More than just fashion

DEBBIE Maree Carvolth launched her own eponymous fashion boutique this week – something she never thought would happen.

Mrs Carvolth said all the pieces fell into place when her husband stumbled on the perfect location at 60th Monaro Street.

‘‘The shop has been vacant since 2009, my husband passed it and liked the art deco style,’’ she said.

‘‘He thought it would make a great ladies’ fashion shop.

‘‘It has an old-worldly feel.’’

The Carvolths have many years of experience running a small, family business but this is their first foray into fashion retail.

‘‘We have a realistic idea of how a business should run and the expectations within that,’’ Mrs Carvolth said.

The family has been working day and night for five weeks to transform the shop from a hairdressing studio into a beautiful boutique.

‘‘[The shop] hadn’t had much work so we had to style and fit out the shop,’’ she said. ‘‘Complete the electrical fittings, paint the shop, construct the change rooms, office and stockroom areas and the floor coverings had to be done.’’

Mrs Carvolth travelled to Sydney to source suppliers and said her point of difference was stocking some items that had been sewn in Australia, a section of the industry that is almost extinct.

‘‘I’ll be selling ladies’ fashion; from casual wear through to after-five formal wear as well as accessories and shoes,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m trying to cater for women of all sizes and choose unique pieces that are different from regular chain stores.

‘‘I want to offer something with a good price point and with quality attached.’’

Customer feedback would be important to the growth of the business, Mrs Carvolth said.

‘‘With retail you’re feeling, seeing and you have to listen to what people want and provide that need,’’ she said.

‘‘Sourcing suppliers is very important to find a product that works.’’

With online shopping on the rise, Mrs Carvolth said good old customer service would get people through the door and the completion of the Crawford Street upgrade would also boost the town’s CBD.

‘‘I’m hoping Queanbeyan and surrounding communities will embrace the new boutique. I hope it will successfully bring a new element to the community. To be able to walk down Monaro Street with a coffee on pleasant Saturday afternoon after sport,’’ she said.

‘‘I want to provide one-on-one service ... to be a warm friendly face and give advice if needed and for people to know I could be able to help them.’’

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