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The Little Homewares Store That Could

Shopping

So often the work and projects we feature at TDF are at their brightest, shiniest, tidiest, most finished-est versions. But behind almost every polished product is the real story – it’s in the grit and perseverance, and the decision to keep moving forward towards something you believe in. Achieving your dreams doesn’t happen by accident!

No one knows this better than Anna Chisholm of Melbourne-based homewares store Bungalow Trading Co. After facing a number of setbacks in her first year of operation in 2013, Anna has recently upgraded her wonderfully bright and unique homewares store from Caulfield South to a bigger space in Brighton.

This afternoon we chat with the inspiring small business owner about her exciting new store, and how she has managed to thrive through the tricky times.

16th October, 2018

Bungalow Trading Co.’s new Brighton location. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Anna Chisholm first opened her Caufield South location in 2013. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Bungalow Trading Co. is an eclectic mix of homewares, art, design and fashion. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

The bright, beautiful new space! Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Anna first opened Bungalow Trading Co. as there was nothing like it in the area. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

A selection of soft furnishings and homewares. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Over the last five years, Bungalow Trading Co. has built a loyal following! Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

The store is a one-stop shop for a colour injection or gift for the hard-to-buy-for. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Despite significant personal hardship, Anna and Bungalow Trading Co. have survived and thrived! Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Anna has recently completed her Cert IV in Interior Design to help customers with their own interiors. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Details in the Bungalow Trading Co. Brighton location. Photo – Suzi Appel. Styling – Katie Peat and Anna Chisholm.

Sally Tabart
Tuesday 16th October 2018

‘The support I received meant that I was eventually able to come back to the business, and it was exactly what I needed to focus on in order to rebuild my confidence and character.’ – Anna Chisholm.

Anna Chisholm first opened her store, Bungalow Trading Co., in early 2013. A Caulfield South local, Anna realised there was nowhere in her area to purchase the kind of art, soft furnishings, decor, unique gifts or fashion she was interested in. Coming from a background in finance and large corporations, Anna yearned to create her own community. Following the birth of her two sons, she took the leap to fulfil her lifelong dream of owning a store and opened Bungalow Trading Co. – a haven for the bright, bold and unique wares Anna had always loved!

Despite her little store being welcomed with open arms by the local community, Anna’s life was turned upside down by a number of personal hardships within the first 6-12 months of operation, so much so that she considered selling or shutting down within the first year. ‘My initial reaction was to shut the shop, or otherwise try to sell the young business so that someone could continue with the venture’, Anna explained of this difficult time.

Despite this first response, Anna did something brave that many of us struggle with – she accepted help. Her family stood in for her – ‘took the keys, made decisions, and paid the bills.’ A customer even offered to start working some of the weekdays, ‘which she did without any training’ (she still works with Anna today!). ‘The support I received from those closest to me and those I barely knew meant that I was eventually able to come back to the business, and it was exactly what I needed to focus on in order to rebuild my confidence and character after the turmoil’, Anna tells. And rebuild she did!

After four years in her Caulfield South space, Anna and the Bungalow team outgrew their home, and in June this year opened the doors to a larger new shop in Brighton. With an interest in supporting emerging designers, this bigger Bungalow space is a treasure trove of unique items in bright colours and loud prints – ‘the more clashing, the better!’ In addition to expanding Bungalow, Anna has also recently completed her Cert IV in Interior Decoration at The Design School to equip her with the skills needed to help customers with their interiors – making Bungalow a one-stop-shop for home styling, expert advice, gift buying, and more.

Bungalow Trading Co.
149 Martin Street
Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm
Saturday – Sunday, 10am-3pm
Brighton, Melbourne

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net