“Mummy … who lives here?”. As the little girl’s mother and I tried not to laugh, the mother replied: “No one darling. This is a shoe shop.”
Back in January, as I was busy buying stock, I was also thinking about how to decorate my shop. I was fortunate to find the perfect premises straight away … it’s half a cottage so it has a quaint and lovely ambiance already, particularly when compared to the big, square, boring spaces I had viewed.
I have lovely landlords who are kind and helpful … especially when I rang once in a panic that I couldn’t turn off the smoke alarm after first confusing it for the security alarm. I now own a ladder so I can reach any offending smoke alarm and lots of spare batteries! The shop is also just around the corner from my home. That’s karma, I say, for spending 2.5 hours daily on the road driving to Coolangatta for five years when I worked for RACQ CareFlight helicopter rescue service.
So I knew it looked great from the outside but what to do inside? I had found some shop fit-out specialists but felt uncomfortable using their services for the strangest reason … I didn’t want my shop to look like a shop! Being a little bit of a control freak (okay, a lot!) and perhaps an even greater perfectionist, I also wanted to go by my instinct and do what I wanted to do. After all, this whole adventure was being done with heart and by gut so why change now?
My darling dad and I spent a lot of February at Bunnings. I think my record was three visits to the Cannon Hill store in one day as I couldn’t quite make up my mind about the paint colour. That’s also where I found my lush wallpaper that everyone loves and 101 other things that I seemed to need, including a fire extinguisher, power adaptors, light globes, pot plants, gravel and soil, a hose and picture hooks.
Once the inside had been cleaned, painted and wallpapered, an eclectic shopping extravaganza began over about two months. I found my shelving at Super Amart (for the front of house) and Officeworks (for my shoes out back) … both types were challenging to build (I now officially detest flat packs) and some are still a bit wonky. I found my rugs, among other bits and pieces, at Ikea … a lot of people like them, they are covered in pretty pink and blue flowers.
I found a gorgeous table at the Woolloongabba Antique Centre for an amazing price and no doubt a lot of history, and my lights (on sale …yah!) at Freedom. And I really wanted my furniture to be special so I found all my chairs for customers to enjoy as they are trying on their shoes, as well as my desk, from The French Corner at Newmarket. Ooh-la-la, do they have some beautiful things!
I was out for a run when I thought of the name, The Shoe Garden. It came from the vision I had in my head: lots of colourful, gorgeous shoes and vases of fresh flowers everywhere so the name made perfect sense. I have always had flowers on my desk at work and buy flowers every week for home. I think I got that from my mum who does the same.
Once upon a time, I used to frequently not be able to sleep at night as I fretted about something or other at work. In April I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited about the pending opening of The Shoe Garden … my home away from home!
Until next time, Carol