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The little shop that could

Hello friends !

It's been a long while since we last gave you an update. Now now seemed like a great time to let you know why it's been so long...

One of my many dreams has been to open a little shop with our beautiful handcrafted products and include some complimentary products from other makers. In late January, in a weird turn of events the opportunity arose to create a little retail space with a shop front on the main drag (Vincent Street) in Cessnock and well in true 'us' style we leapt in !

It is just a little shop but what it lacks in size it makes up for in personality.

I wanted to create a wee escape from the world outside that gave people the feelings when they visited. We chose a soothing soft olive green with accents of black, stone, lots of timber and flashes of metallic gold.

While I knew right from the start that it would be green it took a lot of time on pinterest and help from my Mum and friends to get to the right green to create the colour palette from. I narrowly averted a colour disaster in my office that you can see from the shop but our great local paint shop was able to help 10 mins before closing and I managed to sleep that night without waking in a sweat (well not because of paint colours anyway - being a lady of a certain age is quite another matter !).

So now that we had the colours, a great local handyman called Tyler with a can-do attitude to bring our ideas to life, and the furniture (a mix of new and 2nd hand) we needed to make sure that the products alongside our own worked and appealed to our customers.

Enter Marianne from Hunter Lavender Farm, Amber from Daisy May Bouquet and Charlotte from Love From to add their lovely products into our shop. They are all fabulous women and have been such a great help through this process !

Apologies if this is sounding a little "Oscar's speech" but along the way we have been lucky to get great guidance and help from so many people, notably some wise advice from Angela & Renee at Dalton Baker Productions & Make Good Things Happen, lighting and wiring sorted by our awesome sparky Rick from Hunter Valley Sparky, and signage printed by The Print Facility

Early on Mike came up with the idea of getting an LED neon sign of our logo for inside the shop and over the course of the fitout we fell in love with this idea. Those who know us know we LOVE to support other small businesses whenever we are able and I thought it would be a doddle to find an Aussie Company to make us an Australian Made neon sign. I reached out to many with no luck (turnaround times are always a dead giveaway of this type of thing - they were all quoting 4-6 weeks and while we weren't too stressed about the timeframe it is usually a dead giveaway that they are being made offshore).

I continued my search and one day I found a small Sydney based company called Buzz Neons.

I left an incomprehensible message and blow me down if I didn't get a call straight back from an actual human being called Ben.

Ben was a delight to talk to.

When I told him what we were after and how long it would take (it was Wednesday before opening day) he said "how's Tuesday next week" !

Needless to say we had a rockin' sign ready for our opening and they couldn't have been lovelier to deal with.

If you need to find things sometimes the extra time it takes to locate local makers is totally worth the effort and this was one such occasion.

Ok so we had our soft opening on Thursday 28th March and for a first day we both think it went very well although man my feet were sore by the end. I forgot what it's like to be on your feet in moderately uncomfortable footwear all day (always have to wear heels being vertically challenged !) as most of my activities have me sitting down (day job as a QA Manager, making stuff, designing, writing). Having been born and spent my formative years in New Zealand I've heard on more than one occasion that we seem to excel at all the sports where we sit down (rowing, equestrian etc) and maybe there's something to that (although I have one word...RUGBY which is definitely not very sitty downy !).

I digress. Really all I can say is that if you or any friends / family / strangers you met, are local in the Hunter Valley or heading up for a trip, please stop by for a visit and support our little Aussie shop.

We would love to see you !

Speak soon

Lou & Mike x

38 Vincent Street, Cessnock

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