There are some shops you know you're going to love before you even step through the front door. I had been given a taste of what was in store via the pages of real living (our Melbourne stylist Clair Wayman often sources products from Douglas & Hope). Then when I stood in front of the shop window earlier this year, I sighed a breath of pleasure. How divine! Such a beautiful window display. Such thought and care... and beautiful products. Then I stepped inside. This shop, which has been open since 1999, is a must-stop if you visit Melbourne.
How and why did you start Douglas & Hope? I had been quilting and designing womenswear for a few years and decided I wanted to open a store to sell them. My partner Paul has always run the shops, and I am the behind-the-scenes organiser.
What has been the response? To my knowledge we were the first store to sell patchwork quilts, and they have been incredibly popular from day one.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? I have worked for myself for more than 12 years; it certainly makes you incredibly resourceful.
What has been a highlight? It's always great when people find out what you do and their response is "Douglas & Hope - that's my favourite shop"!
Where do you look to for inspiration? I don't look for inspiration, new ideas seem to come from nowhere.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To have faith in your customers and to follow your instincts.
What are you passionate about right now? Sourcing new product for the shop that's not found at gift fairs, and trying to stay one step ahead.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? My partner's mother who passed away when he was young.
What are you looking forward to? My twin boys' first Christmas and 1st birthday in January.
What are you reading? Magazines, magazines, magazines. I devour them and I have just finished From A to Biba: The Autobiography of Barbara Hulanicki, it is amazing the parallels between her business and ours. I related completely to everything she said.
Images courtesy of Cathy Hope.