News / Business / 5th November 2020
NEW BIZ: From online to in-store
The third instalment of the Coonabarabran Times “New Business Spotlight” features Melissa Wright from Coonabarabran’s latest gift shop, Charli & Evie. Read more about Melissa’s transition from online store to physical shopfront and the inspiration behind the brand...
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Melissa Wright (McGoldrick) and I grew up on our family property located at Purlewaugh. I left home to attend university and studied secondary teaching at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga - agriculture, primary industries and textiles are the subjects I teach.
Since moving back to Coonabarabran with my husband and oldest daughter, Charli, in 2016, I have been teaching at Baradine Central School, until recently when I gave birth to my second daughter in December 2019. I am currently on 12 months maternity leave. The shop is named after our two daughters - Charli, seven-years-old, and Evie, 11 months.
Where did the idea to open an online store originate?
I have always dreamed of running my own giftware/homewares shop. While at home this year with Evie, and COVID-19 preventing so many things from happening, I decided to start my store online with the intention to open a shop locally once things started to settle down with COVID-19 restrictions.
I felt there was a need to open a shopfront so that customers could see the products in person. Plus, we had a need in town for children’s toys, children’s clothing and other items that weren’t already available to purchase locally.
When did you officially open the shopfront?
The doors opened on 28 September and what a success it has been! We attracted some travellers, however, the majority of our customers have been locals.
We are located in the previous Rolls of Carpet building, next to Grace’s Uniforms and across from Woolworths and Crazy Sam’s. Locals and travellers are still discovering where we are and were not aware that a new shop had opened. So, if you haven’t been in, please come and see what we have available.
Tell me about the products you have in store?
Charli & Evie aims to sell products that are not already available in our town. We want to offer customers another place to shop and provide products that are not available in the larger commercial stores. We have quality wooden toys, along with jewellery and clothing from Who’s Charlie, a company located in Melbourne, giftware, homewares, ladies’ clothing, children’s shoes, and baby toys and gifts.
What has been the feedback on your new business venture?
We have been extremely well-supported by our local community. The community has thoroughly enjoyed shopping in our store and have loved purchasing items that are not already available.
Feedback has included: “This shop is just gorgeous”; “What a wonderful range of products”; “I can’t wait to buy my Christmas presents from here”; “This shop is so cute”; “I just love everything!”; and “You have some beautiful items”.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has visited the shop or purchased items, your support has been greatly appreciated.
What have been the big selling items?
Jewellery, toys, plant pots, clothes and fudge.
Were you anxious opening a business amid COVID-19?
To be honest, I was a little hesitant, as no one knows the future of COVID-19. But I decided to take the plunge and see how things go and so far I have been very impressed with the response. I felt the timing was ideal, in the lead up to Christmas too.
Any future plans for the business?
We will be bringing in a larger range of children’s clothing from sizes 0 to size 16. This will be the Animal Crackers range, Eve Girl and Eve Sister and, all going well, we will include Bullrush clothing and Hitchley and Harrow. I will always aim to have different products available for purchase and particularly enjoy finding quirky products that are hard to find.
How does it make you feel to be one of several new unique businesses opening in town?
It feels great to provide another shop to our local community. If we don’t shop locally then we prevent bringing the money back into our community...plus shopping locally supports local businesses and families.
With Christmas only weeks away, why do you think it is important to “shop local” first?
When you shop local, you are making a personal investment in your community. Shopping locally strengthens the local economy to promote future growth. Local businesses add character to our towns, create more jobs and opportunities, foster connections between local owners and employees, provide more personalised customer service and you’re encouraging innovation. So, this Christmas please shop locally.