Co-retail store officially opens in the East End Village
Every ending brings a new beginning. The East End Village in Newcastle’s CBD welcomes two of this city’s most established tenants as they come together to create an exciting new co-retail store.
Brought to us by the three sisters behind High Tea with Mrs Woo; Rowena, Juliana, and Angela, alongside Studio Melt’s director, Ange Hailey, the newest addition to the East End Village continues on the journey of bringing elevated retail and hospitality enterprises into the city centre.
At the conclusion of High Tea with Mrs Woo’s twenty-year-long stint on Darby St back in June 2020, the trio joined forces with long-time Hunter St tenant, Studio Melt where the co-retail space first came to life in September last year.
“When we were finishing up at Darby St, we had a serendipitous conversation with Ange (Hailey) about co-retailing. She suggested we try it out in her Hunter St store. We thought, oh this is great! If it works, we can move into a new space together. It’s all about finding the right partnership, and this was a beautiful alignment,” Rowena said.
For those new to the two brands, let us give you a little background story.
High Tea with Mrs Woo was an established business at their iconic Darby St store for 20 years before joining up with Studio Melt. They’re known nationally for their sustainable and slow fashion work, creating beautiful long-lasting clothing in natural fibre fabrics.
When asked what provides the inspiration for High Tea with Mrs Woo, the sisters say it could be as simple as a piece of fabric or a memory that allows their imagination to run wild. Family also plays an enormous role in their creative process, with many important women in their lives continue to inspire them on a daily basis.
Studio Melt was launched back in 2012 and had called their unique Hunter St space home right up until recently. Offering an eclectic collection of contemporary jewellery, the Studio Melt range is beautifully diverse and evolving. The brand now proudly represents the work of over 75 Australian and International makers, with products including ceramics, wood, leather goods and more.
Following on from the time at the Hunter St Mall space, the collaborative venue joined forces once more to co-create their very own space within the East End Village. Sitting alongside the cluster of small businesses that we’ve seen open in the last few months including Mr. Sister Coffee, Honest Paper and OH MY PAPA, and soon to open Artisanal Cellars.
“Being in the city and trading in the city with so many changes can be tough. There can be a lot of negativity around ongoing building developments, so it can be challenging for people to imagine the long-term benefits.
“We’re very much about preserving the unique small business culture across our city, especially within its newly developing environment. It can be hard to imagine your favourite local businesses existing in the new East End Village, so it has been awesome to come together with our colleagues to create this cluster here. The support we’ve had from local residents too has been amazing.”
Stepping into their newly launched co-store is unlike any other retail experience we’ve ever had in Newcastle. Melding together two distinct businesses and their aesthetics, alongside the building’s curvature design; you're welcomed in to experience High Tea with Mrs Woo X Studio Melt.
“We are two businesses operating in one beautifully curated store, and it works. It’s a full experience. Our personal tastes align, even the way in which we consider materials are very similar.”
Situated on the corner of Wolfe St and Lyrique Lane, the store features two window displays featuring the best of both businesses. Step in via Wolfe St and be presented with jewellery displays unlike any we’ve seen before. With muted tones and curved designs alongside stunning display dressers crafted by the crew at Red Block Design, these ‘cabinets of curiosity’ invite us to explore the jewellery collections within. Look up to discover a floral chandelier installation by none other than Ash from Film & Foliage.
As we wander around the space, we’re delighted by the tactility of High Tea with Mrs Woo’s range presented along arched and suspended clothing racks crafted by the sisters’ long-time design collaborator Maker B Gallagher. Dressed ceiling-high in linen, the changeroom is a charming alcove that’s perfectly lit for a beautiful personal experience.
The store features lusciously curved walls, the counter is illuminated by a dreamy draped-rope light. The bespoke display shelves brilliantly display all the collections and treasures that are distinctive to both businesses.
“Here, we’re all very like-minded so it’s really lovely to be able to talk with each other and also to market together. That’s our strength, this collaborative economy. We hope that it sets a great example for what’s possible. We all benefit from working together, and better.”
Discover Newcastle’s CBD at the East End Village and drop into the area’s newest addition, High Tea with Mrs Woo X Studio Melt co-retail store on Wolfe St where you will experience a dream collaboration of locally designed clothing and contemporary jewellery design.