Tell us a little about your background and what path led you to open your shop?
For the past 10 years I worked as a Travel Agent and loved shopping all over the world. My dream one day was to open a little shop that I could fill with amazing items from all over the world. I had my son and soon realised I needed something little to do other then just being a Mum, which I loved. So in September 2010 I started an online Blogazine called Belle Bazaar where I wrote about everyday beautiful things. Through this I met amazing designers who created beautiful clothes, jewellery and much more. In December 2010 I decided to bring my blogazine to life and showcase all of the amazing people I had met in the form of a Twilight Market which launched on 30th April. While organising that a beautiful shop became available and made me think about the possibility of opening my long awaited dream of a little boutique. So in Feburary this year I asked my network if they would like to be apart of my shop and they all did and that is how the Belle Bazaar Boutique was born.
Tell us what the shop is all about?
Belle Bazaar Boutique is a beautiful shop filled with handmade clothes, jewellery, gifts and much much more. We try and source handmade as well as small boutique manufactured items that are different to most other shops. A shop where you can find quirky and unique gifts from all over the world.
Where did the shop name, Belle Bazaar, come from?
I love the Bazaar's in Morocco and wanted to create a little version of them here in Australia filled with beautiful items, so that is where Belle Bazaar came from, meaning Beautiful Market which I think sums up our shop and market.
How does the shop support independent artists and crafters or the handmade community?
The shop let's people explore what it would be like to showcase their items in a store without having to take on the large costs of opening one themselves. We love supporting all handmade artists by showcasing their wares in the shop or Twilight Market as well as writing about them in our Blogazine. Sharing their beautiful creations with our large network. We also host stall holder get togethers where they can meet other handmade crafters in a nice relaxed social get together and people can talk and swap stories. Usually these get togethers lead to exchanging precious information that helps them grow their business.
How can local designers get involved in the shop?
They can contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Terms & Conditions on our blog www.bellebazaarboutique.blogspot.com or pop in to us at 139 Lumley Street, Upper Mt Gravatt.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
Depends on if I have my little one with me or not.
I come in and mop and clean the floor.
Get all my paper work together and ready for the day.
Depending on the week I might change the window display.
Then I answer all of my emails and if I have time I will source new items for the shop.
Try to update the shop, markets and blogazine blogs, check facebook and then it's time to go home.
How do you promote the shop?
I just had a delivery of 10,000 flyers so I will hand these out to promote the shop. I also have a shop stall at the Twilight Markets displaying what we have at the shop. I am continuously updating facebook and my blogs whenever we get anything new into the shop.
By hosting special VIP Nights at the shop. Also the shop is starting to be used for locations for magazine shoots which is great as that is extra exposure for the shop and of course hiring space in online magazines as well as hard covered magazines.
We have been nominated for New Small Business of the Year for the Quest Newspapers Small Business Awards so fingers crossed we can win this.
What is your favourite item in the shop at the moment?
Oh my I don't think I could pick just one.... I am quite partial to all our beautiful girls clothes (as a Mum of 1 boy can be) by Sisters & Co, JD Baby, Charli Jean and Aq Prettiness..... But I am loving the quirkiness and cuteness of Kawaii for You range of Japanese gifts. But for me Jewellery is a must so Ruby Olive, Just Lovely Things, Killari and Petit Plat. Petit Plat is from France and we are the only store outside of Europe which stocks her amazing miniature food jewels.
What's in store for 2011 and beyond?
I have come so far in such a short amount of time pretty much the sky is the limit. I never thought I would be where I am today. I have some great ideas for the handmade scene and getting it out to more and more people, hopefully expanding the markets to other cities and of course the shop as well.
If you would like to pop in and visit the Belle Bazaar Boutique it is located at:
Thank-you Jessica for taking the time to share your boutique with us!