shopkeeper nikki christie

After having her daughter, Nikki Christie was looking for a project that could combine her interests in children's clothing and vintage wares. She didn't want to compete with the large retailers so created a boutique shop The Bird & The Bee in Sydney's Bellevue Hill that supported local designers. 

How and why did you start The Bird & The Bee? One of the reasons I started the business was to go back to work after having my daughter Xanthe. I also thought there was a gap in the market for a unique children’s boutique. I didn’t want to compete with the larger stores selling mainstream product. And I wanted to indulge my passion for vintage finds and support local designers while also considering how disposable so much merchandise is today. So I try to always stock collectable pieces that will be held onto for years to come.
What has been the response? I’ve had a great response. My customers know they can always find a unique piece that won’t be found in every store.
How is having your own business different to what you expected? It’s a lot more stressful. You’re the only one to rely on when business is quiet. I also don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like with my daughter and husband.
What has been a highlight? Having the opportunity to get my hands on so many great products and share them with everyone. And knowing that I’ve created a beautiful store and have loyal customers to enjoy it with me.
Where do you look to for inspiration? I look into my own childhood. Much of the store is filled with vintage clothing and memorabilia, a lot of which has never been worn or played with. My daughter is another form of inspiration.
What's the best lesson you've learnt so far? Location is very important. You definitely pay for passing trade. Also, always leave some money aside for marketing/advertising. Or, make sure you keep in touch with people who can help with editorial. And do what you love and you'll attract the crowd you want.
What are you passionate about right now? Right now, I’m passionate about my second child which will be due mid next year. I will be focusing on my online store as of January and plan to be working from home. My family will be taking centre stage for a while.
If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be? That’s a hard one! It would have to be someone from my distant family. Like a great, great grandmother. I wonder if she was anything like me?
What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to summer. I plan on doing a lot of relaxing and building sand castles with my daughter.
What are you reading? Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. I don’t actually read very much as I’m an active person who doesn’t really like to sit down. I do love the style and choice of subject matter in all of her books. She’s very passionate about all aspects of living.

photos courtesy of nikki christie

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