Ceara Lile and Mario Gregor of their newly opened Featherston enterprise. PHOTO/ GRACE PRIOR
Featherston has a brand new inventive addition within the works with Mario Gregor and Ceara Lile opening their two joined companies, Konstantin, a high quality artwork tattoo studio, and Perpetua, an
The 2 companies are named after Gregor’s grandparents in Slovakia, as an ode to household and group.
Gregor and Lile simply completed placing collectively Konstantin Studio final week, and are already booked out for the following six months, with 50 folks nonetheless waitlisted for his or her tattoos.
The idea for Konstantin and Perpetua studios got here to them whereas they have been on a motorbike journey within the far north in the direction of the top of summer season in 2018, Gregor and Lile had all the time needed to work collectively from once they first met, and eventually had the chance to take action in Featherston.
Organising their inventive companies in Featherston meant promoting up store in Wellington, and transferring on from Gregor’s widespread The Gallery Customized Tattoo, to a “slower tempo of life”, as Lile put it.
Their “joint playground” is about to be “totally open by Christmas”, Lile mentioned.
Lile mentioned “small cities can solely survive with inventive companies” and that “Featherston will change into a vacation spot”.
Each Gregor and Lile grew up in semi-rural settings, with Gregor rising up in Soviet Slovakia, and Lile rising up in New Zealand.
Whereas Gregor is already pretty well-known within the tattooing world, Lile is simply beginning her eco-fashion enterprise after an extended hiatus from the trade.
She mentioned that even from a younger age, all she ever needed to do was sew and create with materials.
Lile studied trend however rapidly left the trade when she got here to grasp how unethical and unsustainable it was.
She needed to convey again gradual trend, the place investing in high quality moral and sustainable items was a given.
“Gradual trend is principally handmade,” Lile mentioned.
Lile loved working with eco-printing, a course of the place you utilize crops to print on to materials to create distinctive designs.
She principally deliberate to make use of sustainably and ethically sourced silk and cotton, one thing that could possibly be exhausting to supply on a big scale.
She remembered what the style trade was like earlier than quick trend, “after I was a child, as a result of I grew up within the 80s, yearly you’d go and purchase new garments”.
She talked about having hand-me-downs, “or in case your garments have been new, while you’d grown out of them, they’d go to your siblings or cousins”, and having footwear that have been “at the least a dimension too massive, with cotton wool stuffed within the toe”.
What Lile grew up with was “high quality, and it lasted for ages”.
Additionally lasting for ages are Gregor’s high quality artwork tattoos, though Gregor, “didn’t wish to have something tattoo associated on the shop signal due to the stigma”.
Gregor mentioned his mom needed him to be an accountant, however he turned an engineer as a substitute – it was “about job stability”.
Gregor didn’t essentially intend to change into a tattoo artist – he mentioned New Zealand “bought him into it”.
He began tattooing on himself after practising on oranges and pig pores and skin, however struggled to get an apprenticeship. After 4 years, Gregor made his approach into the trade and has by no means regarded again.
Gregor needed to see a shift within the stigma round tattooing; in some locations, it isn’t so widespread or accepted.
“It’s an artwork type, simply on the pores and skin” Gregor mentioned.
He has been tattooing since 2012, and opened his first store in 2015.
Tattoos weren’t widespread or reasonably priced in Slovakia, however in New Zealand, Gregor discovered a medium for his work.
He has performed robust work in his life, however to him, “that is harder”, spending lengthy days within the store, and coming dwelling solely to do extra work prepared for the following day’s appointment.
Making the transfer to Featherston allowed the couple to work facet by facet with a “slower tempo of life”, Lile mentioned.
“You continue to work simply as exhausting, however the tempo of life is slower, and there isn’t the three-hour day by day commute.”
Featherston’s “tough undertones are lovely; it stops it from being too good”, Lile mentioned.
She thinks “Featherston is in a wonderful progress section”, the place they’ve discovered a way of group by way of opening their companies, one thing that simply doesn’t occur within the sooner tempo of Wellington.