Historic George St in Pinjarra, Western Australia is fast becoming a retail destination. With the recent opening of The Crosswalk Store - aptly located at the crosswalk on George Street - The Crosswalk has brought a global feel to Pinjarra. With a broad demographic in mind, the founders had a very clear vision and purposely created an eclectic product mix to showcase a selection of brands, both local and international, to cater for all. The results are outstanding, and there remains an openness to constant change allowing the product mix to adjust as the customer base evolves.
To learn more, the 3 founders, Meredith, Kylie and Caris discuss the origins of the shop, their vision, future plans and their take on the importance of having a global mindset.
In Pinjarra, a highly curated, multifaceted shop like The Crosswalk is a very fresh concept – who or what were your early inspirations in opening the store?
We didn’t have any specific inspirations. We knew that when we travelled the world, there were lots of products you couldn’t find anywhere in Perth (or Pinjarra), for example; home décor brand like Raawii or a Los Angeles blanket brand. It was really after we visited the space itself (we walked past it every time we visited Pinjarra) that we had the idea that we could have everything we liked – home décor, art, objects, kids – and mix them together. But we didn’t have a model. We knew we liked some shops like the museum stores in London and New York, but they were not the full inspiration for the store. We knew we didn’t want to do ‘beach’ or ‘French provincial’, so we really started from scratch, and I guess, colour was the first step.
What was your original concept for The Crosswalk and did this vision change before opening?
We have a little tagline saying “art, homewares, objects, kids”. We always wanted our customers to come to The Crosswalk and buy art or cool international prints, find a gorgeous little object for your home, pick up a book to read and select that perfect little item for the kids. The Crosswalk was always going to be a place where you could find a wide variety of product categories. However, it also needed to be more of a personal selection of what we thought was most interesting. From the very beginning, we knew it was important to always feel fresh, and we planned new windows every week, new displays with new arrivals; to be different each time you came into the store. Our plan is to constantly renew.
What are some of the first products you have carried in The Crosswalk?
Our vision was to take a museum store concept and make eclectic and a space for the community to come and spend time. Our launch products range from the everyday to the designed. We have products such as coffee table books, puzzles, DIY crafts, cards, wrapping paper through to brands like, Milly Dent ceramics, FISCH lighting, Slowdown Studios, Robert Gordon Pottery, Rawaii Vases and Jugs, Areaware. We are continually sourcing and rotating our mix, adapting to time of the year and our core demographic. We have just recently added fragrances for Mother’s Day and are sourcing a couple of cool raincoat / gumboot brands for Winter.
What factors do you feel have contributed most to the launch success of The Crosswalk?
The fact that we are always changing our mix and display. The fact that we don’t assume that because a brand works well or if it sells well that we’ll continue it forever. We like to not rest or sleep on success. We always challenge ourselves to surprise the customer. We always try to know in advance what’s coming next, we always try to have products you cannot find anywhere else.
How do you see The Crosswalk evolving over time?
A continual rotation of brands/products to keep the concept exciting, within the same strategy framework we began with. We will continue to be eclectic and mix our range of high-low, just like you do in fashion. You will see the introduction of new categories as we progress, always keeping it fresh and enticing.
It will evolve organically, and some really cool collaborations could be in the works down the track.
Are there plans to expand The Crosswalk to other locations; how important is staying in WA for you?
WA is super important. We really opened The Crosswalk for WA, like we said there are lots of things missing in our own state. Pinjarra has so much potential, and once we feel the concept is ready to grow, then we will certainly be looking for new neighbourhoods to join. Even if the selection is international – and we will never buy a brand because of where it comes from – it's true we are here for WA and for what’s missing in our town/city. Also, because we are a small team with a big operation – with so much love and attention to detail – we first need to establish our own model to then replicate in other locations.
Is it difficult to keep that “destination” feel alive when everyone has already seen so much product online?
Actually, social media has been fantastic for us and for the shop itself. Sometimes someone will see something on Instagram and will come to the shop to buy it. It’s helped us to communicate the activity in the store, the events and all the different things we do. It’s much more visible than on a website or any other way. So, for us social media provides an opportunity to share what’s happening IRL.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own retail store, what would you say?
To stay true to yourself. To just listen your heart. To be spontaneous, to not try to follow anything else. To just follow what your heart says and success will happen.
-Meredith, Kylie + Caris xxx