We are only six months into our journey as owners of Paper Rain but we couldn’t pass up this opportunity to celebrate 10 years of Paper Rain this 10th of May 2023.
Here are some of the highlights from the last ten years...
From waterskis to skateboards…
Pre-dating the birth of Paper Rain in 2013 Indigo (founder) was creating handpainted waterski longboards.
When Wills came on board, he was experimenting with recycled woods to develop his own longboard decks. He found that being from Marlborough, where there's more wine than water, there was an abundance of French Oak barrels. He may have chosen the hardest process of board making possible, but once steamed, straightened, joined and shaped, the oak finished up beautifully.
Our boards are now manufactured from sustainably grown NZ macrocarpa. The process is a bit more streamlined and straightforward, but still lovingly handcrafted by us.
From art boards to fashion
Around 2014 Paper Rain began expanding into organic cotton tees, developing a relationship with Freeset (now known as Joyaa). This 'business for freedom' not only sew 100% organic cotton t-shirts, the women behind their apparel are supported out of the sex trade of Kolkata, India.
We now partner with Little Yellow Bird, a fellow NZ business doing amazing things for ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry.
The Blanks Project
With a love of creativity in mind, the ‘Blanks Project’ was launched as an artist competition. Our first prints saw artworks from artists as far afield as Portugal, France & England as well as here in NZ. Paper Rain still has a relationship with some of these artists to this very day.
The tees were originally printed out of a small garage
And this continued until recently. Now we are lucky enough to have our tees printed by the team at The Print Room in Dunedin. We love these guys as they solely use water based inks in their printing process which is so much better for the environment than the toxic alternative that standard printers used.
Paper Rain has run many art exhibitions...
...here in NZ and even an exhibition in London! At one point there were inaugural shows in Auckland.
We've been everywhere...
Well almost! The first Store was opened in Picton in late 2015 and was followed by pop-up stores in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as exhibitions and market stalls in Queenstown, Dunedin, New Plymouth and Tauranga.
The physical store allowed the Paper Rain brand to expand into stocking products from other social enterprises and forward thinking companies including Amberjack Candles, Nisa, Dinadi Knitwear, The Loyal Workshop, Duffle&Co, Favoured and Tahi Skincare.
The Tannery Store in Christchurch
Wellington Manners Street Store
Paper Rain survived an Earthquake
The Kaikoura Quake knocked down the front facade of the Picton store in 2016. Paper Rain was the only store to suffer facade damage but on the bright side it let in SO much more sun! (just got the pun as I typed this!)
In 2016, Paper Rain decided to give People Power a go and started a Kickstarter campaign to further develop their wine barrel boards. The goal was to raise money to purchase much needed equipment to increase and widen our production range while keeping our products to the same standard of sustainability and quality. Not only did Paper Rain meet the kickstarter goal, they blasted over 500% beyond the original goal!
Birth of the "Cause Phenomenon"
The cause phenomenon was officially born in 2017 where a commitment was made to ramp up support for social and environmental causes.
Each t-shirt is paired with a social or conservation based ‘Cause’ for which we help raise awareness and funds through the sale of the product. Each board donates to Trees that Count to support the replanting of native trees in NZ.
Causes supported through the project have included Satisfy Food Rescue, Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary, Project Jonah, Conservation Kids NZ, Sustainable Coastlines, Working Waters Trust, DOC's Kaki Stilt protection, Kakapo Recovery Trust, Save the Bees, The Marlborough Falcon Trust, Live More Awesome, Para Wetlands, The Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, KidsCan, Silverline Otago, Trees that Count and Extinction Rebellion.
Our t-shirt range has expanded to support everything from fighting depression to local and national conservation projects protecting land, sea, water and native species.
Most recently our March and April sales were donated to the Cyclone Gabrielle Disaster Fund operated by the NZ Red Cross.
Ampersand by Michel Tuffery in support of Sustainable Coastlines
From wall art to rideable art
2018 saw the release of the Paper Rain rideable boards. So beautiful they are almost too good to ride. Made from sturdy blackwood grown in Marlborough NZ. Unfortunately these are not currently in stock but watch this space…
Waka Huia drop through rider, design by Hannah Jensen
The original drop through rider with grip tape artwork by Hannah Batty
Some famous people rock Paper Rain…
Some epic famous people own our boards and/or tees including Xavier Rudd, Pink, Mike Giant, Jack Johnson and Bruno Mars to name a few.
Pink & crew receiving Paper Rain boards at Spark arena
Caption of post by Xavier Rudd about the rideable he received whilst in NZ
Passing the torch
Trish & Terry - current owners of Paper Rain
In late 2022 after almost reaching the 10 year milestone Indigo and Wills handed over the baton to us - Trish & Terry - from Tauranga. It has been an absolute rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, unfortunately a lot of downs with a struggling economy and learning the ropes of owning a business (we learnt hard and fast it's tough! Shout out to all the small business owners out there!). But we are super excited to pick ourselves up and keep going. We have exciting things in the works so stay tuned.
Terry and our blended family of five kids
And there we have it, a wrap on ten years of Paper Rain. Here’s to the next 10!
Trish & Terry