Meet the two Kiwi women responsible for all the Converse in your wardrobe

For over 45 years, Pat Menzies has been keeping our feet looking fresh in iconic brands such as Birkenstock, Dr. Martens, and everyones go-to shoe, Converse.

But did you know this Kiwi business wouldn’t be where it is today without the enthusiasm and expertise of the two women at the helm – footwear buyer Michelle Menzies (daughter of founder Pat Menzies), and marketing manager Kat Farron.

From securing the coolest brand collabs for NZ customers, to ensuring there’s always a pair of Classic 1460 Dr. Martens on the floor in your size, we sat down with the pair to hear about this historic business, and how to keep things fresh when you’re dealing with some of the most iconic footwear in the world.

Tell us about the history of Pat Menzies and Converse in NZ?

Our relationship with Converse dates back to the early ’80s. Pat was the first Kiwi to import Converse direct into NZ under his canvas import license from the factory. Converse has been one of our cornerstone brands ever since. We’re proud to have NZ’s largest range showcased in our dedicated Converse concept store.

Why is the history between Pat Menzies and Converse so special?

Being the first shoe store in New Zealand to import Converse is always going to make our relationship pretty special! We’ve had the classics since day one, and continue to bring Kiwis special edition drops and collabs to this day. We are also stoked to have the only Converse ‘store-in-store’ in the country.

When did Pat Menzies create a Converse Concept Store, and tell us about the recent upgrade?

Our original Converse store opened in 2014. It was a no brainer – we had such a big range of Converse that it made sense to give them their own place to shine. Converse came to the party and the rest is history. The brand has evolved over the years, but our relationship with Converse is as tight as ever. We wanted to modernise the area and give customers a Converse brand experience without having to go to a Converse store. We think it looks pretty slick!

Why do you think New Zealand fashion lovers have such an affiliation with Converse?

Converse are classics. Almost everyone has owned a pair of Converse at some point in their life. The best thing about Converse is they keep coming back with the classic styles people know and love, but they also cover all bases – skaters, creatives, fashionistas…there is something for everyone.

What other brands do you stock at Pat Menzies?

We stock over 30 global footwear brands which are all handpicked for a reason. They all have a history with the store, and have proven their quality. Classics such as Dr. Martens, Birkenstock, Blundstone and Clarks Originals sit alongside newer brands such as Crocs, Merrell and Teva. We’ve worked hard to curate such a diverse offering that we know a wide variety of customers will love.

What makes you proud to represent these brands in NZ?

We are one of just a few footwear retailers in NZ that have been around since the ’70s, and brands choose to be on our shelves because of our history, our staff expertise, and our genuine Kiwi service. We are so pleased we can give Kiwi shoppers easy access to some of the best global footwear brands, all under the same roof.

Is there a style of shoe that despite changes in trends, continues to be a top seller for you?

Dr. Martens have been with us for as long as Converse. We have customers coming in that bought their first pair of Docs from us in the ’70s and are now bringing their kids in for their first pair! The 1460 is a classic which sells year to year; other styles will have their moment in the sun, but the 1460 boot is so timeless. Its appeal will endure and transcend fashion forever. Converse Chuck 70s are another classic that will never go out of style.

Discover the full Pat Menzies range at the Queen St, Auckland store and online at patmenziesshoes.co.nz.