Happy 2015! Lets ease into the new year with this adorable and whimsical Featured Shop, Run to the River. This delightful space is run by Mandy and is located in Eltham, Melbourne. We learn more about the inspirations and day-to-day of running a store in this interview below.
Tell us about your store Run to the River and what things we can expect to discover.
Run to the River is a unique, whimsical space in bushy Eltham town, just over the Yarra River, which inspired our choice in name. You can find anything from beautiful threads, jewellery, home-wares, gifts and everything in between. The store is a reflection of my style and vision, where colour, texture and fun all play an important role. There is also a strong focus on Australian designers as we are incredibly spoilt for choice when it comes to all the imaginative talent that’s on offer. We love our diverse range of customers and the fact you can be 8 or 80 and always find something to make you smile in store.
When did you open the doors and what was the motivation?
Mum and I bought the business 12 years ago in it’s previous guise. Over time our style and interests have evolved and the shop continued to evolve with us. At the beginning of last year we decided to renovate and change the name making it’s evolution complete. We opened the doors as Run to the River in January 2014 to a fabulous response. Having the opportunity to hand pick products and merchandise them is my main motivation and keeps me loving what I do. We have such wonderful customers and I adore meeting and chatting with them while I’m in the shop. I live to create a space that makes people happy and inspires them when they walk throughout the door.
What qualities do you look out for when selecting new stock for your store?
Mum and I have to love the product. If we love it, we know our customers will love it also. There is a definite focus on Australian made and designed products. Some of our extensive range of product labels include Kindling, I Wish I Had A Little Shop, Alchemy Produx, Angus & Celeste, LoveHate, Mister Moss, Elk Accessories, Nancybird, Down to the Woods, Have you Met Miss Jones, & O Designs and many more. Our stock is always evolving as we discover wonderful new products to showcase in store. We thrive on bringing new and interesting things to the people of Eltham.
What is your favourite part of the shop?
Oh my goodness, I have many favourite parts! I love doing the window and seeing what crafty adventures I can embark on to create a window display theme. I’m inspired by the mix of old and new and I love our stationery table that delights big and little kids alike. I love the industrial clothing racks and school desk display case that my very handy Dad created for the shop. And I adore gift wrapping our customers purchases in old maps and pages from obscure books.
When you are not in your shop, what are you usually doing in Melbourne?
My husband and I spend our weekends entertaining our 2 year old daughter, cooking, visiting nurseries to get our plant fix and catching up with friends. We do spend a lot of time in and around Eltham at Edendale Farm, Petty’s Orchard and the Eltham Farmers Market. We also have some great cafe’s in Eltham like Papa Bear and Cafe Zen Den that offer great coffee and tasty food. We are also pretty lucky to have a very yummy Italian Pasticceria Pierross right near the shop that is far too close for comfort!
What challenges have you faced running and setting up your own business?
The biggest challenge has been staying relevant to what the people of Eltham want. What was once a little artist commune is now a bustling town with a unique set of wants and needs. We have great staff that make our job easier as we can focus on buying and selecting stock, merchandising the store and doing that pesky paperwork. Product selection is key though, knowing that what you buy will surprise and ultimately sell. In the end you just need to have the confidence that you know what you are doing and love what you are doing.
What are your hopes for Run to the River in the future?
To keep sharing and showcasing a wide variety of Australian designed products and in turn support the greater creative community. We would really love to have an online presence as it’s obviously a very important aspect of commerce today, especially when social media reaches people in other states and areas within Victoria. This is certainly in the pipe lines to happen in the next year. Otherwise our future is to continually surprise and delight our customers with what we offer, to always grow and move forward with new ideas, and to create a memorable local shopping experience.
Run to the River
Shop 8, Eltham Terrace
9 Dudley St Eltham, Victoria 3095
ph: 03 9431 2479
Weekdays: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – 5pm