Located in a heritage-listed loft in Brisbane’s CBD, Showroom is the brainchild of Canadian-born Catherine Roberts. Her refreshing concept space has been showcasing a selection of local, handmade and thoughtfully-designed wares for the past year and a half, after Catherine made the brave leap from her day job to shop owner.
Catherine and her Australian husband moved to Brisbane in 2011. While working as a university history teacher during the day, she started a blog in her spare time, hoping it would help her meet people in her new city. Keen on photography, Catherine found it hard to find good quality images of the products she wanted to share on her blog. She began sourcing and photographing these unique pieces herself. Eventually, this led to the beginnings of a small online shop and market stall. ‘I loved having the market stall, but it’s very hard to look chic under an Oz Trail marquee!’ she laughs. ‘It felt like a natural step to build that business into something more, and open a bricks and mortar store.’
Enter Showroom, which, in its first incarnation inhabited an old Queenslander on Paddington’s Latrobe Terrace. ‘The Queenslander was characterful, but moving to this downtown loft feels more polished,’ Catherine explains. With a distinctive aesthetic that she refers to as ‘neo-traditional’, she loves to combine nostalgia with the modern day. ‘I love items that draw from a heritage quality, but read in a clean, modern way,’ she says.
Catherine is a woman with great intelligent, passion and many ideas! ‘I’m interested in how we can take the best of what’s happening in digital trends and innovate them in the physical world,’ she notes. Passionate about building and nurturing a real sense of community, Catherine uses Showroom as a vehicle to achieve this, by hosting in-store pop-ups and events, and stocking the work of local creatives. Aside from running her busy retail operation, Catherine also co-hosts entrepreneurial workshops within the space, under the name Homeroom – a project run in collaboration with fellow Brisbane creative Claire Deane. ‘The artisans in here support and help each other, there’s a real collaborative spirit to what we do,’ she says.
104 Edward St