MEDIA RELEASE - Melbournalia: Permanently Present and Open for Business - Dec 2013 December 17 2013, 0 Comments

After eight pop-ups over the past two years, Melbournalia has firmly planted itself at the top end of Bourke Street as a permanent retail store that provides a very local shopping experience.

 

Since opening in November, the flagship Melbournalia store in the Bourke Hill precinct has attracted thousands of locals and visitors keen to see what the creative community of Melbourne have to offer. Melbournalia now represents over 50 local designers, makers and small manufacturers, with an ever-expanding range of locally produced and themed gifts and souvenirs.

 

After testing the retail waters with several pop-up stores in various parts of the CBD since 2011, Melbournalia received a small business start up grant from the City of Melbourne earlier this year - a boost which helped in the transition to 

permanent retail. And so far, it seems to be paying off.

 

“The pre-Christmas sales have been really encouraging, as has the response from locals and visitors alike. There’s a real sense of excitement, particularly among our new friends and neighbours on Bourke Hill” says Melbournalia’s Marketing Manager and resident shop man, Dale Campisi.

 

The choice of the Bourke Hill precinct as a permanent home wasn’t the first, but after much reconnaissance and many observational coffees in nearby cafes it soon started to feel like a great place to set up shop. 

 

“It’’s a great precinct with great shops and eateries and a real neighbourhood feel. We also saw a lot of tourist movement from the many nearby hotels, and it’s very easy to reach via public transport”, Campisi said.

 

The site of a former hairdresser sits prominently on the corner of Bourke and Liverpool Streets, with great exposure via a 20 metre wall of glass that runs down the side street and makes the shop appear like a jewellery box when illuminated at night. It’s the perfect showcase for the shop design by local architect Nick Williams and furniture by interior designer Nick Visser. A nature strip under the window is now home to a range of plant species indigenous to Melbourne.

 

Like the shop itself, the Melbournalia product range has positively grown in the two years since the very first pop up in a back lane off Franklin Street. Many suppliers have grown, too - offering an increasing selection of locally-made and Melbourne-themed products. One case in point is Able and Game, whose hand drawn cards using suburban train-station names as sweet and witty greetings have proven so popular that they now sell calendars, tea towels and a mind-boggling range of card designs. They’ve been a favourite at Melbournalia since day one.

 

The Melbournalia product offering now includes everything from honey made by inner city rooftop bees to crayons from Coburg and shoelaces from East Malvern. Even the everyday can make a souvenir, it seems, and locals love knowing that what they buy didn’t travel far to get there.

 

Dale and Campisi and his partner Michael Brady, both directors of the company - which also includes retail stalwarts Jenny Brown and Alasdair MacKinnon - even have their own products in-store, including Campisi’s Melbourne Precincts guidebook and Brady’s new edition of the local family classic Cole’s Funny Little Picture Book (both by local publisher Hardie Grant). Melbournalia also sells books from Campisi and Brady’s boutique publishing house Arcade, which focuses on colourful characters and stories from Melbourne’s past. Even head shop assistant Hollie M Kelley is a supplier to the store, with her Dusty Caravan range of locally made feathered jewellery and vintage glass earrings. It’s safe to say that the entire Melbournalia team has a genuine love for and deep connection with the city their business is named after, and are all too happy to share their passion through products and good old-fashioned customer service.

 

Product buyer Jenny Brown says, “We only stock locally designed products and favour local manufacturing. We seek products that tell stories about Melbourne with authenticity, wit and heart”. 

 

And with 2014 just around the corner, Melbournalia is ready for a busy tourist season that sees cricket and tennis fans, festival goers and northern winter escapists flock to the city in its hottest season.