Some say business and family should not mix.
But for Stefan and Maryke Benade, the father-daughter duo behind the business Ayke & WhatNot, it is the perfect combination.
Focused on creating wood furniture and decor, the Waianakarua business had been in the making for the past five years, becoming a fulltime venture last year.
Woodworking is a childhood hobby Mr Benade has carried with him through life.
In 2000, the Benade family moved from South Africa to Auckland, a process that made them very close.
Without extended family being a stone’s throw away, they only had each other, Ms Benade said.
In 2015, Mr Benade and his wife Marina moved from Auckland to Waianakarua’s former school house.
From then, he decided to pursue woodworking full-time and started taking commissions from regular customers, leaving behind a 30-year career in telecommunications.
Meanwhile, his daughter had moved back and forth across the world, and up and down New Zealand, with the idea for a business “floating around” in her head.
Last year’s lockdown prompted Ms Benade to “reassess” her priorities and gave her the boost she needed to move from Christchurch to Waianakarua and pursue Ayke & WhatNot fulltime.
With her brother living in Oamaru, Ms Benade said it had been a long time since the family had lived in the same area.
She now lives on her parents’ property with her partner, and the father-daughter duo have their workshop, studio, and each other all in one place.
While Mr Benade focused on making the items, Ms Benade ran the business end of things.
They wanted to create pieces that focused on traditional woodworking, told stories, were made to order and to last, and could be passed down, she said.
Just as her father was passing down his wood working skills to her so that she could eventually join him in the workshop.
“I’m the maker in the making,” she said.
Having participated in last year’s Meet the Maker, the duo were once again welcoming people into their studio and workshop for this year’s event.