by Michelle Hespe
The owner of Australian IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia) Global Honoree JUMBLED has always focused on choosing the right products to create sparks of joy in an enchanting place that has a true sense of soul and community.
When it came to setting up her now thriving business JUMBLED, Pip Brett listened to some sage advice from her mother, who is also a business owner: “She told me to start small and build over time,” Pip says. “She also told me to stay true to what I love, as authenticity is what will keep customers coming back.”
JUMBLED was established in 2013, and in line with Pip’s mother’s advice, it had humble beginnings. A very small store became available next to Pip’s first business venture – a fashion store called iglou – and she saw the potential to bring more exciting products to her loyal customer base, this time in the homewares sector.
“The thought of creating a homewares store had been in the back of my mind since I had purchased and renovated my own home,” explains Pip. “I always loved art and color, and having already opened my clothing boutique, iglou, it really was a natural progression. A short time later I discovered a shopfront I loved had come up for lease and I signed up immediately without really knowing what I’d put in it. That’s why I came up with the name JUMBLED, as it really was an eclectic mix of things I loved, all thrown in together.”
A few years later the store was bursting at the seams and so Pip purchased JUMBLED’s current home – a character-filled grand old masonic lodge, with a striking columned entrance. After a nine-month renovation of the space, ‘The Sonic’ was opened, which is the light-filled over-arching store for her three businesses: homewares store JUMBLED, clothing store iglou, and a coffee shop called Nimrod’s.
“There are some really exciting things happening in retail today but I am very aware that you can no longer get away with just having a shopfront,” says Pip. “The options are limitless and retail is not dead, but you need to be more than just a store and you need to sell more than just products. The space we have now aims to provide customers with a place to connect, be inspired and feel joy.”
Pip and her team understand that the modern way of retailing is to offer people an experience and place that they enjoy visiting, and selling products is then an organic process that comes from the fact that customers are attracted to a place, feel at ease, and are inspired by the things around them. “I always think, what else are we going to offer our customers and how can we connect with them,” says Pip.
This approach has definitely worked as today, The Sonic is a destination for people visiting the beautiful country town of Orange. And by adding Nimrod’s cafe to the mix, JUMBLED’s home was transformed into a popular meeting place that encourages a feeling of community. “It delivers a really special experience that our customers say they can’t find anywhere else,” Pip says with pride. “We’re also trying to give back to our customers, and our free e-book has worked really well – it’s filled with brand interviews, travel features, inspiring images and stories to enjoy. It’s an extension of our store.”
The café also serves as another office, as Pip’s team have regular brainstorming sessions there, coming up with new ideas on how to keep adding to the retail experience. One recently launched idea was to send loyal customers a downloadable artwork every quarter, which has been a real hit.
These sessions are also a chance for Pip’s team to bond. “I love that I get to work with some of my best friends every day,” Pip says. “You really need a great support network in both business and in terms of family, balancing everything, and I am lucky enough to have a wonderful team who help run the businesses, and also a wonderful husband and family who support our family life. I also have the most beautiful supportive customers that are just as excited about art and color as I am! As a business owner, I love the fact that I can come up with new ideas and give them a crack. No two days are the same, and I really feel lucky to do what I do each day.”
When it comes to social media, marketing and showcasing what JUMBLED offers, Pip and her team understand that everyone is busy, and that every day they need to find new ways to entice people. “Most people have high expectations when it comes to social media and online shopping,” she says. “You have to make things easy for people but you also have to create content that is inspiring and eye-catching so it stops them in their tracks. And my philosophy around the products we stock has always been the same: I pick things I love and things that spark joy in me. Our customer base has really grown around that. It’s the grounding philosophy that everything is based on.”
Becoming a gia Global Honoree and attending the gia Awards gala in Chicago together with other winners from around the world was another amazing experience that Pip is grateful for. “Our involvement with the IHA Global Innovation Awards has been amazing, and I am so appreciative of the connections it has led to,” she says. “We’ve received such great support and the opportunity has provided us with a wonderful network to meet like-minded business people.”
“When my husband and I first arrived at the Show in Chicago, we immediately realized that gia is a huge deal! Seeing and learning about the other stores from around the world that had entered really inspired me to do more and to be even better. I was overwhelmed and humbled to win the award and back at home, my beautiful team caught up for a glass of champagne to celebrate. Our customers have flooded me with well wishes – the support has been really incredible.”
Pip explains that stepping away from her business for a couple of weeks to attend the Show allowed her to think about what changes her team can make in order to deliver an even more amazing experience for customers. “The whole experience has been completely inspiring and being acknowledged at an international level has given me confidence to implement some exciting new ideas. So, watch this space!” she says with a smile.
Sponsored and organized by The Inspired Home Show and the International Housewares Association (IHA), gia (IHA Global Innovation Awards) is the world’s leading awards program honoring overall excellence, business innovation and creative merchandising in homegoods retailing. For more information about the gia retail program, the co-sponsors, or participating in 2019-2020, contact Piritta Törrö. Additional information on gia is also available online.