In today’s Swish Insider issue, we visit our bridgehead in Victoria.
They say “two is better than one”, therefore for the very first time in The Swish Insider, we have the chance to chat with both Elizabeth and Anita who together for years have run the Swish store in Malvern, just 8 km outside of Melbourne’s CBD.
Hello ladies, can you please introduce yourself to our readers? Please tell us a couple of words about you, we’d like to know more about members of the Swish Team.
My journey in fashion began in my 20s after University where I studied at RMIT. A fresh-faced girl working in the Rag Trade in Wholesale Sales in Collingwood, I began in an Admin role and worked my way up to Production Planner for a large volume importer in Carlton. I took a career break to raise my children in 2005. Swish was my first job after my youngest started school. My love of retail was formed on a working holiday in the UK in 2000 when I worked for a small independent retailer in Primrose Hill, London.
15 years in Superannuation and Funds Management, then a complete change of pace as a Beauty Therapist for a couple of years. After my two boys were at school I started working in retail, I enjoy styling outfits for our customers and take pride in the job I do at Swish.
How long have you been working in the Malvern Swish store?
Elizabeth, since Swish Malvern opened in May 2015 so just over 4 years.
Anita since March 2016 so 3 1/2 years.
Do you mind telling us how it all started? How did you and Anita (Carmody, founder and owner of Swish) meet?
We both applied for casual retail vacancies advertised on Swish’s Facebook and the roles have grown from here. As busy working Mums, Swish is very flexible and has a nurturing culture and great work-lifestyle balance. Elizabeth is Store Manager looking after rosters, training and reporting. Anita is 2IC and does a wonderful job with all our Retail Merchandising and Window Displays. We job share very successfully.
Who are your customers and what do you like the most about them? Are they mostly from Malvern or do they come from other cities as well?
At Swish Malvern, and as the only Victorian store, our customers come from all over Metro Melbourne, Regional Victoria and also from Interstate. Our most effective impact and Swish Malvern’s point of difference is that we have a plus sized range that is full of colour and vibrant prints as well as everyday neutrals and that we are good quality, majority Australian Made. We have classic cuts and flattering shapes for curvy figures. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer experience and service - a friendly hello, and a ‘nothing’s too difficult’ outlook. The great thing about running a small boutique is being able to build relationships with our customers, getting to know them on a first name basis and offering a chat as well as they browse. We love working for Anita Carmody and her team of ‘Swishettes’. Being part of a small businesses fashion journey is so rewarding we love what we do, having a voice and influence on creating wardrobes and dressing our lovely ladies in a beautiful product, not to mention the wonderful connections that we build with the community.
The biggest challenge we face as retailers is to keep growing our brick and mortar transactions.
Imagine a perfect day in Malvern… how would you spend it? Would you recommend any hidden gems, known only to a local?
Malvern is a leafy inner south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, 8 km south-east of the CBD. There are several Victorian parks and gardens in Malvern, including Malvern Gardens, in Spring Road. There are many heritage buildings and beautiful residential and period homes. In summer the Harold Holt Pool is the place to be.
During the winter The Malvern Hotel next to the open fire for dinner and drinks. For coffee with friends try Cafe Claremont or Coin Laundry.
The main shopping attractions are Malvern Central and Glenferrie Road housing a wide variety of restaurants, shops and boutiques. Just around the corner, we love window shopping down High Street, Armadale where there are lots of art galleries, cafes, bridal shops, homewares, hairdressers and people watching. Our favourite spots near Swish are Sagra (Italian restaurant), Crate Expectations (Gifts) and Giorgio’s a Malvern eatery establishment, family-friendly restaurant, with something for everyone.
Once you lock the door of the store, what do you do after work? Are you more of an outdoorsy type or do you prefer to stay in?
We enjoy spending days off with family and friends. We love going to the Spring Racing Carnival, cooking and going away to family beach houses on the Mornington Peninsula and Great Ocean Road respectively, holidays to Bali or Noosa and watching our children play sport. We both volunteer - helping out at sports clubs, with school fundraising and parent groups.
The last question simply has got to be asked: what are your favourite pieces from the Swish Fashion store?