Today I’m really excited to share with you an interview I did recently with the lovely Lusi Austin, retro and vintage lover, owner of Finds On Fitzroy.
I first met Lusi on instagram last year where we found that we had quite a few things in common – both of us homeschooled and both of us had a bit of an obsession for all things vintage. I loved Lusi’s sense of style from the photos I saw regularly on instagram and I always enjoyed seeing them pop up on my feed. I knew Lusi’s shop was called Finds On Fitzroy but in my head I thought she lived in Melbourne. Fitzroy. Melbourne. You know.
But during our summer road trip to the Central West of NSW earlier this year, Pete happened to fall across a lovely little shop front as we cruised the streets of Cowra in search of op shops. I didn’t notice it as we drove passed and he quickly did a U-y and headed back in the direction we’d come from. As I questioned him about what the heck he was doing he proceeded to tell me to look out the window at the shop he’d just pulled up right in front of. Finds On Fitzroy! I was so excited to see that Lusi’s shop actually was situated in Cowra, not Melbourne and that we were seconds away from stepping through the front door. Pete had no idea that I had a little instagram connection to this shop, he just knew it looked like something I’d love to have a look at. Oooh, I’m turning all mushy just thinking about his thoughtfulness. He is such a thoughtful man. I really, really like him…a lot. Like, love him A LOT!
Anyway….enough of my lovey dovey mush…back to Lusi and Finds On Fitzroy and all things retro and vintage. There’s a lot to love there, I can tell you that.
So, I jumped out of the car and raced to the shop front only to find that it was closed for the day. With a disappointed sigh I got back into the car and we continued on our westward journey. I sent Lusi an instagram message as we headed out of Cowra letting her know that I’d been in town and was so sorry to have missed popping into her shop. Pete and I discussed that perhaps on our way back home we could stop in again.
And so we did!
I had a lovely time meandering my way around Lusi’s gorgeous retro filled shop while chatting to her and connecting up our lives. I frantically took lots of photos in hope that I could interview Lusi for Feather & Nest in the future. We chatted hurridly as I knew time was a bit scarce and that soon we’d need to hit the road again. During my meanderings about Finds On Fitzroy I spotted a gorgeous green velvet, retro sofa that would be perfect for my second living room space. It was also a sofa bed. Perfect! Hello! Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, it wouldn’t fit into the back of my station wagon which was already full to the brim of treasures Pete and I had collected on our road trip.
It was so nice to meet an online, social media friend in real life and get to visit Finds On Fitzroy and connect up with another lovely, like minded person. It’s doubly nice that I can now share it with you. I know you’re just going to love it. So here you go, an interview with Lusi Austin, retro and vintage lover and her lovely shop, Finds On Fitzroy.
1. Where did your love of vintage come from?
As a young kid, I remember heading to our local op shop with my mum so I could spend my birthday money. I think my earliest purchase was a Levi’s vest. I loved the old nana smell in the op shop too. Weird, right? I’ve always loved the idea of other people owning things before me and that those items have a story and character.
2. How long have you had your gorgeous shop for?
As a business, Finds on Fitzroy has existed for a little over 3 years. We traded solely online for 2 years and in that time had sold to every state and territory in the country. That was a bit of a thrill for me since I’d never considered myself a very tech savvy nor business minded person! I opened a pop up shop for 6 weeks in the summer of 2014 and it was so well received in our community that we couldn’t shake the idea of opening it more permanently. In June 2015, we opened in a shop in a side street which was lovely and big but slightly hidden away. In February this year we made the move to the Main Street and love it!
3. What was your motivation for opening a vintage wares shop?
Our town has a gorgeous antiques store but I felt it was lacking something for the retro and vintage lover. People come to us to find that little something that can help them style their bookshelf or add a little funk to their lounge room for instance. Having the shop provides a creative outlet for me and a little respite I guess too.
4. Can you tell us a little bit about you? Your family. Where you live. How you love to spend your time?
I’m blessed to be married to my best friend of 17 years. We have 5 children and homeschool them. Between the business, homeschooling and family, life is pretty full! I sing and write music in my spare time and have started gigging with my friend Sim. My heritage is Fijian-Australian and whilst Australia is proudly my homeland, Fiji is definitely my heartland. It’s not unusual for me to dream about my family and land in Fiji several times a week. My faith is really important to me. I’d love to travel with Brett, my hubs, in the years ahead.
5. Have you got any favourite vintage pieces? What are they?
Hmmmmm there is a cupboard we have in the shop that I adore and can’t quite part with. We actually have it bolted to the wall so it’s nice and secure and I kind of love that because it means we may just need to keep a hold of it! Hahaha!
6. What kind of treasures do you sell the most of in your shop?
It varies and seems to come in waves. A while ago it was cane and macramé. Right now coloured glass is doing well. Our customers love genie bottles and unusual shaped glassware. On the vintage side, galvanized and baked enamel pots never seem to go out of fashion!
7. Could you tell us what an average working-in-your-shop day is like for you?
At the moment we open 10-4. We are aiming to open 9-5 in the warmer months though. Once I get to the shop I try and make sure any new items we have (or that I didn’t get to the previous days) have been written up in our book. Each item that comes into the store is produced coded so we know where we bought it and how much we paid for it. This of course is necessary for us to calculate our monthly profit and loss. Brett is so much better at the paper work side of the business and other than product coding, he does all of that for us. I often have customers drop into the store to say hello which is lovely. I spend a decent chunk of time in the shop (when it’s quiet) working on listing items for sale on social media, particularly in our Instagram and Facebook stores.
8. What are 3 things you love about your day at Finds On Fitzroy?
I love the people I meet, the opportunity I have to be creative in there with displays etc and I love how happy customers get when they see an item that reminds them of their childhood.
9. Anything you don’t love so much?
It’s hard when we have quiet days. That’s the nature of retail though. We are very thankful for our social media stores to help carry us through those days.
10. Have you got any plans for the future that you’d like to share with us?
We are in the very near future about to launch workshops to be held in store. We have an online newsletter heading out too and a sales group as well. As for products, we’re hoping to branch into stocking some funky vintage style stationery and handmade gift cards. Stay tuned!
Thank you so much, Lusi, for joining us here and sharing a bit about your life and love of vintage with us. I look forward to visiting Finds On Fitzroy again and having a cuppa and some more chatting time with you. Oh, and no, I don’t think loving the Nana smell of op shops is at all weird. I love it too!