Mag Square

Monday, November 21, 2011

in the spotlight : morgan wills

Long time Mag Square retailer Morgan Wills and her family have swapped the hectic pace of Melbourne for a more relaxed lifestyle in Ballarat ... certainly just as busy but hopefully more enjoyable!!

This is a very exciting direction for you Morgan – a new home, a sweet little corner shop. Tell us about the lead up to opening the crafty squirrel … 
Thanks Nic! I have always thought it would be pretty fun to have my own store (and let’s face it I had to do something with my collected treasures!). The thing is I had to make it work for me around a busy wholesale business. The only way I could do it was if I combined the shop with my studio and after finding the perfect place to do that in central Ballarat – we made the tree change from Melbourne in January of this year and got down to business!

Cnr Errard & Urquhart Streets | Ballarat Central | Victoria | Ph: 03 5331 4548
Open Friday - 10am to 5pm & Saturday - 10am - 4pm |

I have spent the last 20 years collecting so The Crafty Squirrel is a culmination of that collecting history and quite eclectic! My own work is always very bright and colourful and I have been drawn to a similar palette when stocking the store. Keeping the walls and furniture predominately white has worked really well as my products stand out. I have also installed a beautiful red linoleum floor, multi-coloured glass louvers in the top of the windows, a variety of vintage wallpapers on the furniture and have picked up the green from my logo for the front door.

Alongside your own gorgeous bits, what else will we find there? 
A wonderful mix of old and new sit side by side - unique gifts, cool craft kits, homewares, vintage fabrics, gorgeous haberdashery and of course all of the work created under my eponymous label – Morgan Wills. I also have lots of cute Japanese and Korean stationery, French sewing notions, American embroidery kits from Sublime and lots of vintage aprons and souvenir tea towels and tablecloths. Also in the lead up to Christmas I am releasing a brand new range of craft and sewing based products under the Crafty Squirrel label.

How has the response been from Ballarat locals? Are you settling in to a creative community and meeting like minded people? 
It has been amazing! I didn’t really know what to expect - the shop has been open five months and I can honestly say I love it! I have had quite a few customers come in to the store and just take a breath of delight. Most spend ages going around and discovering all the things I have collected and telling me stories of how they remember their Mothers or Grandmothers having these things and others say that they have come because someone else has told them about the shop and that they had to come and are just thrilled to be there which is sweet.

The shop is a lot of fun and full of unexpected treasures. My husband says that he wishes he knew of a shop like mine that I didn’t know about so that he had a secret place to go and buy me gifts! Having said that I have had a few wives bring their husbands in to the shop and say – “If you ever want/need to buy me a gift…this is where you should come”! I have met so many lovely local people who seem really excited to have a shop like this in their neighbourhood and have been very welcoming of me and my family. I also have many customers who drive up from Melbourne to visit just for the day and then want to know where else to go while they are in Ballarat.

Tell us about some other great shops and cafes we should visit in Ballarat and nearby … 
To mention just a few in Ballarat… 
Cake Bakeshop - for great coffee and the cutest cupcakes ever – 30 Main Road. 
Antiques, Goods and Chattels – one of my favourite antique shops in Ballarat – I always seem to find something I just have to have! - 34 Main Road. 
Eclectic Tastes - for yummy lunch & coffee – 2 Burnbank Street. 
Ballarat Patchwork – for the most gorgeous quilting fabrics – 54 Victoria Street. 
The Main Bar – for the yummiest pizza I have ever eaten! – 28 Main Road. Art Gallery of Ballarat – I feel so lucky to have the Gallery in my neighbourhood. I just love taking visitors there. They have a really fantastic show on at the moment called Australian Modern Masterpieces until 27 November – 40 Lydiard Street North. 
The Upholstery Gallery – great for a spot of shopping and a coffee in their cute little in store cafĂ© – 528 Mair Street. 

What do you miss the most about Melbourne? The least? 
Miss – Vietnamese food in Footscray and Yum Cha in china town. Don’t miss – traffic!

Do you have any new goodies to show at Magnolia Square in Dec? 
Absolutely! I have been super busy putting together a very cute range of new Crafty Squirrel products which would make lovely gifts for crafty friends and family and have also made some special edition Christmas things and will be bringing some cute bits and bobs I have collected in my travels. Looking forward to it!

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