This Is ENA

ENA, the recently opened concept store in Wellington, is interesting because it’s a fashion-driven retail space that thinks like a brand. With accessibility and exposure at everyone’s finger tips, including the brands and key-holders themselves, this way of thinking stems from a certain kind of necessity. I spoke to ENA founder Nadya France-White about visual communication, the importance of mutual support, and what it means to be (and stay) creatively significant.

— Being a multi-brand store, it almost seems that these days, once you’ve done your curation of brands, you then need to create your own voice through branding and communication. What elements or qualities would you say ENA‘s aesthetic voice is made up of?

I think with things like the world wide web being a HUGE component to not only how we shop but where we CAN shop now, it has become crucial that any brick and mortar store holds its own way of communicating to its customer. With ENA, the feeling and vibe of the store plays a huge part to how the overall shopping experience needs to be and is very much so apart of its voice as a whole. I idea was always to create a place that can evolve into a creative hub attracting many ‘sorts’ of women, but also somewhere that is fun and personable. My branding aesthetic really tries to dictate that balance of light heartedness with boutique creative significance. Whether its through posting a pic of Beyonce post lemonade or introducing people to a new and otherwise unknown brand, its about setting a mood that you can connect too.

— Speaking of curation, I really love the brands you have chosen to sit alongside each other. How did you go about choosing these brands? Is it very much a personal instinct towards certain brands and makers, or do you have a strategy?

At this point it is all based on instinct, gut feeling and love. The brands I have chosen to debut ENA all have some form of magic that I have reacted too. Whether its in the form of concept, ethics, fabric or just being incredibly RAD, each brand has evoked either a sense of excitement or ore. It’s this sense of reaction that I think ENA tries to pass onto everyone who walks through the store doors. Its about offering insight into a collective of amazingly talented makers that most would not know about, and getting people intrigued and excited by something new. Another HUGE part of the store is based around harvesting local and New Zealand based talents. I want ENA to be used as a platform for these local designers to exhibit their work next to other emerging international acts. Its about giving these creators a stage that is both worthy of their work and complimentary to ENA’s voice.

— Aside from a few mutual friends, I’ve just realised I don’t know very much about you! What is your background and how did you come to open your own store? 

Hmm me. So I have pretty much been a shop gal in every store in Wellington. All three of them (lol). After working for the Wellington heavy hitters Cam from Area 51 and Rubs from Good as Gold, I had made the switch to the frantic world of Hospo thanks to my other half’s new restaurant Five Boroughs. A year into it, after being covered in milkshake everyday with the sweet smell of fried chicken in my hair I guess the glam life of shop gal was looking good again. So having just completed my design degree I decided to take the leap and opened up shop. I have always had a strong idea of what Wellington and New Zealand was missing in terms of a shopping experience, so with a trip to New York and a few trade shows under my belt I came home ready to become ENA.

— Can you tell us about your vision behind the fit-out of the store, some of the materials you used, and the overall feel you wanted to create. 

My vision for the store was defiantly a process. It really was about working with the space I had, as well as utilising my mates and families talents as best as possible. So it really became all about craft corner for the most of it. I knew the store needed to feel fresh and over all welcoming. So keeping everything looking clean and sharp was important. The lines of the store walls were build to both open up the space and add intrigue. It also mirrors the design of the glossy black fixtures which i knew had to be some what unseen before. As for the materials used raw concrete elements were a given knowing it was a reasonably easy material to sculpt, with the addition of mirror to open up the space. Marble boxes are used as plinths for display with off cuts being used in the jewels cabinet.
Over all there is so much more I would like to do with the space, but for now its a good start.

— Tell us about the Wellington creative scene, what sort of women are resonating with ENA?

The Wellington creative scene has always been amazing. With two of the best design schools being located here, Wellington has always has strong ties to a multitude of creators and makers. This is one of the main reasons why ENA was formed here, the creative community really do vibe off of one another and offer so much support. It has been quite overwhelming just seeing how many people actually care and appreciate someone willing to step out and try something. In terms of a ENA women, well its everyone. The aim of the store was to never pin point a certain type of women or even style. Its based on feel and vibe. The great thing about the store is that it can cater to a vast variety of ladies whether your a first year uni student spending their course related costs on a pair of Holly Ryan hoops, or a women excited to see the colour palette of Penny Sage, I aim to have something that resinates with everyone.

— Outside of the fashion scene, what artists, people, or places are catching your attention or interesting you?

At the moment I am ceramic MAD! one of my favourite local potters is Felicity from Wundaire. I love her colour palette and use of form. Its also so great seeing a local maker go from hobbie to mini empire. I am also HUGE fan of Sabine Marcelis’s work. Her use of form and light is perfection. She has a great way of capturing a magical moment through both her product and spacial designs. I think as a maker and now curator myself these are the quailties that resinate with me he best and what I try to show case through the store. Its about making magic moments for people.

— And lastly, what can we expect to see from ENA for the rest of the year? 

Well! I am crazy excited about next season. Auckland based brands Shjark and Jarrad Goodman will be added to the existing brand list. Local graduate and ENA shop gal Alannah Bruce is also set to launch her debut line through the store which is going to be insane! You’ll spot a colab or two with local bag brand Wayward St and Candanian based label Markoo, its all about nude pink leather in both cases. Also you may see a sneak peak at whats to come from ENA’s in house label….. oh yes and more parties! more launch’s, more wine, more fashion, more fun!
















Photography / Prue Ibbotson
Styling / Nadya France-White
Make Up & Hair / Kendyl Fouhy
Models / Ana & Esther