Creating fashionable windows

Min Goodwin stumbled upon her calling as a window dresser after volunteering in a Mercy Hospice Shop. She tells reporter DANIELLE STREET why she reckons she landed the coolest job ever.

Most days you could probably catch a glimpse of Min Goodwin wrestling with a mannequin in the window of an op-shop somewhere around Auckland.

The vivacious Remuera resident spends her working week between six of the region's Mercy Hospice Shops, creating window displays that impress passerbys.

"There is a walking group that goes past one of my shops every week to check the window and offer me their friendly critique," she laughs. "I've definitely got my fans."

Ms Goodwin began volunteering at the Mt Eden hospice shop seven years ago, shortly after the death of a friend who had spent time in the Mercy Hospice while ill. The mother-of-two began dabbling in window dressing and before long she discovered she had found her forte - which soon became a fulltime job.

When creating her displays inspiration comes in many forms, sometimes it is a theme suggested by her teenage daughter or a striking garment begging to be shown, and other times shop workers will put aside items of interest.

"One time we got this amazing set of swimwear which were like James Bond-style swimsuits from Hawaii.

"I put them in the window display and they were sold within seconds."

Ms Goodwin shies away from making displays for Valentine's Day and Easter in favour of creating something less predictable and "more eye-catching".

So instead of focusing on traditional events, she has conceptualised windows around more Kiwi-centric occasions like the 2011 Rugby World Cup, a tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary and Anzac Day.

"Someone donated a set of postcards from the war that I used in an Anzac display in Pt Chevalier.

"There were men standing outside the window getting a bit teary because of where they had been."

Ms Goodwin says while adorning the shop fronts is fun, it is the people that really make the job.

The stores attract staff and customers who have a personal connection with the hospice and want to show their appreciation by giving something back, whether it be donating goods or donating time.

It's a feeling Ms Goodwin can relate to - her own mother died at the hospice three years ago.

Seeing the care and attention that her mother received on her deathbed made the importance of her work really hit home.

"I see it as a job that helps people, everything we do goes back to the patients at the hospice, the work they do there is just incredible."

The support offered in the hospice is echoed through the stores and often staff will take time to sit with a customer who has recently lost a loved one. In that aspect it is a job full of highs and lows - but Ms Goodwin wouldn't trade it for anything.

"It's just the coolest job, every day is different," she says. "Some days you can laugh until your tummy hurts and then other days you have a customer that breaks your heart."

Central Leader, Auckland City Harbour News, East & Bays Courier (February 6, 2013)
Writer: Danielle Street. Photo: Jason Oxenham.


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