FEATURE Boutique | Boutique Eco
Tell us about you and your family background
I’m 29...not really I’m 31, a mum to Sunny & Harley and a wife to Peter. I’m from Yallingup & I grew up on the farm where the Yallingup Shearing Shed is. My family has owned the farm for 70 years and the Shearing Shed has been a tourist attraction for 22 years now. Our family are all very business orientated, owning small businesses in Dunsborough, Margaret River & Yallingup so it was just a natural progression after a bit of studying, travelling and partying that I got stuck into setting up my own business Boutique Eco. I am now the buyer for all three businesses, Boutique Eco Dunsborough, Margaret River and the Yallingup Shearing Shed.
When was Boutique Eco born and what was your inspiration for opening the stores?
We originally set the store up as UGGS following a huge international push for the product. It grew so fast that we had two warehouses and were selling out week after week. Then the global financial crisis happened and the international tourists stopped coming to the area. I think a lot of businesses felt the drop off, so we had to change direction and product to capture a more local market. So we decided to choose something close to our hearts, something that would make a difference to the environment and people , natural fibres!!! We had a concept and stuck by it by stocking natural & fashionable product and keeping a real ethos of ‘natural is better for you’... it has been almost 10 years now so it is really evolving into a destination.
What qualities do you look for in a product when looking for new products for Eco?
Buying is a very fun but intense job. You have to look at where did it come from, what is it made from, who is going to wear it, why are they going to wear it...When buying on such a large scale it is like gambling, you have to hope people see what you see in the item otherwise you could have just gambled away $10 000. You have to be very in tune with what people are doing, where they are travelling, what fashion trend is coming next...for me personally, when looking for a new product, I like to feel all the garments to make sure they have a nice presence about them. To make sure the textile is going to feel nice on the body and be beneficial to the wearer. I definitely have placed emphasis on quality, integrity, endurance, sustainability and lovability.
How do you think retail fashion is changing in the south west?
WOW, retail fashion is very strong at the moment and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. When you have a small area like the South West corner with hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking here every year, you get a fabulous variety of clientele. Our stores have been extremely busy this year from all the events that the South West has held in the past six months, so I can only see more businesses setting up down here, as the population grows and the demand for niche product increases.
Do you stock any locally-made labels or products?
I have a few locally made products and lots of ‘Made in Australia’. Wake at Dawn jewellery and Yallingup Candle Company would have to be my two top locally made things...and beautiful Australian made labels instore are Tluxe, Mesop, Emu Australia, Merino Snug, Ella Sanders, Captain Robbo & Tightology. Australian made products are premiuim and they use a lot of natural fibre to suit our climate.
Photography by Jo Bevis
(See more Eco pieces in our South of the Border editorial
You have 2 stores at present, in Margaret River and Dunsborough, can we also purchase online?
No online store for me. I don’t really feel the need to have an online store to tell you the truth. I just focus on opening our doors and letting people actually come in, so they can touch, try and feel the product. I have been tricked a lot online and still believe you have to try something on before you invest in it. Online shopping is good for some products but not ours. We are an old school , purely retail experience and can’t see myself branching off into that area of business. I still really like the personal aspect of shopping locally and being able to see a product with my own eyes.
What are your favourite winter pieces in-store?
There are a lot of different styles and fashion in our stores. I like to keep them a bit like a treasure trove, there really is something to suit everyone. I would have to say the Elk & Ella Sanders knitwear ranges are stunning. Personally I’ll be getting an Ella Sanders cardi, Tluxe Sandy Lane drop crotch pants from NSW, Captain Robbo handmade adventure pants from Melbourne, Emu Australia leather ankle boots, Boody bamboo undergarments, another Bridge & Lord merino cashmere knit, a Merino Snug beret made in Melbourne and another Wake at Dawn crystal necklace to add to my ever growing collection. I think that will do me for winter....I’m ready cold weather, bring it on xxx
Bussell Highway, Margaret River & Commonage Road, Dunsborough
Phone | (08) 9758 8868
Website | www.boutiqueeco.com.au