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Design company emerges on top

It’s only been a few short years, but already design newcomers, Enable Design are making waves in Wairarapa.

The company behind some of the region’s best-known brands was the recipient of the Emerging Award at the recent Wairarapa Business Awards.

Enable Design specialises in brand building, logo design, advertising, and websites and has worked with Wings Over Wairarapa, Homegrown Butcher, Blackwell and Son, and WBS.

At only 26, company owner Blair Rooney is the youngest member of the Business Wairarapa board and said receiving the Emerging Award was significant for the company.

“To get the award was really cool. I like how there are only six or seven awards, so to get one really means something.”

Enable Design got off the ground in 2017 in Wellington, with Rooney leaning on a background in business rather than design or IT.

“A lot of people get confused, thinking we’re a tech or IT company. I don’t know the first thing about IT.”

In 2020, he and his business partner and wife, Beth, moved to Wairarapa, a shift which has proven to be fruitful.

“In Wellington or Melbourne, we feel incredibly small, we’re just another design company.

“I think our base in Wairarapa meant we’ve been able to support more businesses.”

Rooney said he has always had a mind for business, starting his first company while still at school.

“I was interested in clothing design. I wasn’t necessarily passionate about fashion itself, but I saw it as a vehicle to create.”

Rooney said the team was adept at catering to each of the 125 clients on the books between New Zealand and Melbourne.

He said Wairarapa’s high concentration of small businesses meant many local clients were “one-man bands”, who recognised the importance of branding.

“People who invest in branding get results, it’s about future-proofing.

“Business owners make the mistake of thinking the brand is about them when it is actually about the customers. You’re only as good as your last idea.

“People buy into brands without realising it. At the supermarket, people buy certain products based on the message that resonates with them. When farmers buy RM Williams, they’re buying into a lifestyle.”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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