Shipra Bhatia-Tewani

Melange Chic, Beecroft, Sydney

Tell us about you and your business

Growing up with a mother with super fine taste, I vividly remember mum’s white cotton block printed “dohars” she used in summer, the feel of pure pashmina in winters, the gemstones she carefully beaded together with pearls for her jewel pieces. My life was always surrounded by Paisleys, Pastels et al.”

This learning was further reinforced when I went on to learn and practice design for 8 years. But I knew my calling was always in the pure chic pieces I grew up with! So there I was, formally learning how to do business while creating advertisements for living.

Finally, I have taken the leap to manufacture and curate the best of pieces from all walks of life, bringing them to the world in the form of “Melange”.

How have you been impacted by COVID-19?

COVID-19 has had a major impact on retail in general and my store has been no different. The fear of infection and the government restrictions, rightly put in place, have resulted in a much reduced footfall and therefore much lower sales.

How have you adapted to the restrictions?

At the end of March we closed our retail store for a few weeks and moved solely to an online retail model through our website. Of course, it was not easy to do that as while I was setting up my retail store over the last year, updating the website had taken a back seat. But with the help of my staff (and my boys during their holidays) we were able to get the website back in shape. We have now started trading out of the store again for a few hours every day to see how the sales pick up.

What have you learnt over this time?

Expect anything and be ready to change. The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone very hard and tested their capability to adapt their business models.

What do you see for the future of retail?

I think that retail will come back to pre COVID-19 levels but the shift back will be gradual. Also, online sales will continue to be a key revenue generator for many businesses.

Melange

Shipra and her sons

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