FK chats to Amanda from her lovely cafe/gift shop based in Adelaide, E for Ethel
Tell us about your cafe/gift shop, E for Ethel and what things we can expect to discover.
Ethel is a homely shop filled with natural light, fresh air and lots of space, so you’ll never feel jostled or crammed. We’ve tried to create a little oasis of calm, in the middle of a relatively busy city. Inside you will discover delightful surprises all around – a home baked Italian biscotti by Nonna Rose and a book segment served with your drinks, a vintage cloth napkin with your sweets and an entertaining mix of tunes on the playlist – from Frankie, Miles or Ella through to Flight of the Concords. We want any style, any age group to feel comfortable!
What is your background and what lead you to where you are?
I’ve travelled, studied PR and worked in the arts and not for profit industries, but throughout my life had this urge to create a café/coffee shop space. About 2 years ago, I had a click moment when I just knew it was time to give it a go. My sweetheart Dan was 100% behind the idea and has been by my side throughout the roller-coaster ride of getting Ethel up and running! He’s now rocking the coffee machine on weekends (mid week he moonlights as a panel beater!) and is having a blast creating pics in the coffees. We don’t technically agree to the school of thought on latte art, and focus on taste rather than pretty – but that being said, it is super fun to present a delicious and funky coffee!
What kind of treats and treasures can we expect to find at E for Ethel?
Ah, where to start! On the walls you’ll see handcrafted paper artwork by Delilah Devine, hand illustrated vintage fabric hoops with hand-stitched detail and Me and Amber silhouette artworks. On the shelves you can choose between Kitty Came Home jewellery or accessories, Vintage Tea Cup Bangles by Lindsay Pemberton or Bespoke Letterpress prints, cards and wrap. And oh so much more! We get new stock in almost daily, some of it sourced and some a delightful surprise to us – yesterday, we met the lovely Lisa from Fleeci Designs who added to our substantial and growing brooch collection with her felted goodness!
What is your favourite part about running your shop?
I’ve said this before, and it’s totally cliché, but we are rocking the day to day reality of living a dream. It’s totally smile worthy, especially walking through the door to start the day and being greeted by the morning sun shining in through our lace doily window display – perfectness! The fact that it comes hand-in-hand with working alongside super talented artists and craftspeople (and their beautiful works!) and good hearted local businesses makes it all the more sweet.
When you are not working, what else are you doing in Adelaide?
At the moment the work life balance is a bit skew, but as we settle into the pace of a living and breathing business things are slowly evening out again… There is always an endless lists of jobs I ‘should’ catch up on, but we try to keep things in perspective, and if I’ve had a brain fizz or need some sunshine or fresh air, we escape the shop to catch up with folks, play in the park with our nieces or explore new spaces in Adelaide (there is a great community of like-minded small businesses here!). We are loving getting to know them all, tasting their treats and becoming part of that community ourselves!
What is the design & art scene like in North Adelaide?
I wouldn’t say I am an expert on this, but to us, it feels like a very supportive, enthusiastic community of like-minded souls, united by the goal of making beautiful things and life a little bit happier, piece by piece. And, if Ethel can become a healthy part of that community – whether an outlet for selling the wares, or a home to create them in – we will be very happy indeed!!
What advice would you give to others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Follow your dreams with gusto! Life is entirely too short not to be doing something you love and there is so much support out there for small business! We recently wrote an article for The Frank Team, which gives some pointers for first time business newbies. But ultimately, we would say that the best research you can do is talk to businesses who are successfully doing something like what you want to do – you’d be amazed at people’s generosity in sharing and encouraging new business concepts!
What challenges have you faced running and setting up your own business?
Laughs! All sorts – loan applications, bank hold ups, a few false starts with finding the right property, unexpected financial requests to secure the property, frustrations at living the double life and having a house full of shop furniture. But looking back now, it’s all been worth it! Our current challenge is to convince people that we ‘chose’ our hidden space (at the back of a complex under a vine covered veranda) for its peacefulness. Some people get it. Some don’t – and that’s ok!
All the specific details
Shop 7, 116 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
Ph. 08 8367 0312
Mon to Friday – 8am to 4pm
Tuesdays – closed
Thurs – 8am to 8pm
Sat + Sun 9.30am – 4.30pm(ish)
We are testing our hours at the moment so things may vary from time to time!