Some of DP’s top-of-the-range bags retail for $NZ4,500 - not a sum many would be comfortable handing over without testing the item first.
“That means maintaining a certain level of service for people buying our product, and online can only do so much,” Bowden says. “Customers want a more personal experience.”
In the new Wellington store Bowden has collaborated with interior designer Katie Lockhart to create a suitably opulent interior.
The towering, geometric display plinths are inspired by Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, an aesthetic shared by established Deadly Ponies stores in Christchurch and Auckland. But the Ghuznee St store differs with its use of material, with sheets of colored, opaque resin designed to fit the space.
Retail has been a major focus for the brand over the last year, with Deadly Ponies expanding into David Jones retail stores across Australia. Along with the Wellington store, which opened in August, they’ve recently launched distribution in Japan and Paris.
Bowden admits it was only about three years ago he could finally admit to himself the business was a success.
“It was only then I realised it wasn’t all going to fall over overnight,” he says. “Before then I’d be nervous, hiring staff and knowing you’re responsible for these people’s livelihoods.”
Does he have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
“I had to learn everything from scratch, so I would say doing an internship and working somewhere, say in a small business, would save you months of mistakes and hard work,” Bowden says. “Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have got so far if I had worked for someone else, so you never know.”
And an advantage to growing the business himself is Bowden has now worked in every part of it, and knows how to troubleshoot.
“The biggest part of my role now is problem solving, so I have to know about all the different departments so I can make things work,” he says.
Even after almost a decade in fashion, Bowden still derives pleasure from the smallest things - like designing the tiny Tangle Doll keyring, which retails for $NZ95.
“To everyone else it just looks like a little man keyring, but there have been hours and hours of work put into it just to get it to that stage,” he says. “When you get it finished and sell to the customer, that’s a great feeling.”
Michelle Duff is a contributing editor at BlueNotes