Isolation no Barrier for Local Business

Published August 14, 2013

By anyone’s standards, Oakura is geographically remote but distance is no barrier to starting up your own business as Claire Ongley found out. All you need is broadband and a unique product range!

Claire’s business is called Izzy and Jean Co. and is a supplier of fine home goods and accessories from around the world.

The knack of course is in sourcing products that people will love to buy and own or give as gifts.

Claire’s philosophy is simple – lovely things which aren’t mass produced.

You can find Claire’s business at The site features many beautiful products and for those who like window shopping this certainly is the site to do it! Claire has sourced her products from boutique or family run businesses such as the Welsh baby blankets made in Wales at a small wool mill in a small village which has been in business since 1912. The wool for the blankets is sourced from local Shetland sheep.

Each of the products has a lovely story which you find on the website and just as we enjoy knowing where our food comes from, you can trace the origins of your purchase and the story behind it – a very satisfying experience. There’s no wondering if it is made in some sweat shop in China.

You will find fine linen sheets, fouta towels, herringbone woven throws, Moroccon hand woven rugs made by the Berber tribe, dog coats, toiletries, men’s accessories, leather handmade boots, socks, scarves, cushion covers, baby products and kids products. Claire offers gift vouchers and gift boxes.

The name Izzy and Jean is inspired by Claire’s two grandmothers Isabelle and Joan.

Claire is offering TOM readers within Oakura a free delivery discount so when you make a purchase, in the discount box use this unique code OAKURAFREE. Free freight has been given to customers indefinitely so if you are thinking “Father’s Day taken care of”, have a look at the male options on the website – all delivered to your door! Claire is happy to open her shop by appointment and all goods are returnable if not suitable within 30 days.

Izzy and Jean Co have been popping up in all the glossy magazines lately and Claire’s products sit very nicely amongst the desirable ‘must have’s’ this year.

Claire and her partner Daniel and their cute little dog Woody have come to Oakura from Sydney and have been living in the village since April.  They all love the village life and living by the seaside. Woody is getting to grips with Wandering Dew – a no go for a dog that likes to itch!  Claire has two sisters living in the area and gets to spend quality time with her nieces and nephews.

Daniel has worked in consumer electronics for nearly 20 years. Redundancy has meant an opportunity to develop his own business idea. This business idea has seen Daniel enter a business development competition and now he is in the top three in Taranaki. The winner is announced on 5 September.  Good luck Daniel, your idea is fantastic.

Claire says her main market thus far has been Auckland but this could change if the people of Oakura and its surrounds want to enjoy Izzy and Jean’s fine products!


Welsh Shetland wool blankets