New Plymouth’s arresting Len Lye Centre isn’t the only new thing in town. Late last year, Shaun and Cassie Conaglen returned to their home town after more than 20 years of working as a builder (Shaun) and a lawyer (Cassie) in Sydney.
Sean says he had always wanted to own a shop – he just wasn’t sure what kind – and believes that despite the rise of online retailing, customers still value a high-quality face-to-face experience. So the couple took over the lease on an old barbershop – they’re also passionate about good grooming – along with an adjacent store and got to work.
The shop’s aesthetic was Shaun’s brainchild. He’d worked on many projects with industrial and vintage leanings in Sydney but, in New Plymouth, inspired by a painting of the Queen he discovered on TradeMe, he came up with a look he calls “Regal Vintage”, which involves a combination of gilt mirrors, chandeliers and mid-century furniture.
It’s an intriguing formula that’s working exceptionally well. The Conaglens started out with two barbers and are now looking for a fifth. They’ve added a clothing section, a range of men’s grooming products and also sell coffee, Oscar’s Pies and other home-cooked treats. They also offer the chance for local artists to display their work upstairs.
This unlikely combination has turned Jetcharm into a popular hangout, and made the Conaglens delighted to have made the move back home.
Photography by: Russell Kleyn