How did you get April’s Caravan going and
then Miss Mae?
house, with a mammoth, outstanding,
outrageous collection [of vintage items],
and I needed some money and at this time
I decided to let part of that [collection] go.
I wanted to have it more as an event rather
than just be selling vintage clothing because
that’s not what it’s about to me, it’s about the
fun and the atmosphere.
A friend of mine help me set up a Facebook
page for April’s Caravan. It was supposed
to be called April’s but my friend set up the
profile as a person, rather than a page and
you have to have a first name and a surname
so April’s Caravan became the name.
There were over 400 people that showed
up to the first party at my house where I had
bands playing on my porch and had all the
blankets set out for scones and tea and the
name April’s Caravan stuck with those people.
And then, suddenly I became April. I stole
my caravan’s identity. That caravan is now
called June. When I launched June – which is
the real April – I thought I can’t call her April
because everyone thinks I’m April. And even I
respond to April now.
So, that caravan is called June and Miss Mae, came later. I launched Miss Mae at Lonsdale Street Roasters in 2010 and she was completely different but all I had was the money to do little bits here and there but I have amazing friends with skills like you wouldn’t believe that will come on board and help me do whatever the next thing is. Miss Mae was going to happen prior to arriving at The Hamlet, she was actually going to be a coffee van but that all changed and we moved to the milkshakes, and the desserts are coming soon but we’ve got the waffles and other little bits. She was also at the Old Bus Depot Markets, The Fringe Festival and other places. We’re also about to start doing a smaller food van as another pop-up to take to festivals.
Why did you want to run a food truck?
One of my first jobs was at New Zealand Natural Ice Creamery. The Hokie Pokie was awesome. I used to love filling up the topping bottles because they came in these massive buckets and the topping would spill onto my arms and it was amazing – the caramel, everything. I think I worked there for about three years. Also when I was young, I remember my mum wanted to open up a little diner and I was so excited and then so upset when she didn’t do it. That was my fantasy, to be a part of something like those places. I have three kids, so I know how awesome it is for them to come down and have a waffle here. My eldest child used to work at Miss Mae and my middle child now works here. It’s also nice to be able to have something different. I’m not just vintage clothing, it’s about creating a fun atmosphere. Milkshakes, waffles, sugar; it’s bad but it’s so much fun. When someone walks in to the space and I see and hear their reactions and the amount of photos that get taken of all the colours, I love that.
What do you love about it?
That’s what I love. I like that I’ve built a playhouse that families can come and interact with each other. Everything I do is about relationships and the interaction, whether it’s with the furniture, the space as a whole, each individual piece, rather than just what you’re getting off the menu. It’s fun. It’s hard doing as many things as I do but I’ve got an amazing team behind me, they’re awesome and I’m so lucky.
Why do you think people love food trucks?
It brings you back to that interaction and that fun where you’re not stuck in a mall or at a table, you can move around. It’s an old thing – where people would go outside. You think of carnivals and fairs and it’s all about the fun of it. Even ice cream trucks like Mr. Whippy, you think about that song from the truck. You could easily ride down to the shop, get a better tasting ice cream, and for cheaper, but you heard that noise from Mr. Whippy and it’s just brings in that fun so you go for it. I think people like that. A bit of clean fun is nice.
What is next for Miss Mae?
I’ve just completed an office fitout down at the Nishi Building, so I might be doing a little more styling work for April’s Caravan. But I think [I’ll be] focusing more on setting up spaces. I like space and dealing with it. Miss Mae might be leaving The Hamlet but will still be available to book for parties and other events! In terms of the new mobile food van we’ve got, I haven’t quite figured out the plans yet. We haven’t even figured out if it’s a boy or a girl. It hasn’t arrived on my doorstep so we’ve got to see it and figure out who it is. I’m really hoping to have that ready in about a month’s time to start getting it out there. I really don’t want anything more than that – I want a holiday! But, if there’s ever an opportunity anywhere for me to throw a bit of colour, I’m happy to do that. I always feel better when I create.
To find out more about April’s Caravan: Miss Mae, visit their Facebook page here.