Virtual visit: Page 8 Mornington

Eleesa Howard at Page 8 Mornington contacted me a little while back about stocking Conversations with Creative Women: Volume Two. A little research into this coastal establishment led me to want to find out more about the shop and Eleesa herself! page 8 shoot 2

Tell us about Page 8. It seems like more than a place to buy books, but a hub for the local creative community. How long has it existed in Mornington and what kind of customers does it attract?

You are right, Page 8 is so much more than a place to buy books. I guess you would call us a lifestyle shop. It was started eight years ago by a local couple. They started the business while having three beautiful boys, they did an amazing job. We aim to be the place that customers can come and find something a little fresh, quirky, interesting, creative and inspiring. Our customers are across a range of age groups and backgrounds. One minute, there will be a grandmother looking for an interesting gift for her grandchild. Next, it will be a business man checking out the selection of Architecture books, then a group of teenagers looking out for latest Frankie mag! Such an enthusiastic and wide variety of customers, which I love. I guess we have something for everyone!

What labels do you stock?

We love stocking local designers and crafters along side quality brands from Melbourne and internationally, such as: Polli, pigeonhole, wewood, telegram, make me iconic, pony rider, keep cups, Salus, Elk, Spider & lily, Printspace, Down to the Woods, One Sunday Morning, Gozi & Pop, Once Made, Lascari, to name just a few! We also stock the latest across a range of books, including children's titles, cookbooks, art, photography, graphic design, interiors, architecture, gardening , craft and design… many!

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What is your background personally? What did you study and how did you find yourself at Page 8? This is a bit of a long story as I have ‘fallen’ into many things. I finished high school and found myself in the real world pretty quickly. I started out in retail and then worked in an amazing place called the Organic Market Café in Stirling, SA. I learned so much about food and life there, I loved that job.

In between, however, I did have two little people come into my life. I had my daughter at 23 and then a few years later had my son. This is where the creative side of me really took hold! Being a stay at home Mum, I felt the need to do ‘something’. So I started to sew clothes for my kids and then quilts, mostly using beautiful vintage fabrics and materials. It was around this time that I was given the oppurtunity to work as part of the visual merchandising team for Country Road. I loved it and realised I had a natural talent for design and display.

After a few years my husband and I moved interstate and I had a fresh start in hosplitalily. This lead to the oppurtunity to opening my own little cafe, which was great fun but a steep learning curve.

Due to the 'surprise' of our youngest son popping into our lives, the café was too much to continue. So again I was home with a new baby and going a little insane! I was itching to do something. This is when I got back into sewing. I started doing markets, making and selling bags, quilts and cushions under the name 'dorothybills'.

We moved to Victoria four years ago and settled on the beautiful Mornington peninsula. I continued on with markets and also stared working at Page 8 in the old cafe. Somehow, I cant even remember, I stated working in the shop helping with the visual merchandising there. Then as time went on I became the Manager. In October 2013 new owners took over the store, and now I am both manager and buyer which I love! I am truly lucky to have an amazing group of wonderful ladies to work with and support me.

What creative things do you enjoy doing outside of work? As my life is so busy, I seem to have a lot of half-finished projects. I'm current making a twine coil basket, painting some plant pots and have managed to sit down with my teenagers and dabble creatively while they are doing their art homework.

I think that’s why I love to surround myself with creative people and their goodies, even though I may not be creating as much as I used to, it makes me happy knowing I'm helping others get their work out there in some small way.

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What's on your summer holiday reading list? I just finished, finally, ' Let's pretend this never happened' by Jenny Lawson, which made me laugh out loud with tears rolling down my face!

Also on my bedside table is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Cloudstreet by Tim Winton,which I cant wait to read, and the latest issue of Frankie. I must admit I have a weakness for magazines and interior book such as Beci Orpin's new book Home and  A Place Called Home by Jason Grant. Lots of constant stimulation and inspiration!

Thanks Eleesa! You can find Page 8 on Facebook or visit the store at: 188 Main St, Mornington, Victoria.

{Photos by Danielle Trovato}