Woman’s purrfect obsession leads to cat-themed store for CBD
ATTENTION CAT lovers: this is for you.
A gift and homewares store stocking all things cat themed is coming to Rockhampton.
The Cat's Meow Gifts is the brainchild of Tracey Austin, with a lot of inspiration from her husband Richard.
The store will sell all sorts of cat related gifts from cushion covers, rugs, t-shirts, magnets, tableware, jewellery, children's toys, stationery, homeware, items, garden, wall art, bags and purses.
Anything and everything Tracey can find that is cat themed will be in the Denham St store.
The store, which is located next door to Birdies Espresso, is under construction.
Tracey said the Art Deco building offered a blank canvas.
The shop has been in the works for the better part of the past six months.
Tracey was previously a police officer for 15 years, with the past five years in Rockhampton as a forensics officer.
Feeling like she needed a change and looking to slow down, Tracey was exploring her options when her husband suggested opening the cat themed store.
Tracey is well known for her love and passion for cats and the store would be a way to share her obsession with other like-minded people.
While she hesitated at first to the idea, it didn't take her long to say yes.
"I had a secure, well-paying job and I was doing exactly what I always wanted to do and that was forensics," she said.
'It took me a week to come around to it, after that I said 'let's just do it and take that leap of faith'."
Since March, Tracey has been doing marketing, research and getting a website together while her husband has been helping with the shop fit-out.
They plan to open on August 18 with a grand opening on Saturday August 22.
Tracey joined the Queensland Police Service when she was 34, after being a hairdresser for many years.
She did have her own salon for seven years and learnt a bit about business that way, but developing this store has been completely different.
"Retail is a little bit different, learning about social media, learning about building a website so I can go online," Tracey said.
She has been teaching herself about online businesses and e-commerce through reading blogs, watching YouTube and getting advice.
There has also been the merchandising side, working with wholesalers and understanding that process, along with doing stocktake.
"It has been a very steep learning curve, I am doing something seven days a week," she said.
"It has been absolutely non-stop but has been so enjoyable and rewarding, I am achieving things I never thought I would."
Tracey has had a love for cats since she was a young girl growing up on acreage at Morayfield.
She adores everything about the animal and is enthralled by their nature.
Even now, she owns a number of cats and is always rescuing more.
"They are smart, they are creative, I like how they just sit back and watch what is going on," Tracey said.
"Once you understand how to read their body language and their little nuances, they are just amazing and they speak to you just the way their tail or their ears sit.
"Every cat is very much an individual, I could sit there and watch them for hours."
You will be sure to see a real cat at the store too as shop cat Cleo will join Tracey each day.