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Heralding from Havelock North, we talk to best friends, fashion buyers and co-founders of Nic and Cole about fashion, friendship in business, and what is in store for 2020

Saben Havelock North stockists Nic and Cole


 You have been friends for years, tell us how you made the move to business partners.

We were both looking for a new challenge, a change of career, wanting to try something different in an industry that we were truly passionate about. It just seemed like an obvious solution to combine forces and open our very own boutique as fashion is something we both enjoy so much.

 Work perks of being in biz with your bestie?

Working together never seems like ‘work’.  It’s always a lot of fun!  The laughs are never ending.  We are also able to be super flexible with our schedules – balancing work, home, children and life in general.


We get easily distracted by each other when we should be completing work tasks.  It also means going away on holiday together is tricky – as one of us has to be in store, running the show at all times.

What was the foundation dream behind nic&cole, AND how has that since evolved?

The dream was to bring leading women’s New Zealand designer brands to Havelock North and truly showcase the collection of each designer on a bigger scale.  We were personally finding it hard to shop in our own neighbourhood and were purchasing 90% of our wardrobe online .   Unfortunately the things we wanted just weren’t available in our area. Missing the in-store retail experience, we knew others would be too.  So we took the opportunity to fill that void.

Not just a new year, but a new decade – goals/manifestations/dreaming big – what is brewing behind the scenes for nic&cole?

That would be telling.  You’ll have to watch this space. Right now we are on track for a very successful first year in business, which is fantastic! We will certainly be celebrating with a Champagne or three.

Common misconception fashion buying – that it’s JUST ‘shopping for other people’ – there is more to it than that – what is your method?

We buy what we love! We believe if we don’t love it, neither will the customer.  It’s a simple philosophy but so far it seems to be a winning formula. 

How do you separate what you like for yourself and what you should invest in for the store?

This is always the hardest part of our job.  Drawing a line and not buying EVERYTHING!  Our customers always say “It must be difficult working here and not wanting to take it all home.” We 100% agree with them.

Saben Staple (The can’t-live-with-out piece, you’d recommend for a first-time buyer)

Nicole Speers

Cabin Bag.  I take this with me every time I’m jumping on an airplane.  It is the perfect travel companion.  Everyone needs one.

Nicole Ward

Olive. The bag I take with me every day to work. It’s perfect for carrying everything I need.  


Saben Splurge (The one you dream of at night, ideal to add to existing saben accessories portfolio)

Nicole Speers

Roma.  I have invested in the full collection of luggage now. Cabin, medium and large.  The Roma would be perfect for my next overseas trip as it sits perfectly atop the luggage range and is super versatile.

Nicole Ward

Luggage. I really want to add more suitcases to my collection. Hands down the best luggage I have ever had!

Is there an underlying philosophy to your own style? (personal)

Nicole Speers

Less has always been more for me.  I’m all about ease of wear and I gravitate towards dresses as it’s just one thing to put on in the morning when time is of the essence.  My handbag must always match my footwear and sunglasses and my jewellery must always match the hardware of these items.  This is non negotiable for me.

Nicole Ward

I like to mix timeless/classic with on trend pieces. I believe you should wear what you feel fabulous in. I think there is nothing more attractive than a confidently dressed human.

The next Saben on your (personal) wish-list

Nicole Speers

Gabi. To compliment my luggage collection, this cosmetic case needs to come travelling with me.

Nicole Ward

Jaxon. perfect for carrying my cell, cards, cash, lippy and keys. I will wear this with the crossbody strap in the weekends then put in my Olive during the week and use as a wallet. Too easy.

LOCAL HANGS in Havelock: (Where to)

o   Eat – Piku for Japanese and Allesandro’s for pizza

o   Drink – Malo in the courtyard for cocktails (always with a side of fries and double aioli)

o   Coffee – Pixie – great for bagels and smoothie bowls too

o   Treats – Jungle Café – fresh juices and sweet treats without the guilt

o   Long lunch with the girls – Black Barn Bistro under the grapevines


Saben bags at stockists Nic and Cole Boutique

Nicole from Nic and Cole with Saben bag

Saben on show at Nic and Cole Boutique in Havelock North

Saben stockist Nic and Cole with new Saben travel range

New Saben travel range on display at the Havelock North boutique Nic and Cole

Nicole from Nic and Cole with Saben favourite the Jaxon

Stay connected, follow @nic.and.cole on instagram.

Photography by the talented Danielle Kendrick.