20th June 2022
7 April 2022
When I found out Purple Patch are celebrating 41 years in the city centre, I immediately called Jillian (president of the group) to meet her for a chat. Purple Patch is not just a store that sells handcrafted children’s clothing and toys, they have a much bigger story to tell…. One of kindness, compassion, community, and creativity. In truth, their story touched my heart, and I came away feeling full of hope and joy. Let me share it with you….
41 years ago, a woman named Joan Bryant set up Purple Patch in the heart of Downtown Tauranga with the intention of giving people an outlet and encouraging our older generation to stay active and creative. Joan wanted Purple Patch to be a shop where people could become a member and sell their handmade creations through them. Members were not so much interested in making a profit, they simply hoped to sell a cardigan, beanie, wooden toy, or pair of baby socks to that they could buy more wool to make another cardigan.
After all these years Jillian is thrilled to announce that Purple Patch have 150 members! Last year for the first time, they even had three teenagers join them and are making gorgeous woollen baby toys and beaded necklaces, sold in the shop right now.
I asked Jillian what her favourite item is they sell, and she quickly responded, “smocking” …. to which I replied, “what is that?”. She was horrified. Apparently smocking is a dying art, and it really shouldn’t be! Jillian told me that members in their 80s and 90s are still smocking and making these beautiful girls dresses with gathered material and embroidery at the front.
Beth held up an example of a coat made entirely of recycled material… such as doily, and old woollen blankets. This is her favourite because not only is it beautifully crafted, but it uses materials they already have in the shop. Right now, it is hard to get wool and materials from overseas, so it’s amazing to see recycled materials being used.
My personal favourite were these overalls…. stop it with the cuteness.
Purple Patch run on a roster of dedicated and giving volunteers. They also donate most of their profits to charity…. this year giving donations to St John Rescue Chopper, Mount Surf Lifesaving, Cancer Research and Good Neighbour.
If you would like to be a member of Purple Patch, or if you or someone you know is interested in volunteering then please contact Jillian on 07 578 2896. She would love to hear from you. Perhaps you're looking for a gift or something for your own little one as we come into the cooler months, shop at Purple Patch where you will also be supporting a good cause =).
They have also just launched a Facebook page…. follow them at Purple Patch Tauranga.