so flattering on me.

I needed a new dress for all my upcoming interviews.  ;)

Besides, I deserved it.  It was my 28th life-aversary and my graduation from Small Business Management at Te Wananga o Aotearoa the day before.

I don't shop very often these days.  When I do, I treat myself to the nicer things.  I'm still a practical shopper and Annah Stretton designs allow me to stay true to myself.  They are beautiful, timeless pieces which will last forever.  I can justify spending the money.  And I love her style.

It was such a fun afternoon.  Thank you for treating us like royalty.  We had an amazing day.  Your gift towards my cause was very generous!  Thanks again and again Annah Stretton.  You truly spoiled us.  

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