Kāpiti Goodies - We Love Local

The only thing better than getting a present is getting a whole basketful of them.
And when everything is local – from the contents of the basket to the packaging, even the basket itself – then that’s a win in anyone’s books.

Kāpiti Goodies unboxing

- Sharon Stephenson

It’s what drove Waikanae couple Valerie and Timo Reitnauer to set up We Love Local, a business supplying high-end NZ gifts filled with artisanal products grown, produced and manufactured in Kāpiti.

“It’s all about shining a light on some of the wonderful products being made in Kāpiti and bringing these to a nationwide audience,” says Valerie.

Valerie and Timo Reitnauer
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We Love Local portrait logo v5

The entrepreneurial couple started their business in late 2018, two years after moving from Wellington to Kāpiti. They’d just finished building a home when the construction company gave them a gift basket.

“It was filled with generic products that we didn’t know where they were sourced from,” says Timo.

“We always visit the Paraparaumu Beach Market on a Saturday and had seen how many great local artisanal producers were out there. We thought it was nuts that no-one was using hyper local products in gift baskets.”

As luck would have it, the ecologically conscious couple had recently bought an electric car, and had tossed around ideas about using it for a delivery service.

“It’s all about shining a light on some of the wonderful products being made in Kāpiti and bringing these to a nationwide audience,”

Valerie Reitnauer

Timo, who emigrated to New Zealand from Germany in 2008, had also reached a cross-roads in his career. He’d started a domain name registrar with two friends and after 11 years, felt it was time to move on.

Meanwhile, Mauritius-born Valerie had worked as an assistant manager at the Hyatt Melbourne (where the couple met) and was keen to put her hospitality skills to use.   

“Gift baskets aren’t a new concept, but it’s all in the execution,” says Valerie. “Our concept is to use all local products but presented in modern, clean-lined wooden boxes that people can reuse.”

Valerie started door-knocking and now their boxes contain a Who’s Who of the region: Kāpiti Olive Oil, Kāpiti Candy, Glam Jams (jams and cordials), Sone’s Sauce (Thai/Asian sauces), honey from Kāpiti Island’s Little Bee Honey, Kāpitea, Kāpiti Chocolate Factory and organic skincare from Ōtaihanga based - NZ Native Oils.

Kāpiti Goodies detail
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A bit of Googling turned up a local supplier of corrugated cardboard packaging needed for national deliveries (Ōtaki company Ayr Pack) and The Shed Project who construct the wooden delivery boxes.   

“We are so pleased to be able to work with The Shed Project which aims to improve the lives of differently abled local people,” says Valerie. “That perfectly aligns with our values.”

So far, the couple’s boxes have made their way around New Zealand, from Te Anau to the Bay of Plenty, and all points inbetween. They’ve also had an order from London – a Kiwi sending a basket to his Kāpiti-based mother for Mother’s Day.

Currently, the couple pack and deliver all the boxes themselves, tucking the business around caring for their four-year-old daughter and work in IT (Timo) and as a personal trainer (Valerie). But the plan is to eventually turn We Love Local into a full-time business that supports them both.

Future plans include customising baskets for different occasions, as well as increasing the range of products offered. And ramping up their online egg, bread and coffee delivery service (using local suppliers such as Dark Horse Coffee and the Kāpiti Coffee Company).

They’re also keen to start selling local artisanal products online.

Say Timo: “Sometimes smaller producers and suppliers don’t have the e-commerce experience to be able to run websites, whereas I have that experience. So we want to be able to sell their products on our platform as a way of giving back to the local community, who have been so welcoming and supportive of us. I think people are starting to move away from the huge e-commerce platforms and are looking for hyper local sites and that’s what we want to support.”

2020 Update: We Love Local now has a range of gift boxes supporting different local producers and purchaser needs - WellingtonKāpitiWairarapa and Horowhenua are all represented with a box of their own. As well as Special diet and a Limited edition box.

Kāpiti Goodies coffee beans
Kāpiti Goodies eggs
Kāpiti Goodies unboxing

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