Samoa’s Eveni Pacific shirts are now available at a pop up store in Auckland’s Victoria Park Market.
It’s great news for New Zealand fans who can usually only access the Eveni designs online.
The pop up Shop 33 is the latest venture between Eveni Pacific and its New Zealand distributor, Samoanz Ltd (trading as Shop Samoa) to promote its range and latest collection, Aiga.
Pacific Periscope visited the store with Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao who met with Rasmus Pereira, Director of Samoanz Ltd and discussed the increasing popularity of the online label in New Zealand.
Eveni Pacific provides one of the largest collections of Elei apparel in Samoa. The brand is owned by I.H. Carruthers Limited, a family business with over 80 years of operation in Samoa. I.H. Carruthers is one of Samoa’s leading retailers of fabrics, uniforms, sporting goods and Polynesian inspired apparel.
Mr Pereira opened the first Eveni Pacific pop up store last year in Auckland’s upmarket Ponsonby Central, a shopping plaza in one of Auckland’s top suburbs. Leveraging off the All Blacks v Manu Samoa first ever international rugby clash in Samoa, the shop was a big success, not suprisingly.
This time the pop up is targeting Auckland’s tourist market and the surrounding CBD office workers.
“The aim is to build brand awareness amongst the young Pacific communities and local mainstream New Zealand buyers wanting a fresh Pacific vibe,” Mr Pereira said.
Elei shirts are Samoa’s contemporary take on the popular Pacific Island Aloha or Bula shirt. Each of Eveni Pacific’s products and design shirt collections is made by a team in Samoa under the creative lead of Sales Director, Lisa Vaai.
“Our designs blend both Polynesian and Samoan Motifs inspired by the expanded history of the Carruthers family in Samoa,” Ms Vaai said.
The rising popularity of the Eveni Pacific brand is reflective of a new wave of urban savvy Pacific Island designers, proud of their heritage and not afraid to mix it up in colour and design.
The Elei style leans towards smaller block prints similar to the tatau or the Samoan tattoo patterns.
The shirts are generally more fitted with shorter sleeves but they have also adapted a style for colder climates with a long sleeve shirt.
There is a new Eveni Pacific gym gear range and they launched their Aiga and Manuia Collection of Shirts at Samoa Fashion Week featuring the metallic prints into their flagship store in Apia.
The Auckland Pop up store is also a nostalgic nod back to the Pacific community who once lived in large numbers in the inner city area back in the 50s 60s and 70s before moving out to the suburbs of South and West Auckland.
Mr Pereira said it’s about bringing back Pacific island shoppers to the inner city, many of whom remembered living there.
Eveni Pacific’s pop up is well positioned store near the heart of the market. With warm sun streaming through the open front doors it’s a great location to rock the Pacific vibe. They have also been offered the use of an empty store across the way and seeing the possibilities were considering taking up.
“Many of the customers are women who are coming in and choosing the shirts for their husbands, partners and families. They are more adventurous, and ready to take the new designs and colour combos where guys simply go for the same old tried and true,” said Mr Pereira.
But Mr Pereira has his eye on the future and a much bigger audience.
“The challenge is how to market to new people and build the brand globally,” Mr Pereira said.
Being associated with internationally recognised sports teams such as the All Blacks and other eye candy individuals has definitely given the label some air.
Recently, Tongan Rio Olympian and part-time model Pita Taufatofua caught the world’s eye as the heavily oiled muscular Tongan flag bearer at the Olympic opening ceremony. Overnight he was a global sensation, his images flashed around the world on TV and going viral on social media.
A few weeks later, Mr Taufatofua modelled Eveni Pacific shirts at the inaugural Pacific Fusion Fashion Show in Auckland. Of course he made the news – wearing an Elei shirt. But the marketing mix also pulls in well-known Pacific Island athletes such as NZ Warriors Rugby League player Ali Lau’iti’iti modelling the Elei shirts online. Added to the list of National rugby teams from Georgia and Tonga and now the Fiji Bati Rugby League all uniformed up in Elei shirts.
There has been a lot of interest said Mr Pereira.
The Pop up shop will soon introduce the New Zealand market to a new range of home furnishings, lounge pillows and table sets from Samoa by Garlands Pacific. It is the newest brand extension for the Eveni Carruthers. The shop at Victoria Park Market will open for a few months in the lead up to Christmas.
For more information on Eveni Pacific, please email PT&I Trade Manager Joe Fuavao on firstname.lastname@example.org