I love to discover a gorgeous boutique homewares store in my neighbourhood. In Bayside Melbourne, Hamish & Grace Homewares is our local gem located just off the iconic Church Street, Brighton. Filled to the brim with an assortment of quality homewares, lighting, jewellery and art for your home. The moment you walk into the store you are captivated by colour and texture!
What I love about this store is the variety of homewares and gifts available. Made with love and by authentic artisans, you can see and feel the quality of products on offer. And there is so much to see! Layers upon layers of goodness is available at your fingertips. The owner, Madeleine Randall is very talented in harmoniously curating beautiful collections by colour and themes.
As part of this interview, I got the opportunity to discuss with Madeleine, the recent opening of her second boutique store.
Congratulations on the opening of your second store in Black Rock! Please share with us what we can find in this store and how it differs from your Brighton one.
While they are essentially the same store, they each possess their own unique style. In some ways, my collection at Brighton is more bohemian and eclectic which works well given the style of the building it occupies. Black Rock however, has a lighter, more Scandinavian feel to it and offers home decor products that compliment that the style of properties in the area.
You've chosen to stay and open a second store in Bayside. Why have you decided to remain within Bayside?
I love Bayside; my family has been in the area for generations. It’s been both exciting and terrifying opening another store in Black Rock (which is referred to as Hamish & Grace #2!). It’s now been two months since it opened and so far the response has been amazing.
I had been looking to open a second store for quite some time but I just couldn’t seem to find the right location. When I moved to Beaumaris, I used to drive by this cute vacant shop on Balcombe Rd in Black Rock and imagined what I could do with it. The shop didn’t take too long after that to become a reality!
What are you loving in your stores at the moment?
Our products often sell quickly so the stores can have a very different look from one week to the next. We have a few staples like the beautiful handmade ‘Mud' range of ceramics. Also, local artist Fiona Slater’s Art Words have also proved to be a big hit at the Black Rock store.
How do you source and find the items to sell in your store?
I’m a gentle 'hunter and collector' and I try not to hurt any living thing in my search for unique pieces. Show me a good market and I will always find treasures; I adore preowned (& preloved) pieces of furniture because they are usually designed so well and they are so beautiful and different. I try to apply this mindset when buying for my stores - pieces that will be well used and loved that are unique and yet still practical. I also try to source products that have an ethical background. I think it’s really important as buyers and consumers that we try to keep informed about the origin of a product, and knowing that it has been ethically and fairly sourced (where possible).
Many of my products are sourced from Australian small businesses and I have a wonderful network of inspired suppliers making, designing and importing wonderful products. For example, our gorgeous cashmere ponchos are imported by a beautiful young Indian and Australian couple and they are all fair trade. I feel that with many of my suppliers we are on a similar journey which makes it all the more worthwhile to do business with them. I’m also in awe of some of the entrepreneurial young mums who have started amazing businesses from home!
What influences and inspires you?
My imagination works overtime and when I find 10 chairs, I can see the possibility for their new lives. I often have pieces of furniture sitting around at home ready for upholstering, with my partner and son patiently stepping around my newest projects at home!
I am also quietly addicted to nighttime 'iPad browsing', especially on Pinterest where I’m always adding to my boards.
Colour is very prominent in your your stores.
Merchandising with lots of colour can be tricky but when we get it right, the feel is great and you can tell by the reaction of the customers to the windows of the store each time we change it around.
Did you always know you wanted to start your own business and be creative? Was this your plan as a child?
I was a radio presenter for many years (prior to Hamish & Grace Homewares); I worked for the ABC for 25 years (mainly in NSW). When I returned to Melbourne, I had to reignite my passion for a change in career. And the rest is history. The idea for the shop really stemmed from having a space that I would love to spend time in, that would also have amazing quality products and that would have a very warm and inviting reception.
I enjoy the excitement and challenges of running a small business; there are always possibilities to go further.
What is your personal style? What is your fashion sense?
I think the words ‘ eclectic, upbeat & colourful’ describe my style well.
Thank you to Madeleine and her team for sharing their story with us!
You can visit Hamish & Grace Homewares stores at:
29 Carpenter Street, Brighton VIC 3186; and
600 Balcombe Road, Black Rock VIC 3193
All images kindly provided by Madeleine.