Welcome to the second local’s local scoop. This space is intended to educate, inspire, and share more about the lovely locals who inhabit our land. I want to shine a light on what they are doing in business and everyday life.
Meet Trudy. Owner of Nemo Workroom, incredible ex film, commercial and costume crew, mother, and my beautiful friend.
Five years ago I met Trudy by chance. We booked to stay in her house through Air BnB to have somewhere to stay when we first arrived in Queenstown. What we didn’t know is that we would stay there for two years, I would work at Nemo and we would forge a beautiful, long-lasting friendship.
Nemo workroom is an incredibly inspiring space and before I worked there I had no idea about the wonderful things one could create, fix, and alter on garments. I also got an insight into the wedding industry though Nemo Bridal and Omen suit hire and I loved it. Nemo is a collective of creative folk who are experts in what they do. Seeing and bespoke tailoring is their main game and they have a passion for making their clients look and feel fabulous, all without leaving a negative impact on the planet – can you see why I love them so much?
Nemo’s services have grown beyond the Workroom to also include a full-range bridal service & showroom (Nemo Bridal & Couture) plus a modern high-quality suit hire outlet (Omen Suit Hire) both of which are founded on principles of a circular economy, encouraging customers to choose high-quality bespoke tailoring, remodeling vintage, or to hire items where possible. Nemo is a treasure trove for all things bridal. From beautifully handmade dresses and suits available to hire, vintage furs, accessories and a made to measure service that is an incredibly inspiring process to be apart of.
Trudy and her team are passionate about the environment. With sickening stats that have uncovered the ‘fast-fashion’ industry as one of the world’s largest polluters, they are dedicating to advocate for a new age of change in the fashion industry. With a focus within the community opting to repair and fix their clothes rather than throw away and send to landfill the Nemo team have created a space for people to do just that.
I sat down with Trudy to ask her about her business and life in general…
For those who don’t know, tell us about you?
Arriving into Queenstown in the early 80’s off the Mt Cook bus was a little reminiscent of the current COVID climate in our town. But I was able to secure a job and accommodation that afternoon up Skyline and lived with 20 other people in the old manse house in Sydney Street. Fun times. In the last 37 years, I have come and gone from Queenstown 3 times, returning the last time from the UK with my then 5-year-old son. This was 22 years ago, coming home to do a high-end fashion store, but after a failed business partnership – Nemo was born. This really was from a needs must basis but with a big, hairy audacious vision! 20 years later the initial plan has traversed and moulded into Nemo today.
Me: I come from a long line of clever women who created incredible garments. I am a worker, a gardener, a lover of nature, a design buff, and a water baby. Paddling on Wakatipu is soul food as is the simple act of sharing good food with good people. I love to rise to challenges and embrace opportunity.
&& for those who dont know what Nemo is, tell us about your business?
Nemo is a sewing and design space. Our byline is (v) an ethical design space… because we have always believed in and promoted the ethos of keeping things circulating, promoting buying less & better quality. We advocate the old adage of good design, good materials last the test of time and style never dates!
The workroom has commercial machinery and highly skilled professional technicians who will repair, alter, custom make, repurpose, and modify anything textile for anyone. The variety of work in our door is endless.
In recent years as the wedding industry has grown in the area, Nemo branched off into Nemo Bridal & Couture, a specialist bridal support business. . We make numerous bespoke dresses for Brides and also have an extensive range of dresses, accessories, and suits for hire. Perfect for bridal parties who consider the circular economy. We keep these collections fresh and current. We steam and press garments pre-wedding and hire wonderful accessories for visiting bridal parties. Our wedding gown alteration service is unsurpassed – we have brides coming to us from far and wide for this service.
What inspires you in business?
Design, Fabrics, Colour, Texture, Nature, Making good of something cast off. My team inspires me to keep forging forward, our clients inspire me to do the best job for them and to make them look the best they can. My favourite thing to do is pull together a bunch of fellow business creatives and shoot beautiful images whilst creating amazing content for our channels.
What have you made the move to a conscious business model?
I like to think we are one of the original conscious business models!
From the outset, we have always used paper bags that align with our original ethos of the old three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and the conscious move to keep textiles and plastics out of landfill.
In recent years the move to hiring bridal attire has enabled us to have conversations around the emotional attachment to bridal attire and the opportunity to simplify the act of uniting love. In our bridal collections, we make beautiful gowns for people to purchase. These all have a message whether it be a vintage repurpose, a replication of a loved vintage piece we have found or a repurpose of heritage fabrics. Our messaging has a strong thread of vintage, heritage, using end of designer fabric runs, utilising ethically produced fabrics – keeping our ethical ethos true.
What impact do you wish to have on the industry?
From my personal perspective, I would love to see people appreciate the craft and the messaging of what we do.
I really hope our new world cuts through the need to be following a herd and labels. My wish is for people to consider their personal values and to create stylish occasions truly representative of who they are. I hope to enable these conversations and events.
Where did Nemo come from?
Nemo came well before the fish! The name Nemo is an old latin verb describing nomadic movement. Hence the (v) in our by-line. This was relevant when we were a nomadic fashion store. But as every little business has to be nimble, especially today, the name has remained relevant as we have woven our way through the landscape of change. Nemo flipped a few years ago and became Omen Suit Hire.
What inspires you in everyday life?
The Seasons, I do love the four distinct seasons we live within Central Otago.
What is your top tip for a more sustainable life?
Shop fresh, be mindful of purchasing packaging, consider every item thrown in the bin. Re-use, compost, and grow food. And remember to come to the life table with integrity and love.
What are you most looking forward to when New Zealand returns to it’s ‘new normal’?
I am really hoping that as a nation we will come together with a plan on who we are, and how we will unite to keep a sustainable and healthy future for our children and children’s children. We need a national value plan that assists us all in knowing that our land, our produce and our resources are correctly realised.
Do you have anything else you would like to tell us about work, life, Nemo?
Nemo, like every small local business, has a large mountain to climb in the next coming while. We will do our level best to ensure that we will support our local populace and business community.
Can you see now why I love the Nemo and the girls who work there so much? Nemo Workroom run a drop off service, 6 days a week for your alteration and repair needs. For wedding chats and info, email the team to arrange a booking.
Follow them on social media here & here, spread the love and pay them a visit in Frankton, Queenstown when you can.
Trudy Munro – Nemo Workroom owner.