If the shoe fits

The word on the street in downtown Burwood is that Rubi Shoes is doing very nicely as a result of a store makeover.  Part of the Cotton On group, it would appear that some serious talent from Top Shop has come on board to direct the new look and feel. From what I hear, it is kicking goals with a 'cheap and cheerful' boot or shoe or two!  Nice work Rubi! Spotted at Westfield, Burwood.

VM Westfield Fashion Sydney

High & Dry

Studio Equator has contemporized the dry cleaning and formal hire category. Am loving the freshly pressed new design they have delivered at Westfield Fountain Gate. Again, thanks to Carlos and the SE crew for the pics. Via StudioEquator. Photography by Anne-Sophie Poirier.

Taking the time for customer service

Stage 1 Westfield Fountain Gate redevelopment opened last Thursday. Anybody in the know knows there are always last minute challenges in the count down to any opening. Within 3 hours of team POD getting on the phone to find a temporary staging solution the seriously good crew at Staging Rentals were on site and installing a 5 metre wall and dais for us to dress (no small feat considering it needed to be painted and the drive from their warehouse to the shopping centre consumed 45 minutes of this time frame).

With a temporary VM space in place the POD bods (that would be me, RG Productions and Comer & King) took ourselves off to KMART and found these fab clocks ($10 each!) and some white sneakers we nailed to the floor for the purpose of stopping enthusiastic short people running across the platform.  We had it all installed just as the paint was drying.

Normally I wouldn't mention such a mini VM fix but I am telling you this because the customer service at KMART Fountain Gate was fantastic. Having recently experienced an appalling "service" moment at a Myer store (so offensive I promptly put down the $600 I was about to spend and walked out of the store). The contrast between the two moments could not have been greater.  I can't remember the name of the 'meet and greet' lady working the night shift at KMART but she went and found me a trolley, the young lad who 'heard' there was a lady in a lime green safety vest in the store looking for cookie jars tracked me down in the aisles and helped me find more stock, the young girl at the self serve check out who took great interest as to why I was buying 16 clocks and enquired if she could help carry them to where they were going (how nice is that?!). Great attitude and a fab floor team - go KMART F/Gate!

VM Westfield Other

Slight set back

Rather than a hoarding on the lease line POD pushed back to create a small seating zone next to Ivan's Deli. Over sized olive oil bottles and popular deli goodies created visual impact for this temporary zone in the new Fresh Food Market at Westfield Fountain Gate.

VM Westfield Food

Cheap & cheerful

I did a quick scout along Victoria Street on Saturday morning to check out Daiso, the Japanese concept where everything is $2.80 (known in Japan as the 100Yen store). I found the aisles were very narrow (probably not if you're Japanese) and the fit out is what you would expect with such a price point positioning, but I couldn't help think that with a liiiiittle bit of tweeking to the design and format they could produce a much better store experience without diluting their value positioning, and lift their average sale  ... which on a sample of 3 seemed quite significant to me (the lady ahead of me spent $54, the lady next to me spent $52 and I spent $53). I picked up some great little treats for the short people's Christmas stockings. The 'almost alessi' rabbit soap holder would be a hit in any kids bathroom, the v. cute mini paper clips came in a pack of 8 for $2.80 (that works out to be $0.35c each versus $1.40 each for the 'same' thing at Kikki-K) and those cute spotty jars will be fab for home made biscuit pressies in a few months time. If anyone knows their average sale value here in Australia then I'd appreciate you letting me know.  I went to Dasio at The Hive, 313 Victoria St Richmond (terrible signage, I almost walked out thinking the store wasn't in the building ... you have to go up the escalator to find them). They are also at Westfield Doncaster, and from what I hear are doing very well there (actually if you are going in search of that rabbit soap holder I'd go to Westfield as there are loads of other fab shops at Doncaster and the sushi bar in the food court is one of my faves ... Shige the sushi chef used to head up Kenzan and has been in the kitchen at Koko at Crown ... but I digress).

Oliver Brown goes to town

The friendly design crew at Morris Selvatico in Sydney sent me some snaps of their latest project (actually  I've never met them but their logo looks friendly so I've decided they must be!). Given that I am running with a 'dramatic tiles and wallpaper finds' theme today I thought I'd share this striking looking new cafe with you. Specialising in handcrafted chocolates, the design intent was to capture an ambience that is both vintage and contemporary, that celebrates both the timeless art of chocolate making and our modern cafe society.  Morris Selvatico also wanted the design to set the store apart from the surrounding competition, which by the look of these pictures suggests all the boxes on the design brief have been ticked. You can find Oliver Brown at Westfield Chatswood.

Westfield Food Sydney


I popped up to Canberra to lend Westfield a VM hand last week. The Design & Leasing team take it to the next level with every project and I was super impressed with the contemporary casual ambience and 'community' cluster they have created in the heart of their new fresh food zone (how nice is it not to have a pop pink ice cream kiosk plonked in the middle?!). A stand out store for me was Ziggy's. Exposed brick, warm wood and a stencil celebration of their valued suppliers form the bones of this great looking store. Combine that with quality fresh produce and excellent merchandising and you're highly likely to be on a winner. The centre is due for completion in March 2011 The locals were loving their first taste of it last Thursday and I'm sure they will be more than delighted with the finished product. Westfield Belconnen.

Westfield Food Canberra