There’s this cosy place round the corner, by the quaint cafe. Its display window is neatly and tastefully swathed with dresses from all over the world, together with treasures and trinkets from faraway places. When customers enters a bell softly chimes just above the door and though the shoppe’s cat lifts it’s head for a bit to see the goings-on, it continues to lay undisturbed, at the foot of a mannequin by the rack. Stephie, the shop owners greets her customers warmly and they return the gesture with a smile.
Penny C gets in touch with Stephie.
Though others might visualise another kind of whimsical store when they stumble upon Stephie’s Shop, I’m sticking to mine. That’s why Stephie’s Shop is so great to be at; with the pretty things she’s got for everyone, you’re allowed to photograph the shop in your own unique way.
We get to know Stephie a little bit more. She’s a freelance writer, an Editor at Monday Flying and a lovely owner of this playful boutique. Her shop is stocked with beautiful dresses and such, vintage love and other fashionable trinkets that will tempt the ladies. She’s sweet, smart and is inspired by determination and stories of success. It’s no wonder she’s got thousands of followers on both Facebook and Twitter, all who want to have a spot in Stephie’s space.
So come on, read about the lady who has her sights on exploring Antarctica, who listens to Queen and lists the likes of Enid Blyton and Diana Wynne Jones as her favourite authors. And when you do, I hope you’re inspired by her thoughts and ideas too, just as I was when first chanced upon Stephie’s Shop.
Hello Stephie! Tell us everything we need to know about you and Stephie’s Shop!
I’m a freelance writer by day, working on retail and travel stories.
I’m trained in finance with a degree in Accountancy from NTU, but my interest lies in literature, which explains why I’ve strayed from a career in corporate finance.
I’ve always wondered how running a store will be like, so I started selling batches of vintage and one-off items I unearthed whenever I went on trips for my freelance work. The items sold out quickly and within 2 years, we’ve been featured on a couple of media platforms.
Stephie’s Shop was started in May 2009 and is into its second year now. From a handful of customers, we’ve grown to having over 7,000 members on our mailing list, 5,000 followers on Twitter and 1,000 fans on Facebook.
What’s the best and worst thing about working on Stephie’s Shop?
The best thing about working on Stephie’s Shop is the interaction with customers. We receive orders on a daily basis and some customers have shopped with us from the start.
We have a wide range of customers, from tertiary students, fresh graduates to working superwomen. A simple thank you note from a customer to let me know that she loves the dress she bought is enough to put a smile on my face. Others share stories about their purchases and compliments they receive, such as old classmates loving their vintage handbag or husbands and children going ‘wow!’ whenever their mothers dress up in a beautiful, understated dress.
The worst thing about working on Stephie’s Shop is listing up vintage treasures which I sometimes can’t bear to part with, such as a beautiful leather handbag or vintage Repetto flats. However, from experience, I know these pieces will find a good home and be treasured by women who love vintage, so the heartache is usually short-lived.
I believe in investing in classics, such as a good leather handbag or a watch which you love. Apart from that, comfort and personality should be reflected in your wardrobe choices. These can be easily found through items on Stephie’s Shop, where we put up classic dresses with clean lines and quirky accessories with a lot of mileage.
What’s your favorite piece from your shop and why?
My favourite item is the jersey blazer we sell on the shop. We’ve sold hundreds of these blazers in each colour; the blazer is available in shades of black, grey and navy. The jersey blazer is cut like a classic blazer but made of high quality cotton. It’s soft to the touch and perfectly suitable for Singapore’s weather. The fact that it’s cut like a blazer makes it work-friendly but not stuffy. I have had customers who have bought multiple pieces in each shade for themselves, their sisters, mothers and friends.
If any of the items in the shop were a person and had a name, what would it be and what would he/she be like?
There wouldn’t be a name – every customer of Stephie’s Shop is living his or her own wonderful life. I think the regular Stephie’s Shop customer is a confident and outgoing individual who lives a fulfilled and busy life. She has an active social life and enjoys the company of friends and family. She believes in quality and knows what she wants.
A little birdie mentioned that you like reading children’s books and that’s really peachy! Tell us more. Which are your favorite titles?
Yes! How did you know that? (: (Penny: Because we like them too!)
I love Enid Blyton, Diana Wynne Jones, Roald Dahl, basically British fantasy writers. I love and collect illustrated children’s books, such as Quentin Blake and Beek. My favourite titles are mostly by Enid Blyton: the Famous Five series, Malory Towers, St. Clare’s, The Five Find-Outers, The Faraway Tree… too many to name them all. I still have all of my childhood books sitting in my bookshelves right now.
What about travels? Where’s your favourite holiday destination and what’s one destination you’ve always wanted to travel to but haven’t had the chance yet?
My favourite holiday destinations are Tokyo, London and Hong Kong, cities with nightlife and an array of things to do. I like to visit museums, cafes, independent stores, attend indie band performances and sample local food. I hope to visit Antarctica within the next couple of years.
Who/what inspires you?
Determined people and stories of success inspire me, people such as Momofuku Ando and Meryl Streep.
What’s in your playlist?
Probably by my grandmother, who tells me to work hard and do the best I can every day.
Where can we find you on a Saturday?
I exercise in the morning, work through the day in my office and head out for dinner with friends whom I don’t see on weekdays. You can find me at quiet eateries in Holland Village or in the East.
What’s your dream creative project?
Inspiration usually strike me spontaneously, but I believe strongly in creating work that I am proud of and doing things that people will appreciate. My dream creative project will have the same ideals.
Besides having created Stephie’s Shop, what other hidden talents do you have?
I don’t have many talents, but I can type really fast.
What’s the most memorable thing acustomer has ever said to you?
I get a lot of positive feedback from customers. A simple note like “thank you, I have received my package” or “thanks for bringing in this dress, I was complimented by my colleagues after wearing it” is enough for me.
Is there anything else you wish to say to our readers?
Thanks for spending time to read this interview and feel free to check out Stephie’s Shop.
What can I say? Isn’t Stephie simply amazing at what she does? Now you’ve meet her, here’s your chance to win gifts from Stephie too. There are 3 sets of My Melody earphones and a handy camera notebook up for grabs!
Because we know how smart and savvy you girls and guys are, there are 2 ways to win the gifts:
1. You can either EMAIL us
Send an email to Penny@PennysDaybook.com with the subject “I want a gift from Stephie’s Shop!” and include the following details:
- Contact number
2. Or TWEET us!
Tweet us at @PennysDaybook with “I want a gift from Stephie’s Shop!” and if you’re our winner, we’ll give you a direct message.
It’s that simple!
Please be reminded that this contest is only open to readers living in Singapore and all entries must reach us by Saturday, 26th March 2011..and your time starts now!
*All fashion images are from Stephie’s lookbook. All the best to you, Stephie! :)