Interestingly over the years there have been some wonderful stories and pictures of what clients have kept as family treasures with the doffie label still prominent.
Then I was drawn to what I now call “my stage” which took me into retail. There I felt I had great scope and a free reign to create the wow factor and to style an attractive space that made people feel good when they went shopping. My love of fabric shined through particularly in relation to the use of colour and texture. Just recently a business woman said to me that I set the benchmark in brilliant retail all those years ago. I also have had people who can describe every store in detail that I have owned.
There is no limit to my imagination and in any challenge of design I feel inspired as I know I will deliver the best outcome for my clients. My passion for creating spaces that make people feel great about themselves as well as having a real sense of being at home in the environment that reflects their taste and style. I value being known for quality and that the bespoke products we craft have the potential to become the family heirlooms in years to come.
1981: Doffie Cottage Craft
Where the doffie story begins; before the first shop opened. Products were designed and made from home at Doffie Cottage Craft. During this time, I was night nursing at Bethesda Hospital in Claremont. My former patients to this day have my original doffie products. It was indeed a cottage I lived in back then and it had gorgeous pressed metal on the walls and ceilings. I loved it and it did later on inspire me as I moved into interior design but at the time the options were buy the lovely cottage or start my business and I chose the entrepreneur pathway.
1982: Bagot Road Shop
The first move into Subiaco. The beginnings of becoming a Subiaco icon.
Setting up shop and styling windows for my own business all those years ago did later on result in my consultancy business including this service for other retailers as well as merchandising stock. I was also hired to style with photographers for magazine photo shoots. It remains one of my most favourite aspects of what I do.
My shop was the original Subiaco primary school deli. It was here I taught craft lessons and one of my students was
Renee Coleman, daughter of Jill and Perry Coleman, from Empire Homewares!
Prior to the opening of the Bagot Road shop I had been taking part in the Victoria Rose craft fairs and I continued on with this which did help build my retail business.
My pink bike was stolen from the Baggot Rd shop.
All publicity they say in business is good publicity, and in my experience, the local rag – Post Newspapers – was a been an effective part of supporting my doffie brand over all these years, right up to the current times.
When the pink bike was first taken and then the publicity helped find it, there were hoots of pleasure from the local community driving by seeing it parked back out the front of the store. Only a few months ago (Nov 2017) An elderly gentleman stopped me in Bagot road very close to where this original building stood and I had parked my current car with doffie number plates. He turned and asked me “Are you not the doffie whose pink bike was stolen all those years ago”. I did look twice and intently at him wondering if he was the culprit at the time. As we walked around the corner near the fashion shop “Wardrobe” I asked him if we could have a photo taken together inside their doorway and he replied “Yes, ok, but I haven’t ever been in a ladies ‘frock shop’”. Bless!!!
Then the bike that was the one I used daily for physical exercise that did actually work and needed no repair was stolen.
Again the Post Newspapers to the rescue!!
My very first article in the Sunday Times included this photo of me in my then sewing room, which was at the rear of the shop. This workroom connected to my retail store was repeated several times as I moved stores and the doffie brand grew. Later on the costs were far too high per square meter to justify this concept as much as clients used to enjoy it as it gave quite a country feel.
1984: Rokeby Rd I
My first shop on Rokeby Rd.
Opened with a partner, Jan Payne (left)
Also pictured is a long-term friend Peter Francis Lawrence who grew up in Albany. We remain friends to this day and love sharing memories of yesteryear and the beginnings of both our businesses. Peter was often back then assisting me with window displays and then went on to make his own homewares range before his art became his top priority.
Doffie’s “teddy bear” room.
One of the points of difference in the doffie stores was that each room had a different theme.
This photo shows the teddy bears and companions room and the niche market that was identified
a long time before the franchise “Teddy & Friends” came to Australia and Perth.
When they did look at opening here Doffie was approached as they wanted
to buy her out and convert her shop for their brand launch.
That was not in the plan at all and so I continued to always stock quality brands of bears, their furry friends and dolls.
Room of Fabric
Patchwork classes took place here and I had an in-house sewing lady on the premises.
Customers used to say they loved the “sound of the machine and the smell of the iron” when they walked in.