Valerie Cranfield (nee Handley)
Valerie Cranfield receives this award in recognition of her success as a business woman in the retail industry.
Brought up with a farming background, where her mother encouraged all her children to “go for it” if they had a good idea, Valerie started her career as an Economics teacher before family life intervened.
An enthusiastic shopper, but with an eye for quality, Valerie soon saw a niche market for handcrafted New Zealand made goods, which became a feature in her first shop “Mostly Floral” which became “the Kiwi shop” and led to the successful Cranfields stores.
Cranfields has grown from one in Wellington, to shops in Christchurch, Auckland and Melbourne.
In March 2009 Valerie accepted the GIA Award (Global Innovation Award) for the top homeware store for New Zealand, presented to her in Chicago and was among 26 country winners considered for the top global award
The success of this enterprise can be attributed to Valerie’s philosophy that good business is as much about commonsense and affordability versus practicality, hard work, and sacrifice as it is about good management. Instinct on stock selection and knowing her clients mean that the stock is refreshed regularly from New Zealand craftspeople and artisans from abroad. Good business practice through research, taking risks, adapting to change and responding to opportunities are all evident in the success of Cranfields.