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Melbourne does retail really well. I don't know if it's because the rent is not as expensive as in Sydney so stores have more money to spend on shop fitouts. Or if it is because of the longer, darker winters the southern city is exposed to - and so more time is generally spent appreciating the indoors. But whatever the reason I cannot get enough of visiting Melbourne shops. Southwoodhome is a stellar example that opened recently.


How and why did you start southwoodhome? I started it after many years working as a textile buyer in department stores. I felt very strongly that as consumers we should be able to make choices that allowed us to furnish our homes in a stylish but low-environmental impact way. I stock mainly Australian-made ranges focusing on handmade and natural materials. The exception to the local made product is our certified organic bedlinen and the Bholu range of fair-trade homewares from India.
What has been the response? We have had a very positive response from customers both locally and from the wider Melbourne area.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? Having always worked in the "back office" in the past, I have really enjoyed the chance to have some interaction with my customers and to get to know them and their style.
What has been a highlight? The past three months since we opened has been great fun - also getting good media coverage has given us a boost.
Where do you look to for inspiration? I read all the interiors magazines but am mainly inspired by the fantastic makers and designers I work with.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Remember to hold your line.
What are you passionate about right now? Hand made textiles and ceramics.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Shirley MacLaine.
What are you looking forward to? Christmas.
What are you reading? I couldn't possibly tell you - it's too low-brow to admit to!


Images courtesy of Southwoodhome
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