Featured Shop: Distracted

FK chats to Natalie, about her wonderful Perth space, Distracted.

What is the story behind Distracted?
Distracted began years ago as a single-line entry in my high school daydream journal, and gained momentum during a backpacking journey in 2004. Mark and I headed off to take on the world but soon realised that our world, the one we left behind, was what we treasured most.
We came home to make the place in Perth that we wanted to go to, a place with a sense of humour, a soul and a tribe. It seems illogical to me that people ‘hate’ their job. In this modern madness we spend almost as much time at work as with loved ones, so why not pile it all together in a crazy mish-mash all our own?
Buoyed by my Dad’s ever-optimistic catch cry ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ in 2005 we jumped into the deep end and have been learning to swim ever since.

What are your individual backgrounds and how did you meet?
Mark is a hairdresser and has been wearing the scissor belt since he was 15 years old, and by trade I’m a graphic designer who paints, photographs, sews and loves type. Our paths crossed two decades ago in the sequined world of competitive ballroom dancing. We were dance partners for a few years and the rest, as they say, is history.

What do you look for in the products you stock?
I like things to serve a purpose but not at the expense of aesthetics, so our homewares tend to be both functional and beautiful. The vintage pieces change all the time and are most often chosen on a whim, and the books, well, I treat our bookshelves as my own personal library. It’d be great to tell you that there’s some kind of serious business decisions and professional precision behind it but, quite simply, I just have to love them!

What yummy delights do you sell at the instore cafe?
Most of our delectables are created in the Rochelle Adonis cake studio. Saturday’s Savoury Scones continue to sell out by lunchtime – hopefully my Mum doesn’t tire of making them for us any time soon – and our Mint Hot Chocolate is the current number one bevvy. It was introduced as a Winter Warmer, but its minty goodness has been so popular that it has joined the regular menu.

What do you love in Perth being creative folk?
Our little city has copped rather a lot of bad press lately, but there is so much to love! It’s something about the fresh air, the isolation, the wide-open spaces flush with bold colour, the sunset over sea – by its very nature, Perth affords creatives a freedom of expression that is rarely found in other cities.
I can’t imagine making Distracted anywhere else. The arts community in Perth is enthusiastic, as evidenced by the substantial number of arty folk that we see in the café with laptops in hand. It’s an inspiring privilege to be among whirling ideas and cultured conversation on a daily basis.

What are your favourite websites & blogs at the moment?
There are too many to list! A new bub in our house has meant that I have become quite fond of the Babyology blog. For inspiration I can’t go past Design Sponge and Swiss Miss, and to keep up with the goings-on about town it has to be The Thousands and We Love Perth.

What do you find the most challenging part about juggling the elements of your shop?
Without exception, the hardest part is keeping all the balls in the air. The anatomy of the store means it’s more like running four businesses than one, each with acutely different demands. We’re very fortunate to have wonderful staff working with us as well as my super-supportive family… we certainly couldn’t do it without them.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2011?
Right now we’re gearing up for Christmas. The store is filling with gorgeous new products, the hairdressers are almost fully booked for December, and our Summer Sip Series will be back in the café. It’s 2012 that’s looking huge with both our workshop series and a refreshed market day making a comeback ~ stay tuned!

All the details
The Merchants
324 Oxford Street, Leederville
Western Australia. 6007.
+61 8 9443 9340

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
10am ~ 7pm
Friday and Saturday
10am ~ 5pm


Leave a comment