Tell us about Bob Boutique.
bob is a sweet treat for your day, our little space is chocked full of happy! 80% of whats in store is Australian made and we pride ourselves on our ever changing product ranges and our limited edition and one off items by the very talented artists, crafters and designers that work with us.
Our space is filled with off beat creatures, cute knick knacks, jewellery, stationery, homewares, books and strange little gifts for the quirky or hard to buy for.
We also have a gallery which showcases cute and kooky work from Australian and international artists. At the moment we have Melbourne artist Madeleine Stamer exhibiting her amazing fushion of folk art and tattoo styles with a pinch of circus thrown in. We have new shows on every 6 weeks.
bob loves great design and our annual catalogue is a must have which we send around Australia and the world, to loyal bob customers.
What is your background and how did you start Bob Boutique?
I have been making softies since 1996 as a business and selling to boutiques in country Vic, Melbourne and Sydney and did loads of markets. It was never even a thought that entered my head to have a shop front. I liked the freedom of working for myself and not being tied down, but one day my Mum mentioned that the Hotel Shamrock (a gorgeous 1900’s historic hotel in the CBD of Bendigo) had a small shop to rent. I went to look at it and fell in love. I signed the lease that day in 2004 and bob was born. I’m so glad I did it, It is the perfect job for me.
What was your inspiration to start a shop in Bendigo?
It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even think about it. I have lived in Bendigo all my life apart from a year of overseas travel. I could never find anything in Bendigo that I liked, no clothes or gifts, homewares, It was all so samey and not really me. Seems alot of other people felt that way too but I didn’t know that until I opened the shop.
What is the design & art scene like in Bendigo?
Really great. We have alot of local artists and a few good galleries and home studios. Local artists put together the studios and galleries booklet so that visitors can go and visit artists in their home studios – www.studiosgalleriesofbendigo.com. We also have the best regional gallery in the most beautiful building.
Bendigo Art Gallery recently hosted the “Golden Age of Couture” exhibition (it was it’s only stop in Australia on its world tour from the Royal Albert Museum) so we had thousands of people from all around Australia come to visit us for the exciting 3 months that it was on. We also have the Archibald prize showing for 8 weeks starting at the end of May.
What has been your favourite part about running your own business?
The creative process of the shop I adore, I am constantly changing things around and making things fun to look at. I love packaging things so wrapping pressies and putting bows on parcels are some of my favourite jobs. I also love meeting people and the looks on their faces as they walk through our shop door.
Where do you source your stock?
I started bob with 4 labels (1 being my own) I now have over 40. And we get about 20 enquiries a week with people wanting us to stock them. I am very picky about what is in store and have a definate style. But sometimes someone will send an email or I’ll see something online and you can probably hear me screaming with joy when I find the perfect thing.
What are you always in search of?
Actually its packaging! I am always searching for the cutest wrapping paper or ribbon the perfect box for earrings or a heavy weight brown paper, it’s a never ending search.
What has been the hardest thing about running your business?
It takes so long to get a cash flow for yourself. For the first 4 years we only just stayed afloat, thanks to the financial support of my partner and family. People think because you have a shop full of pretty things that you must be making a fortune and it all must come so easily – that’s not how it happens its so much hard work on every level.
Bob Catalogue images via Indie.com.au
What is your favourite things in store at the moment?
We just had a Twitch Toy Exhibition. Handmade one off toys with a personal story. All toys come with an orphanage number and story of where they were found, their likes and dislikes and a cute photo. The stories are usually of abandonment but most have a funny or happy twist and you can take one home that suits your personality and care for it. I have always had a soft spot for toys with baggage!!
All the specific details:
17 Williamson Street,
Our trading hours change through the seasons.
Summer is usually 7 days a week 11-3 Sat, Sun, Mon and Tues and Wed and Thurs 11-5, Friday til 7pm
Winter we sometimes close on Sundays and the latest we open is 6pm.
But we are happy to offer out of hours appointments and often have people call when travelling through, we love to open the shop for them.
Updated hours are always available on the website www.bob.net.au