I love that you don’t have to go anywhere else if you live in Surry Hills. It does consume you a bit when you live and work here but I love the diversity of people and how friendly it is. It’s one of the few suburbs in Sydney that has that “village” vibe. I know a lot of the business people, being a business owner myself, and I also love the kids in the neighbourhood and watching them grow up. There’s something special about that. A lot of my customers are locals and regulars. There are the “Surry hillbillies”, (the locals) that come in and they have kept me here for 13 years.
Having a dog really helps to meet new people. That’s how I connect with the people in my neighbourhood apart from my customers. I find a lot of the community are people who have been here for a long time.
I saw potential for Surry Hills to be like Fitzroy in Melbourne 13 years ago.
Surry Hills has changed a lot. Before the changes happened I was a little worried about Surry Hills. For example the bike lanes, the fact that my shop is still here is incredible. It was terrible here when that was going on. They didn’t talk to me or communicate with me they just told me as it was all happening. It was a big project. When works like that happen, it can really disrupt businesses as we know with the Light Rail. I’m sure a lot of those businesses on Devonshire St and Crown St will really feel it. I don’t know why they don’t just build one section of it at a time. It’s a pretty big project. Once it’s finished though, I think it will be brilliant. If it brings more people to Surry Hills that will be good. But we want the right sort of people here. I don’t want it to end up the way it used to be in the Cross. We want the right people. Surry Hills is not so bohemian anymore, like Redfern. There is a nice mix here but I also liked Surry Hills 13 years ago. There are still lots of cool things here though. It’s not like Paddington. Not that there is anything wrong with Paddington.
My pivotal moment was leaving Adelaide and coming to Sydney. Leaving my family was big. I’ve always been a pretty tough cookie. My mum had four kids on her own she was a big role model. I took a leap of faith and didn’t think about what would happen next and just jumped in and starting my business. That’s my personality. There is always ebbs and flows in retail but that’s the way it is.
My business is a lifestyle. I try to make my shop comfortable for people. It’s personal stripping off and standing there naked looking at yourself in the mirror and putting things on that don’t look right, then trying on other things. So you have to make the place nice. I try and make it a place where people can come and play dress ups as opposed to just buying. People like to play as they try on different clothes. Everything in here is like me colourful and a bit mad.
16th March 2018