‘Burn-out’ sees former Block winners sell huge homewares business

‘Burn-out’ sees former Block winners sell huge homewares business

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Alex and Corban Walls, pictured with Goldie and Austen, have sold their homewares business to spend more time with their young family. Alex also cites burn-out as a major reason to step down.

Alex and Corban Walls, winners of The Block NZ in 2014, have sold their successful homewares business, A&C Homestore, with Alex citing reasons she says many women can identify with, namely burn-out and a need to spend more time with the children.

The couple announced the decision with an Instagram post saying after seven years at the helm of “this (big) little business” they are “setting off in search of new ventures”.

They say when they launched the business in 2015, “pre-babies and with a hopeful, yet very humble vision” they never expected it would become a national brand with five stores, one warehouse and a team that had increased to 30.

“Now, with two kids and a company that has become a brand in its own right, skilfully steered by our wider A&C family, it feels like the right time to create space… for a new chapter, while spending more time with Austen (6) and Goldie (3).”

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Alex Walls told Stuff she and Corban coincidentally announced their decision on the very same day Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announced her resignation, and she says the Prime Minister’s reasons were similar to the reasons why she felt she needed to step back from her business.

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The couple not only owned five stores, including an online store, but also created their own products and branding.

“I have been quite burnt out; we have been through a brutal two years of Covid, and I have missed some crucial years of my children’s lives,” Walls said. “I feel I have really robbed myself of my beautiful children. I need to spend time with them and reassess my life and get some balance back.

“I love the business, and it got so big, because I kept saying ‘yes’ to things. We were not only running five stores, including the online store, but also creating products for our own brand. I kept on running it as though the only thing in my life was my career.”

Walls hopes to help other women “doing it for themselves.” “I can’t believe what us mums do.”

A recycled Mini car showroom provided the raw materials Alex and Corban Walls needed to build a stylish Whananaki holiday home, which can be rented.

She said she would like to work in the community, and anticipates making herself available in due course as a consultant on retail and small business strategy. “And I will be open to doing interior design, styling and consulting, because that’s what I love.”

Walls also doesn’t discount the possibility of another renovation project – “it’s in my blood”. The couple shared their home building project in Beach Haven, Auckland on their website, documenting each step of the way. They bought the land in March 2015 and finally moved in just before Christmas in 2019. They also have a holiday home at Whanaki, which they rent out.

The Walls have sold their business to sisters Abbe and Kerry Vaughan, whom they describe as “interior design enthusiasts and long-time A&C Homestore customers” who share their values and vision for the business.

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Sisters Abbe and Kerry Vaughan are the new owners of A&C Homestore.

“I will be staying on in a part-time consultant role for a little while, to help keep the brand on track,” Alex Walls said.

Fans and neighbouring businesses have been quick to respond to the news. Crave Home posted: “Congratulations Alex and Corban, such a huge achievement!! Welcome to Birkenhead Abbe and Kerry x”

The company stores are in Christchurch, Birkenhead, Ōrākei and Mt Eden.

Alex and Corban Walls won $307,000 in profit and prize money at The Block NZ auction in 2014. But they gifted the losing team (Quinn and Ben Alexandre, who appeared again on last year’s show) $30,000, taking home $277,000.

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This is how we first met Alex and Corban Walls – on the set of The Block NZ in 2014.

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