Marle Woman: Mandy Myles

Marle Women is created to celebrate our philosophy of designing pieces for women of all ages and stages of their lives. We hope each interview inspires you, the same way in which these women do to us.

We first met Mandy when she was head buyer for Marle stockist, 47 Frocks. Since then, Mandy has launched an online bookstore, Bookety Book Books.

Here, we speak with Mandy about starting her first business, how she curates such a diverse and interesting list of titles, and life in her beautiful hometown Wanaka.

Please share a little bit about yourself - including your background, noting some of the defining aspects that have contributed to the woman you are today.

I grew up in Dunedin where I went on to study fashion, and have worked in that realm since graduating 8 years ago until going full time with Bookety recently. I have very supportive parents who never defined my worth or skills in my younger years by school acheivements. Having gone to a school that weighed heavily on tradtional academia and sports, as opposed to creativity, this support was key. It gave me the confidence to pursue a creative career path and eventually spouting out that I wanted to open an online book store during a global pandemic, they said “Go for it”.

Bookety Book Books is an independent bookstore that was founded to create a sanctuary for the book obsessed. Can you tell us about the drive to start your own bookstore? 

As a very passionate reader who was struggling to find the books I wished to read easily and locally, I saw the opportunity to create a curated online book shop showcasing a diverse range of authors that was easily accessible to all in NZ. I really wanted to create a community that didn’t exclude because of your postcode, and online was the perfect space to do that. Also making sure that the shopping experience for customers was still enjoyable was really important for me, which is where the beautiful sustainable packaging, and an easy to use website came into the mix.

  "For me fashion is about having fun and throwing the conventional stylist ‘rules’ out the window, fashion is supposed to be about creative expression and showcasing your identity at the end of the day so rules need not apply in my opinion"
We applaud your careful curation of inspired and diverse reads. How do you choose new titles? And what kinds of books make the cut?

I choose all the upcoming new releases based pretty simply on a buying method I like to call ‘ What I would like to read if I had infinite time’. I try to keep the book range diverse by always having plenty of books you wouldn’t find at your local bookstore, and having a wide span of author representation to choose from. Reaching out regularly to my customers to check in with what they want to see on my website has been a really important way to build the range alongside my wonderful customers. I am only one person so all the suggestions and feedback about the selection of books is what helps to keep the range open for others.

You hold the same values as Marle, ensuring all packaging is sustainable. Why was this important to you when creating Bookety Book Books and how do you carry this ethos through your daily life?

I think all businesses have a responisbilty to factor in sustainability and their enviornmental impact into their practices in this current climate, it simply seemed irresponsible not to. Consumers are weighing more and more on what sustainable choices a business is making when choosing who to shop with now, and are the best people to hold businesses accountable for their actions. It is certainly something I consider in everyday life, especially when making choices in regards to what fashion brands I support. We also have recenly brought a worm farm for home to process our fresh produce and some of my business waste like defect tissue paper, we then feed the offcuts back into the garden as we grow our own vegetables and it makes a great fertiliser.  

Wanaka is one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. Have you always lived there and what do you love most about home? 

Even though I grew up in Dunedin we had a holiday house here, so spent a lot of our holidays and weekends in Wanaka. My parents and one of my brothers moved here permanently 8 years ago, and after stints in Wellington and and Sydney I also moved here 4 and a half years ago.

I am a really close with my family so being just a few minutes away from each others houses is one of my favourite parts of living here. Also the ease of being able to enjoy the outdoors here, the great food and wine, and the lack of time spent commuting are all a part of why I love Wanaka.

How would you describe your personal style? And how has it changed over the years?

I would describe my personal style as fun, colourful and comfortable. Over the years I have definitely gotten braver with my fashion choices as I have become more comfortable with myself. For me fashion is about having fun and throwing the conventional stylist ‘rules’ out the window, fashion is supposed to be about creative expression and showcasing your identity at the end of the day so rules need not apply in my opinion.

As a sole business owner, you step into multiple roles every day - from buyer to dispatch. How do you manage what must be a very busy schedule and what are the go-to Marle pieces you reach for when you have a very full day ahead?

The most important thing is to make a list each day and just work your way through as much as you can. It is also important to know when to take a break, or to pack it in for the day, being self employed means it’s very easy to forgo these boundaries if you don’t actively set them for yourself. The key to negotiating the piles of books, and wrapping orders from my home office while being comfortable, and feeling good about myself is relaxed easy pieces like the Jo Jumper, an absolute favourite of mine and I am so glad Winter is knocking on my doorstep so I pull these back out of the drawer. And a pair of Martine pants, anything that looks as beautiful as those pants, and is as comfortable as a track pant is high in my books.  

Daily self-care rituals come in many forms, from meditation to hydration. Do you have any rituals that have become an important part of your daily routine?

Taking some time to read. It might seem like I can do this in my working time, but so much goes into the immediate running of the business, that reading still falls into my spare time. It really is just the best way to escape for however long I can find a quiet minute.

 

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

 

What is your most treasured accessory and why?

A pearl necklace that my Grandparents gave my Mum for her 21st birthday, and my parents then gave to me on mine.

Do you prefer texture or colour?

Colour, although they are both my favourite elements of dressing.

Spring/ Summer or Autumn/Winter?

Autumn/Winter for sure. I am knitwear obsessed!

What are you reading right now?

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld

A hidden gem we should visit in Wanaka?

The Maude Tasting Room

 

Mandy wears the Lyla Dress and Sawyer Cardigan. Photographed by Jason Kelly

 

 

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