2021 Tote Bag
For our 2021 tote bag I decided to pay a little tribute to my family’s business which has been sold this year. Chaddy’s Charters is a tourism business based in Taranaki, New Zealand which takes people out to the local seal colony and has been running for over 30 years.
Myself and most of my family have worked in the business at one time or another so it has a very special place in our hearts. While I didn’t love working through my school holidays and weekends as a kid, the skills I learned during that time have served me well. Handling money, hard work, customer service, caring for people and the environment are all great things to be able to learn from such a young age and have shaped my work ethic in ways that I’m still realising today.
My dad (named ‘Happy Chaddy’ by a local radio DJ) always had a lot of great thoughts on how to approach business that have stuck with me. “Always take your shoes off and put theirs on” he would say on the subject of customer service, you need to understand who your customers are to think about what will bring them the most happiness and work to deliver that. He always says “There is no better advertising than word of mouth, you need to make sure all our customers go home and tell everyone about how great their experience was”. Seeing someone from a rough background who couldn’t read or write setup his own successful business showed me that anything is possible. I looked after injured penguins that I had to feed before school each day which taught me a lot about responsibility. My dad would also always put the female crayfish with eggs that we caught back so they can keep breading which meant we would have more crayfish in the future, crayfish for our children and grandchildren. This and other environmental projects I was involved with growing up shaped a lot of my thinking around sustainability and working in all areas of my personal and professional life to support healthy ecosystems.
Each year at The Finish Line I find an artist that I like and ask them to design something for our tote bags. There is no brief, I just want something that represents them as artists. This year is a little different. Due to the ongoing global pandemic I wasn’t able to go to New Zealand to join my family in saying farewell to Chaddy’s Charters, so I decided to do it in my own way with our 2021 bag design.
I decided to centre the image around the boat. We started off with a boat called the Belfast but the business really came into its own when we purchased an old English Lifeboat and built the boat shed to house her and launch down the ramp out to sea in the authentic way.
Rescue III is a Liverpool-class lifeboat which served in Bridlington, England from 1953 until 1967 as the Tillie Morrison Sheffield II. She then served as a lifeboat in Sumner, New Zealand under the name Rescue III before being retired from life as a lifeboat and purchased by my dad to be run as the safest tourist boat you could get.
Chaddy’s Charters wasn’t just the boat and the business though, it was also the family home. The living quarters is above the cafe at the front of the boatshed and it had also come to be thought of by my wife as her family home in New Zealand too, something we have both lost a few tears over thinking about not being able to stay there and have our kids experience too.
I’m really happy to have this reminder through 2021 as a way of saying farewell to the business. We hope to be able to get back home soon and we can still go out to see the seals, plus we have also already signed our daughter Ellie up to work with the new owners when she does a gap year!
You can see more about my dad Happy Chaddy in this video: