Just before the lovely reopening of Smoke & Mirrors Boutique, we spoke to co-owner Maddy about business, Toowoomba and what the future holds. The power duo have revamped the Boutique which includes some brand new facilities and features, accommodating to Mums and families.
So tell us a bit about Maddy and Amy?
We’re a Mother/Daughter duo originally from Brisbane and Ipswich. We moved to Toowoomba and bought the business just over a year ago, so Mum (Amy) could be closer to her Mother. We’re absolute best friends; we do everything together, there’s no secrets and we’re really good business partners because we’ve got skills in different areas.
Since the reopening of Smoke & Mirrors after the flooding damage, how are you both feeling now?
We’re ecstatic! We’ve got a beautiful new shop, fantastic new facilities and new labels coming. It really feels like our space now, we’ve really put our mark on it and we hope that the women of Toowoomba can notice a difference now when they drive past and see that it’s got a completely different feel and vibe to it. We feel that it’s a lot more welcoming.
And tell me about the new family friendly features in the shop?
So Mum’s in the store most of the time (I’m usually in Brisbane doing all the BTS stuff) and she see’s a lot of young mothers and families through here so it was really important to us, that we had you all in mind when we redid the shop. We have a fun little toy box and even a change table! It’s a much larger, family friendly changeroom that can fit a pram in it or you take the kids in with you. We have a really big, comfy chair so if you’re in the CBD and need to breastfeed please come on in; we’re aware there’s not many facilities for parents in the CBD so that’s what we’re here for. We want to be an open door for people and know that we’re not just a shop, we want to be your friends as well and we hope people can see that and feel that when they come in.
So you’ve got even more stock coming! What’s can we expect to see in to Smoke & Mirrors in the next few months?
Yes lots more stock! In July we’ve got an incredible amount of stock coming from Tallulah, Auguste, Lumier, Paduchas, Cameo and Keepsake. We’ve got shoes coming in from Hael & Jax and gowns from Bariano. Moving into August we’ve got another big month of deliveries with more shoes and gowns arriving and I’m personally really excited for the Paduchas drop because it is LOVELY!
I understand you try to be as size inclusive as possible, can you tell me a bit more about this?
Absolutely! Our average size range is 6-14 (Mos Mosh, Paduchas, Bariano, Tallulah, Kelsey Collective) and one of our long standing labels (which I can’t announce yet), will be offering 16’s for the very first time from October onwards and we are VERY excited to be offering sizes 16 and 18. When a size 16 or 18 is available and we believe it will flatter, we will order it. Brands and designers are finally starting to listen and starting to cater for the average Australian woman.
What would you like to see for Toowoomba in the next 12 months – 5 years?
Well we’re a Toowoomba CBD business, so we would love to see the revival of the CBD. We’d like to see that all year round and not just during The Carnival Of Flowers because whilst it does drive a lot of tourism to our city, we live here all year round. It’s also really important that small businesses support other small businesses and we really try to preach that. Perhaps look on line for the stockist before heading to a big chain store and remember that small business owners do a little dance when you buy something from them. It’s our livelihood and we do try to give back in other ways when we can.
What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to open a business?
- Really criticise the skills that you’ve got and the areas that you’ll need to learn. When we bought this business, there were so many hats we had to wear that people might not even knows about- retail assistant, store manager, branding strategist, book keeper and social media manager etc. Very few people have all those skills to start with and outsourcing isn’t always feasible for a lot of small businesses, so you might have to learn.
- Reach out to your community. Everybody is here to support you and the beautiful thing about Toowoomba especially…is that even if you’re in the same industry as somebody, they’re not there to watch you fail- they want to support you. We see (and have received) so much support from the other boutiques in Toowoomba and I hope they feel we provide the same level of support back to them. It’s not a competition; everyone serves a different market so reach out to your community and speak to them.
- Do what you love, because if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. You’ve got to be passionate about what you do and yes everyone has days when they wake up in the morning and they don’t want to go to work or put on a face of makeup, so go back and reach out into your community to support you.
Amy and Maddy are just fabulous and they almost feel like family now! The store looks fantastic, the stock is stunning and the family friendly facilities are a life saver. These wonderful women are kind, supportive, generous and are always up for a chat so head on down to say hello and remember that the kids are always welcome; everyone is!