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Mandy Cleland & Shania Prentice (Collaborate Fashion NZ) - Retail

Mum Mandy and daughter Shania in their new store for Collaborate Fashion, at Mandeville.

Mother daughter business duos

A supportive community, a flair for fashion and a great cup of coffee – what do these three things have in common?

They are the reasons mother daughter duos Mandy Cleland and Shania Prentice, and Steph and the late Lynley Hogg are in business in the Gore District, collaborating to create a destination experience for the wider community and travellers coming through the area.

Based in Mandeville, just a 10-minute drive from the centre of Gore, Mandy, Shania and Steph work together in their respective businesses that complement each other superbly.

Mandy and Shania own clothing store Collaborate Fashion NZ, while Steph provides refreshments to suit the day with offerings from Miss Cocoa Coffee.

Collaborate Fashion NZ

Daughter Shania says the idea for their store came about following a long-held passion by her mother Mandy for sewing and creating great clothing from high quality fabrics.

Growing up in a creative household, Mandy was taught to sew, knit and create to her heart’s desire. That interest only grew as she got older, including starting a childrenswear label following many years as a machinist in factories in Christchurch and Nelson.

The love for sewing and creating great pieces was passed to Shania, who herself started to design clothing in high school for the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards.

Following the COVID pandemic, with all plans of travel and adventures on hold, Shania was looking for the right opportunity to start her own business or find a great role to work in when the mother daughter duo realised they could take all their talents and skills, and create their own fashion line.

Collaborate Fashion NZ was born, and initially operated as a home business with clothing made by the pair sold at local markets. Speaking with local Lynley and Steph at their café in Mandeville, the four women realised they could bring their talents together to create a destination for locals and travellers alike.

Miss Cocoa Coffee

With the aroma of Allpress Coffee beans being ground, and a reputation for a delicious egg benedict served on hash cakes, Miss Cocoa Coffee brings together all that anyone loves in a good café.

A welcoming environment, baking like mum used to make, an excellent menu and great coffee – and a friendly face behind the counter. Miss Cocoa Coffee café was started by the late Lynley and her daughter Steph in 2019 following years of experience in hospitality by both women.

“I once mentioned to mum that I would like to have my own café one day, and the idea just grew,” says Steph.

Most days, Mandy and Shania would stop off to pick up a coffee on their way to the shop they had opened in Riversdale and their chats would turn to the two businesses.

“Steph and I have always been quite similar in the things we have done and both being in business, it was always good to chat about how things were going,” Shania says.

The conversation started to turn to how extra space within the café building could be used and before long, suggestions turned into solid ideas of how the two businesses could work side by side.

A duo of businesses

In March 2022, the two businesses came together under one roof – working side by side to sell their quality wares.

“This way, the customers can pop in for a coffee and go and have a look through their store,” Steph says.

“Or as they go through the store, they can come to the café and enjoy lunch.

“The concept works both ways. It provides a real destination for people to visit in the weekend’s too – come for brunch and look at great clothes, all at the one place.”

Customers can also see the goods being made onsite – for both businesses. The wafting fragrance of fresh baking welcomes diners at the café, while those looking for top quality designer clothes can see Mandy working away, sewing garments with gorgeous fabrics out the back of the fashion store.

“For us, it is about quality and being made right here in New Zealand, in Southland, by us. Then we know it’s good,” says Mandy.

Strength of community

Having strong community support has helped make both businesses a reality, say the foursome.

“We have had really amazing support locally from around the district. People know they are always welcome to come here and relax, enjoy a coffee or food, and have a pleasant shopping experience,” Steph says.

Shania adds “We have great high end quality items here, without the hustle and bustle of heading to a larger town. It makes for a nice day out to visit us, a nice destination.”

“So many customers have become friends, and so many friends are customers – that is something special about being in a more rural community,” Mandy says.

And the community celebrates their wins with them too, they say.

“Being congratulated for our great space and being encouraged, having the support of our community, has been everything. It is just amazing and that is why we love the Gore District,” Shania says.

With love, our community remembers Lynley who sadly passed away in March 2023 after courageously battling cancer.

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