New handmade store receives warm welcome from Rocky
AS SOON as you step into Our Shop, the smell of scented candles and freshly cut flowers, the open-lit floors and the rustic country charm engulf you. It doesn't feel like a store, it feels like a home.
Lining the walls are vibrant pops of art, as well as timber creations, intricate jewellery designs, furniture, natural skincare products, candles, crochet creations and children's items.
A denim jacket emblazoned with the face of famous art icon Frida Kahlo envelops the shoulder of a mannequin, modelling a one-of-a-kind red linen dress made by one of the handmade store's 39 stockists.
Owners Debra Farquhar and Liz Scott welcomed this Morning Bulletin journalist to the Allenstown store, on the corner of William and Canning Sts, with warm smiles.
The name says it all: Our Shop, not their shop. It's a shop providing a platform for talented stockists from all over Central Queensland with a place to sell and showcase their creations.
For some stockists, Ms Farquhar said, it was their very first time having their handmade creations viewed publicly, let alone sold.
"We opened on May 1 and the response from the public has been outstanding,” Ms Farquhar said.
"They just love this shop and we want to keep the momentum going and provide a service that wasn't available with all these lovely handmade products.”
The pair met while working in back-to-back stalls at local markets. Once they began talking, they realised they were also back-to-back neighbours as well.
From there, Ms Farquhar (who owns Silkwood Designs and creates leather purses, wallets, diaries and logbooks for truckies) and Ms Scott (who owns Cherish Jewellery Designs and creates gemstone jewellery) decided to team up and sell their products in a more permanent location.
It was then that a number of stranded stockists came knocking, looking for somewhere else to go after the devastating bankruptcy of Made in CQ, which left them almost $20,000 out of pocket.
"We would like to say how sorry we are at Our Shop that such an unfortunate incident happened and that these stockists didn't get paid,” Ms Farquhar said.
"We can guarantee that's not going to happen at our shop. We have solicitors and accounts who handle the financial and legal side and we guarantee we will do this the right way.
"The way Made in CQ was run, is not our business profile. We had nothing to do with their store.
"The stockists came to us. We were originally going to open with just us but we expanded with everyone wanting to come in and we appreciate these people trusting us to look after their stock.”
Despite being only nine weeks in business, Our Shop is already thriving, with customers ranging from 10-year-old girls to 80-year-old men and prices in the $3 to $1500 bracket.
"People are always amazed at the variety. There's something for everyone,” Ms Scott said.
"It's unbelievable to showcase what's out there and potentially what more is out there is an exciting thing.
"The talent in CQ is incredible. A majority of our stockists are from Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Gracemere and surrounding areas, but there are also some from Bundaberg, Gladstone, Hervey Bay and Duaringa.
"We do like something that's a bit different and unusual sometimes but as long as it's quality and it's handmade, that's the most important thing,” Ms Scott said.
Shelby Nuell is one of the 39 stockists who have teamed up with Our Shop.
Ms Nuell is the creative force and owner behind Shesha Country, a handmade clay, fabric, acrylic and wood jewellery business.
"I've always been pretty creative. I was making cakes and other things when I got into jewellery and it expanded from there,” she said.
"I mainly do earrings but I also do necklaces, which have really taken off in the last 12-18 months.
"Bold brights are standing out but I also have customers who love neutral stuff, so I even it out when it comes to colours. There is something for everyone and anyone can wear them.”
Ms Nuell is one of many who are enchanted by the store every visit.
"I love it here. Every time I walk in, I always say how beautiful the space is and I never walk out empty handed,” she said.
"There are so many beautiful products from amazing, talented people in the area and it's nice to be a part of it.
"I'm very proud of it and the ladies and what they've done. It's brilliant.”
- Where: 250 William St, Allenstown.
- When: 9.30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 9.30am-3pm Saturday.
- To become a stockist at Our Shop, contact the store on 0466 110 387.
- Our Shop also offers free gift wrapping in store.