Nelson Bay doesn’t take any selling. A seaside town that has all your summer sun and surf offerings, but is also an amazing winter destination for whale watching? It’s doing okay. Add to that a solid selection of food and retail options and you can consider our ears pricked up. We made the journey for all of these reasons and more and here, we’re sharing our favourite shopping haunt. It’s a place that had our hearts from far across the street. The black umbrellas and whitewash walls gave a Rodeo Drive feel and the name begged questions. So, we asked them and owner, Kelly Wallis graciously gave us the answers…
Crows Nest Home Traders. Can you please tell us more about the name?
I inherited the name when I took over the business in January 2018. The original owner moved up here from country Victoria and wanted a name associated with being a coastal area. So Crows Nest was named after the Crows Nest of a ship. She didn’t know about Crows Nest being a suburb of Sydney. I’m from Sydney originally and had thought I would eventually change the name, however it creates a lot of conversation with locals and tourists so I think I might keep it. She sold the business as the family are returning to Victoria later this year.
When did the store open and what made you decide to start the business?
The store opened in mid-2015 by the original owner. For me, buying the business was very spontaneous but something on my bucket list. I moved to Port Stephens 2 1/2 years ago and had always wanted my own small business. However, it didn’t feel like the right time then and I continued with teaching. I’m an Early Childhood Teacher and have been in education for 27years. One afternoon after work I was going to the movies in Nelson Bay, crossed the road and saw a sign in the window that the shop was for sale, and went inside to take a look. Within 24 hoursI’d received financial reports on the business, met with an accountant and the following day gave notice at my workplace.
What can customers find in your store?
Customers are a combination of tourists and locals. They are a mix of age groups from mid-twenties to retirees. Regardless of the age, our customers want to look great and fehttps://www.crowsnestht.com.au/store/c16/Status_Anxiety.html
el great. We go for quality and uniqueness, making sure our range is different to other boutiques. We sell a range of items including fashion, homewares, accessories, handbags, footwear, jewellery, small pieces of furniture, hand creams & candles etc. Clothing is all high-quality labels from Australian designers with a range of price points and styles. Fashion Labels include Alessi, Torju, Ella and Sunday, Wite, Elm, Living Doll, Solito. Where possible, I like to have natural fabrics in the clothing like cottons and linens. I believe strongly in social responsibility so lean towards suppliers committed to sustainable and ethical/fair trade practices (an example is Torju). I Like using Australian Brands for footwear and we have just been approved as a Diana Ferrari Stockist. We also stock Hael & Jax. I like to support new Australian designers such as Ella & Sunday and our new jewellery brand Iskia designs. In our bag and purse range, we have Status Anxiety which is an Australian label that make high quality but classic looking leather goods, and we also stock Redletter Club which has a range of vegan leather purses and bags- another supplier committed to ethical & sustainable practices. We also sell the on-trend Prene range of bags. Urban Rituelle (Aussie brand) is really popular and makes a range of organic hand creams, candles, diffusers, soaps etc. We stock an eclectic range of homewares and giftware from cushions to rugs to uashmama baskets. I also have some stunning furniture items on consignment from a local artist/designer called Chalk and Willow as I like to support other small businesses. We have a few overseas labels, my favourite are our Fair Trade Roll on bracelets handmade in Nepal. We also sell Artists Label scarves which are individually designed scarves from international artists- each scarf has its own story.
Who are your customers?
Tourists come in more for clothing & handbags and for unique giftware. They love that our clothing and products are great quality and on trend and locals come in for a wide range of items. What tourists and locals both demand though is quality and friendly customer service and that’s exactly what they get.
Do you sell online?
The majority of our in-store range is also online. We offer free delivery Australia wide for orders over $100, the website is easy to navigate and also includes sale items.
How do you enjoy doing business in your local community where your customer can be your neighbour?
I love having a business in a small community where word of mouth is important, and you may know many of your customers. It really highlights the importance of providing great customer service as word will soon get around if you’re not providing a good service. It’s not just about making a sale but making the shopping experience relaxed and enjoyable for the customer. Locals are very loyal to businesses that meet their needs and go the extra mile, and I’m pleased to say we have a large customer base of loyal, return customers. We also have regulars that come to Port Stephens a few times a year and come to the store each time plus customers who live in Sydney or interstate that order online. I find that our customers want to know a lot about the product they are buying, so ultimately, it’s important to know your products really well.
Kelly, Crows Nest Home Traders is a beautiful store and we wish you all the success.
9/21 Stockton Street,
Nelson Bay, NSW, 2315
Ph:02 4981 2557