Kaeo woman Dominique Heileson has breathed new life into the old building with ‘EekieBooteekie’, a shop filled with leather goods from hand bags to tassle products made from offcuts, in a bid to create a business that produces less than one per cent waste. The 160 year old building was widely believed to have been used as a blacksmith’s shed but now has been transformed with colourful one-off leather pieces adorning the walls.

Heileson was the winner of a regional scholarship from AMP earlier this year and at a special lunch for the award at The Pear Tree, she was reminded of the empty shed next door.  After a head injury, Heileson sold her car and purchased an industrial sewing machine.  “It was part of my rehabilitation – I taught myself. “It’s cool to be able to still work and sell and nice to open the space with the character of the old photos and things.”

Heilesen opened three weeks ago and has already had a number of people share their memories of the shed. Heilesen has also started training people with hopes to create jobs in Northland and is aiming to enter a handbag competition in New York next year.

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From stuff.co.nz