m e d i a
Sunday Collector August 2015 (Click here)
Boutique owner Prue Hufton and I went to school together (she was the year above me), and I wasn’t sure what she’d got up to since leaving – but it was great to see the familiar face pop up a few years ago as the owner of a really cute shop, Olive & Clover. The bricks and mortar store which looks gorgeous via her Instagram feed is based in country Harden (the born and bred city girl Prue married a farmer), but the online store is available to us all….which is where I like to visit. Prue has edited the loveliest range of clothing and accessories – from a Saint James Tee to Izola candles (which I love) to a fox fur pop pom keychain. The brands have a definite air of luxury about them, a place where you can really feel like your treating yourself – or find a unique and sophisticated gift for someone special.
As Prue states on her website, shopping at Olive & Clover will leave everyone gasping ….”ooh, I wonder where she got that?”
Prue was kind enough to answer some questions for me below. I could really relate to a lot of her answers – that whole time management with work/being a present Mum while still following your passion-conundrum so many of us battle to achieve. If anyone has the perfect answer to it all, let me know!
Pictured above is my gorgeous new clutch, available from the shop.
Tell us about your background and how you came to launch your shop? I have always loved shopping really… clothes, interiors, shoes you name it, I loved searching for things that were that little bit different. I was getting asked by people all the time “where did you get that from?’” I even had a girlfriend ask me to start just buying two of everything to save her having to look and do it herself.
My work background is in marketing… before I married my farmer husband and moved to the farm I was working in Sydney, for the Australian Rugby Union, in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in Australia (2003). We were married not long after and I left my job in Sydney and moved to live on the farm with him.
Whilst living out here, I studied Interior Design via correspondence and in-between having my three children (Ned 10, Pippa 7, Arabella 5) I worked for a local Interior Design business (Pink Jam Trading) a few days a week doing interior design work and a little bit of marketing too. I then started doing some consulting marketing work for some other local businesses including a retail shop in Canberra who was setting up an online store. But my children were all still just a little too young and work needed to slow down, so I put work on hold to focus on motherhood.
As Arabella was getting just that little bit older, and after lots of discussions and the dream of always wanting to have my own shop, Olive & Clover was launched.
When I started it was a purely online store, knowing that I could work from home, but still reach a wide audience was the plan. I was running it out of the back room at home in the beginning. But now with all three of my children at school, and having outgrown the room at home, I opened up the showroom in town in March of this year. Olive & Clover has just celebrated its second birthday and I couldn’t be prouder of my little business.
How do you juggle your work commitments with being a mother? It is a struggle – but I try to make 9am – 3pm work is my priority, and then (I try) to clock off and from 3pm til 7.30pm I’m a mother. Having said that I do try and make it to school for their class assembly, and other school activities when they are on. I want my children to know that while work is important, they come first in my life.
My kids participate in a wide range of after school activities and that does get a little crazy at times.. but we just seem to make it work. Every night my husband and I work out our ‘game plan’ for the next day. Who is going to do the bus run, which children are coming straight home or who has to be where and when and which one of us will be taking them.
What’s an average day at work for you? After getting the kids off to school, I head into the shop, where normally there is a delivery waiting to be unpacked. I’m like a kid in a candy store and can’t wait to see what new arrivals have come in, especially at the moment with the new season. I then print out the overnight orders and take the garments off the shop floor ready to be packed later in the day. By then it’s about 10am and I walk around the corner to the local bakery to grab a coffee. The rest of the day is spent in the shop, either answering emails, placing orders, photographing new stock, styling the shop, and serving the lovely customers who come in, and also packing orders.By 2.30pm I walk down the street to the post office, then in the car and at the school gate by 3pm for the start of after school run around. I am quite often back on my computer again at night, either searching for new product or answering emails. Pictured above are the durable St James Tees, available from the shop).
You clearly love interiors as much as fashion, where are you favourite places to shop for interiors? CultiverBed Linen, Country Road homewares, Table Tonic, The Society Inc by Sibella Court, Pink Jam Trading for cushions, lamps and furniture, & Lucy Snodgrass Designs has had some great props that I have been using in my shop too – But I also love driving through a country town or down a street in the city and seeing a great looking shop and finding that little hidden treasure that I never knew I always wanted.
What’s the most challenging part of running your own business? Time management. If only there were 5 more hours in the day. I am very lucky to work school hours, but I always run out of time, and so I tend to spend a lot of time on my laptop at night catching up.
What inspires you? The unexpected. I love the thrill of the finding something unexpectedly. Whether it be a new fashion label, a great new dress, the fabulous new counter that I found two doors up in an old shop that was sadly closing its doors, or the fabulous old table that was left in the shearing shed up the hill.
As a mother it is the unexpected (& somewhat crazy) things that my children say or do that inspires me constantly, it’s there zest for life and the love they share.
What’s a typical Sunday for you? We have three typical Sunday’s – In Summer we love to go Water Skiing, and normally we camp out on a Saturday night with about 4 -5 other families and spend the day on the water with the kids.
In Winter we have Rugby Union. My son plays and my husband coaches so it’s a bit of a family affair but it is all very social with the girls all having friends that they do cartwheels with up and down the sideline and us mums tend to gather at the coffee cart and then spend more time chatting on the sideline then watching.
The third Sundays are the ones spent at home. When time allows, it is usually our one day of the week with nothing on, so have a big cook up in the kitchen, bacon & eggs, pancakes – the works, and then its in the garden or pottering around the house. The kids love spending the day out on the farm riding their horse or motorbike or playing in their ‘treehouse’ in the garden.
Your dream holiday? With kids – we just got back from a week in Fiji and that was pretty much a dream, we all had the best time, days spent on the beach, snorkelling, swimming, and relaxing. As a mum, it was a dream, there was no cooking, or cleaning, all I had to do was one load of washing for the week. I would do that again in a heartbeat! Pictured above is the very cool Anica sweater, available from the shop).
Without kids – Back to Paris. I would love to spend a week or two just walking the streets of paris and soaking up the atmosphere, shopping, eating and people watching. My husband and I were there about 5 years ago and we always talk about going back again one day….
Any plans for the future? Happiness. And by happiness I mean a kitchen renovation, a thriving business and three happy & healthy children with a husband to match.
Thanks again for your time, Prue!
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