Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Sale You Won’t Sail Past

 With Australian retailers seemingly always on sale, it seems windows are continually filled with bad red and white banners trying to drive customers in store for discounts.

Fashion boutique, Fillys Stable in Albert Park have not used the end of season clearance period as an excuse for poor VM. Instead they created this incredible window with stuffed fabric letters, flowers and faux hedging to signal the sale in store. The only hint of red being a few roses… well done!

IMG_0973 IMG_0974

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Somedays, Somewhere, Someplace, Sometimes

You could be forgiven for thinking I’m wistfully daydreaming with a title like that. Someday, Somewhere, Someplace and Sometimes are actually very real and tangible. They’re a great example of a boutique business integrated with its local community and working in collaboration with its designers and suppliers whilst having global reach.

Somewhere is a retail / gallery space that lies somewhat hidden inside the Royal Arcade building on Little Collins Street. The Swedish feel of the space with its polished concrete floors, minimal wooden fixtures and clean white lines is no mere coincidence. “Nordic by nature”, the store stocks a mix of garments from local and international emerging and established designers including Dr. Denim, Cheap Monday, Tiger of Sweden, Handsom and Melissa.

Someday is Somewhere’s sister store in Sydney’s Surry Hills. Whilst it may be over 1,000km away, the ethos remains the same - “to sell nice things, in a nice space, to nice people.” What’s nice about this retailer is that they actually don’t feel like a retailer at all. More like a bunch of creative types who happen to sell all the beautifully designed pieces they’ve curated from around the globe.

Someplace makes it possible for you to shop these stores even if you are far far away from Melbourne or Sydney. Their blog features everything you need to know about all the new arrivals you’ll want to buy. You can share these posts with your friends and get their feedback before making a purchase. Did I mention they also do free shipping within Australia!


Sometimes is a 52 page journal filled with conversations and creative submissions from prominent local and international designers, artists and musicians. The publication is a reflection of their brand, “From the outset of this project, we were emphatic that the content not only reflect our own personality but also the broad range of opinions and styles we encounter through the course of our business. Using fashion as our springboard, we conducted a number of interviews with local and international designers to feature in the first edition. Running alongside the interviews is a range of creative contributions from, artists, musicians, writers and thinkers.”

The book is available from Somewhere, Someday and Someplace.

I love finding retailers that find Someway to connect each of their touch-points in such a unique fashion.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fits Me

Whilst I do shop online I tend to steer clear of buying clothes unless I’ve snuck into a store to try them on first. I really don’t want to go through the hassle of having to exchange an item unnecessarily and with sizing standards a mess, there’s a very annoying possibility I’ll order the wrong size.

That could all be about to end if online retailers adopt, a robotic mannequin that shows how web bought clothes fit your unique figure.

The male mannequin was introduced in 2010 by the Estonian start-up and has about 30 different plates that can shift around to broaden its shoulders, puff out chiselled pecs or depict the not so flattering beer belly. The shifting plates can be adjusted to create about 2,000 different shape permutations.

Retailers signing up with send their garments off the company, where each item is draped over the robot figure. The robot then cycles through every permutation as a camera snaps and logs images of each body shape. Customers simply enter their measurements into the retailer’s site and the most appropriate photograph of the item, mimicking their body shape will be displayed.

"Using proprietary FitBot technology, robots can conform to over 85% of the female individuals that shop online today," says Dr. Maarja Kruusmaa, professor of biorobotics at Tallinn Technical University and co-developer of the technology. “By entering a few measurements into the model, customers can visualize how different sizes of garments compliment their unique shape. has already collected information from well over 100,000 male end users, and the data confirms what many intrinsically observe; over half of the customers chose a size that is different than the traditional size chart would recommend.”

London shirtmaker Hawes & Curtis has already installed the technology onto their online store. "By letting customers use's superior visualisation offerings, our sales to new customers increased by 57 percent, and we have doubled the sales to international customers," said Antony Comyns, head of ecommerce at Hawes & Curtis. “We believe providing this service to online customers is a requirement for any quality fashion retailer. We are thrilled about the launch of the FitBot mannequin for our women’s apparel and being able to offer our female consumers the same valuable service.”

Monday, June 6, 2011

Annie’s Provedore

After celebrating a family member’s 40th rather heavily on Saturday night down in Barwon Heads, I had quite the craving for an old fashioned, home-style pie the following day and had just the place in mind. I’d spotted Annie’s Provedore in Hitchcock Avenue the previous evening. Along with the name, the wooden framed full height windows, rustic setting inside and chalk boards out on the footpath instilled confidence that this was the place to head for such indulgence.

Sure enough they had the beef and porter pie my belly desired and as I sat slowly working my way through the plate and looked around, I was impressed with the effort that had gone into the surrounds. This grocery /licensed cafe / homewares store had it nailed. Timber shelves running along one side were stocked with a mix of local and imported ingredients in beautiful packaging. Fresh fruit and vege, even eggs sold individually ($0.50 each)  were neatly lined up. Along the other side and around the back were display cases filled with delicious morsels like duck terrine, antipasto plates and an impressive selection of continental meats. Above these hung large vintage green half bay lights suspended from the ceiling. Above the display cases dried goods such as crackers and pastas were cleverly hung using meat hooks.

The front of the store was full of recycled wooden benches and tables for customers. The fantastic medley of woven baskets, barrels and aluminium tubs hanging overhead brought the height of the ceiling down in this area, creating more intimacy and cosiness amongst diners. Dotted around the walls above us were more chalkboards with messages such as “We love Istra Pork, a great selection of local free range pork products”, encouraging customers to head back to the counter after they’d finished their meal to select something to take away with them. 

IMG_0919IMG_0918   IMG_0917 IMG_0916  IMG_0914 IMG_0913 IMG_0910 IMG_0912

The experience was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. The old world charm of Annie’s made me comfortable and content, as though they were a grocer that had filled the larders of the town’s grandmothers for a lifetime, rather than just the six years they’d actually been in business.