Tell us a little about The Paper Rain Project, how did you get started?
The Paper Rain Project is a social enterprise born from big dreams early on. We specialise in products with cause and story – namely, ethical clothing, skateboard artworks and longboards made from recycled or locally sourced sustainable timber. Initially born from a hobby of painting custom skateboard artworks, Paper Rain is now four years old.
The goal has always been a business which gives back through our process of making but over the last couple of years, the focus has expanded into giving on through our sales. Each of our new in-house board artworks and every t-shirt is paired with a social or conservation based ‘Cause’ for which we help raise awareness and funds through the sale of the product. We work with a number of talented artists to create high-quality products which each have stories of their own.
We also work with a NZ owned business that works to support women out of modern day slavery in India, screen-print in our garage and shape boards from recycled wine-barrels and locally grown hardwoods.
Where do you operate?
From our Picton Store (29 High Street), pop ups around the country (the next being at Ponsonby Central, Auckland Oct 30th – Nov 12th) and online at www.thepaperrainproject.co.nz Our workshop is at the back of the Cherrybank Orchard in Spring Creek.
Why did you choose to get into this industry?
There was never really a time we made this decision. We stumbled into it by following our love of making art and working with wood. The values of the business come from our upbringing (both amongst trees, Indigo off-grid on a remote Scottish Peninsula.) Essentially, we can’t imagine doing anything else and we are so passionate about social enterprise and hand-crafted products that it’s the only “industry” we can see ourselves in, for now.
Can you share any lessons learnt from business struggles or challenges that you’ve overcome?
Oh so many lessons…. Sometimes a gut feeling and a bucket load of optimism is not enough reason to make investments. We wish we had gotten mentors and financial advisors sooner. There are always people who have more experience than you and much of the time, they want to share that (which we really appreciate!) You can’t get anywhere without working with other people.
One of our biggest lessons is that you should always ask – we have been blown away by who has supported (or even just replied to) us! Some of our biggest opportunities have come through taking the risk of putting ourselves out there. Our Kickstarter campaign was the most visceral version of that (we were 531% funded for our recycled wine-barrel longboard campaign in 2016) and have had the honour of working with influencers such Michel Tuffery, Flox, Karma Cola (brand crush!), Louis Baker and more.Another thing? There is always room for betterment. It might be a slow process and you might have to turn full tail on things you once thought were right, but in the long term, changes for good will always be worth it.
We hope that with Sidekick on board taking care of your accounts, you have found more time to do the things you really enjoy. So what is it that you love to do with your spare time?
We are so in love with Sidekick! It’s so good knowing that despite the importance of knowing what’s going on in your accounts, some one has your back! We are all good at different things and having a team to support us through our numbers is a huge relief. Spare time? We love spending time outside in this beautiful region – kayaking, hiking, running but also playing guitar, drinking wine with friends and walking our dog, Raglan. When money allows… TRAVEL.
What is your proudest moment at The Paper Rain Project, and what are you most excited about for the future of The Paper Rain Project?
Oh, big question! One of the most exciting moments was when our wine-barrel longboard Kickstarter campaign was featured by the Kickstarter newsletter and jumped up $15,000 in a day. Little did we know just how much work that would entail! We loved seeing over 200 people show up for our Framingham Underground event with Framingham Wines too.The future? We’re pretty excited about it all at the moment! We have a pop up in Ponsonby, Auckland this November… In the long run though, we’d be excited to have some quantifiable positive impact on conservation projects through our Cause range (our t-shirts which are paired with charities to which we donate to).Do you have any deals or specials that you’d like to share?
Sure! Locals can have $10 off any t-shirt this month at our Picton Store. Just say, “Hey, I’m Local”. We are about to release 4 new adult t-shirt designs and one kids tee (to support Conservation Kids NZ) so there’s lots of new things in the pipeline!