My visit to Kitty’s Vintage Kitsch + The Shop Time Forgot was purely coincidental. My sister’s little cottage was just 100 metres down the road and on that particular day of my trip we had decided to stay local on Mt Tamborine. Thunderstorms were once again creeping in by the time we had finished up at a farmers market, and I was just about to pull the pin on any more adventuring – but she insisted that we stop in at just one last place which was her favourite second hand store …well…in the world!
There was SO much to see as we threaded our way between the rooms of the old house, filled to the hilt with rare collections of immaculately restored furniture, homewares and clothing. It wasn’t until we got chatting to the woman behind the counter that we realised she was also a New Zealander! We had stumbled across Sue Davis and I hoped, a willing inclusion to my Fly the Coop feature! (Willing but a little shy so you won’t spot her in the photos)
At 26 years old Sue left her native Hamilton for the Gold Coast where she continued her work in the horse racing industry as a bloodstock consultant. The region became her home and despite regular trips back to NZ to visit family, she has now lived in Australia for 24 years – even inheriting a little of the accent…
Over the years she cultivated her love for art deco and retro finds to the point that she began sourcing, restoring and then selling on eBay. Moving from the coast up to the lush “mountain” (as in high, amazing, rainforest plateau rather than sharp peaks and snow!) 15 years ago, she had struck up a friendship with another local eBay trader; Celia Bonica who specialised in vintage fashion.
Then in 2011 an opportunity rose its head. An established store premises on a great main route became available and was offered to Sue. Decisions needed to be made almost immediately, so she brainstormed with Celia and they decided that they would take it on together. In 6 months they were able to amass enough quality stock to open their MOST amazing emporium!
By combining their specific but in-depth knowledge of their respective era’s, the women were able to, and continue to curate a collection of real quality. But this is no easy task! Sue explained that buying missions often meant 2-3 am starts with a great deal of travel often resulting in them returning with just a few items. Much time is spent cleaning and restoring their finds to their former glory which in a way gives their store an almost museum like quality. Something that can be a problem when visitors spend the whole time trying to take photos!
The women have also developed an enviable grasp of social media. When I visited over Easter this year they had 3895 Facebook followers. Today they have 5881. Their page has become an international virtual meeting spot for all vintage & retro lovers. They maintain a fantastic level of engagement which has resulted in them shipping product all over the world. For their non-cyber audience they have hosted vintage shopping tours, authentic hair and make up instructional days in store and are super active in the regional vintage fairs and events.
And as if I hadn’t thought I’d struck it lucky finding the shop! – Sue then took me for a quick visit to her house where I shot the pics below in her kitchen. She is living her dream in every way possible!
WHAT I LEARNT FROM SUE:
A passion taken seriously can really become a business.
What you don’t know, simply get out there and make it your business to learn.
Fly the Coop: Brisbane + Gold Coast was made possible by the support of Mondegreen.