Today we visit the new store location of CWC member and former CWC speaker Shelley Panton in Melbourne's Prahran.
In 2011 you were a CWC guest speaker, but for those who weren't able to attend, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to open your first studio/shop?
I had been working as an event stylist and producer before the GFC hit in 2008 and work dried up. With a bit of time on my hands I took up a short course in pottery while I worked out what to do next. I was also house hunting at the time, and stumbled across a quaint century-old butchers store in Middle Park. I saw 88 Park Road as an opportunity to have a go at building up my own studio ,where I could handcraft my ceramics alongside stocking other local artisans and craftspeople's wares.
I opened the store and studio space (living out the back!) in 2009 and my shop range grew to include artful books, furniture and staples home wares.
In August 2013 we relocated to 440 Malvern Road, Prahan, as the landlords wanted to develop 88 Park Road and I felt my business had also outgrown the space. The timing was right. I am loving my new location and the business has continued to grow.
Can you tell us about the process of moving your shop and studio to a bigger location? What were some of the challenges and what have been some of the highlights of your new location so far?
Finding out I had to move both my house and my shop in one hit was overwhelming. Whilst I knew business was ready to take the next step of moving to a larger premises with a busier frontage, actually finding the new site proved to be quite a challenge of top of running the day to day of my business. I had to constantly remind myself that the right place would turn up, and it sure did, at the 11th hour.
The new location has proved to be a wonderful move, trade has increased dramatically, but then so have the overheads. All in all, I’m glad for the move as I feel I am in the right place for healthy long term growth. If I had my time again I would have taken a bit more of a break plus invested in getting some more help as I took a bit too much on and suffered fatigue in the first few months from trying to keep up with admin, training staff, producing my work and the day to day of shop keeping.
My work ethic is very strong, probably partly based on the fear of having to ever having to write a CV or apply for another job again! I’ve had my fare share of setbacks in life, but this has taught me resilience and gives me passion and energy to do what I do.
What are your favourite products instore at the moment, and why?
I’m loving colour and copper at the moment. Plus I’m a big fan of Adriana Christianson’s stoneware beakers. I picked up a few earlier this year at a pottery fair and loved them so much I decided to stock them alongside my own ceramics.
I’m also loving our current range of recycled timber frames, beach umbrellas and books. Summer is my favourite season!
In March we are hosting two Dinners in the Studio for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. I’ll be collaborating with chefs Perry Schagen and Josh Powell, and winemaker Paul Scorpoto celebrate all things artisan and water inspired for the table. Tinker by Printink will also be printing our napkins, which each guest will get to take home.
We’ll also continue our Meet the Maker Q& A series as I thoroughly enjoy interviewing and sharing the stories of makers whom I stock.
Thanks for the virtual visit Shelley!
Shelley Panton Studio 440 Malvern Road, Prahran, Vic Opening hours
If you would like to know more about Shelley's career path you can listen to Shelley's 2011 CWC speaker event on our Podcasts page - FREE for everyone!
All images by Caitlin Mills