FK chats to Annie and Shell from their lovely Mildura based shop, Fine and Sunny.
Tell us about your store Fine & Sunny and what things we can expect to discover?
To find Fine & Sunny, just follow the floral bunting, potted succulents and the aroma of coffee and sweet treats to find a little nook in the heart of Mildura, which provides a creative retreat that stimulates the senses…
What are your backgrounds and what led you to where you are today?
We are Annie and Shell, sisters from country NSW. We have both moved to Mildura at different times in our lives. Annie’s background is in hospitality and Shell in administration. We have always loved design, craft, fashion and shopping! We felt that Mildura was missing the kind of stores we love and after many discussions over magazines and cups of tea we decided to open our own store. Despite our lack of experience in retail and owning a small business we are still here and growing after 15 months.
What kind of treats and treasures can we expect to find at Fine & Sunny?
We stock an eclectic mix, focusing mainly on Australian designed and made products. We have jewellery and sandals and highly detailed maps, prints and crafty books and pretty wall decals, lamps and pillowcases and brown paper packages, tied up with string – these are a few of our favourite things! But there is heaps more that we couldn’t fit into the theme of a Sound of Music song!
We have also recently added a café corner to the shop that is perfect for having a cuppa and getting your craft on, we love seeing new friendships made after meeting at our communal table. We serve up organic fair trade coffee and Scullery Made Teas, Annie makes the home style sweet treats which must have one or more of the following ingredients to fit our requirements – butter, sugar, chocolate or condensed milk!
What do you love about running your shop?
We have met so many fantastic people in our shop, lovely customers make our day, we never tire of hearing that people love our shop as much as we do. It is fantastic to be surrounded by beautiful things and we wish we could take it all home with us, it is still so exciting to open up parcels of new stock. We have also had the opportunity of meeting and dealing with the stockists and often the designer and maker of our beautiful products.
What do you look for in the products you stock?
To start off, we have to love the product – we have had a few things in before that we haven’t loved so much and we just could not sell it! We especially love Australian designed and made goods and so do our customers. We love colour, quirky art and designs, quality workmanship, beautiful screen printed fabrics, not so perfect handmade ceramics and soaps formed by human hands.
What things can you see and do in Mildura?
You could visit The Farmers Market and see the fabulous local produce, spend a weekend on a houseboat on the Murray River and go through Lock 11, explore the Sunraysia area by air in a hot air balloon and then have a quick dip in the Wave pool. Walk around town and admire the art at The Art Vault, take a drive to Wentworth to visit Artback café and gallery and end the day with an indulgent meal at Stefano’s Cellar Restaurant.
What advice would you give to others starting out in a shop?
Know what you are getting into – you may not draw a wage for a long time or be an overnight success. You will be obsessed with your shop and unless you have staff, you won’t have much time for anything else! Go to any small business workshops that are available, you will always learn something. Be prepared for critics and learn that being called different is not a bad thing. Have a go, it’s a challenge to own your own shop but the rewards are worth it.
What were some of the highlights of 2011 and what are you looking forward to in 2012?
Our highlights in no particular order are: Celebrating Fine & Sunny’s 1st birthday, a big deal for small businesses! Growing friendships with our lovely customers and meeting so many people who visit Mildura who have discovered our shop and have since returned to see us again! Changing and growing the shop with our café corner. Hosting crochet classes for curious crafters and sharing the love of craft with others. Raising money for local charity Sunraysia Cancer Resources through World Wide Knit in Public Day. In 2012 we are looking forward to being more creative, making more stock for the shop ourselves, holding more craft classes and cooking lots of yummy treats for our café corner. We also look forward to finding more Australian designers and makers and visiting Adelaide and Melbourne for markets, such as the wonderful Finders Keepers.
All the specific details
Shop 7 141 Eighth Street
Mildura Victoria 3500
Ph. 03 5022 0007
Mon – Fri 9.30am – 5pm
Sat 9.30am – 3pm