The brightest store on Hunter Street has found a new home
After an eight-and-a-half year stint in Hunter Street Mall, this unique Newcastle store has moved five minute’s walk west along Hunter Street tram line. Now surrounded by retail neighbours With Love Bree-Lacey, Krool Jewels, LAATE and eateries Saigon Feast, Newcastle’s French Bread House, Vo's Bakery and The Umbrian, Alie Jane Travel Accessories and Designs is just around the corner from the pocket of restaurants on this end of Darby Street - Light Years Asian Diner, MEET, Bangkok On Darby, Milky Lane as well as the Newcastle Comedy Club.
Parking isn't an issue, with ample spots at the Argyle Street parking station, or on nearby Wharf Rd which has a thoroughfare through the newly built Darby Plaza.
Alie Jane's store is filled with patterned gifts and creations, rolls of Mexican oilcloth, and stacks of Japanese fabric.
An overseas trip 17 years ago led to the discovery that there was a niche market just begging to be beautified. “So I went to Europe as a clothing designer and then I was standing in Spain and had this ugly beige money belt on and I thought, ooh I don’t wear daggy clothes so why would I be using daggy travel accessories? and then the day I flew back to Australia I made my first sample up,” Alie Jane says.
For travel lovers, it has now become a destination store. Not only loved by locals, Alie Jane has fans from interstate who will make the trek to Newcastle just for their next purchase. Also present online, Alie Jane sends her products all over the globe, to Canada, America and Japan.
With the bolts of beautiful Japanese fabric at the shop's front, you could be forgiven for mistaking Alie Jane for a mere fabric store, but take a step inside and you’ll find a treasure trove of gifts and homewares. Most of the stock (90%!) is made by Alie Jane herself. The products sell almost as quickly as she finishes them.
"Customers have an uncanny knack of buying what I have just made, even if I haven’t posted images on Facebook or Instagram."
Her designs are complemented by a collection of locally made items: baby outfits, aprons and prints and postcards of Newcastle icons.
The shop is a blur of bright colours and shapes, but if you focus on each section you will find a range of travel accessories, and something for everyone: microwaveable bowl holders, glasses cases, ladies wire brim hats, journal covers, bibs, wraps, pencil wraps, and wheat bags.
Homewares make up much of the stock: peg-bags, cushions, aprons, oven mitts and Mexican oilcloth to use on your table (wipes clean, doesn’t need to be hemmed, and if you get sick of it, you can use it under the kids’ craft).
Bestsellers include the shower caps and peanut pillows. Want to send an Australian-themed present overseas? Find a quirky kookaburra apron or a koala cushion. With free giftwrapping, you might find this a regular stop for all things gifts.
A mustard teapot sits on the fifties-style kitchen counter, collecting funds for this month’s charity: Animal Rescue Newcastle, which happens to be where Alie Jane found her canine side-kick, Geoffrey.
Geoffrey is the shop’s resident guard dog, quietly watching passers-by from his comfy cushion under a laden table or snoozing in the dappled sunshine. He catches the eye of many a shopper, whether he is wearing the latest necktie, or dog collar.
The dog accessories include delightful collars and dog coats, custom made to suit your pooch, and the oilcloth dog beds that are easy to wipe and - bonus - don’t smell!
No two items are the same, so if you've got your eye on something you like, find it online or be sure to let Alie Jane know over the phone. Happy shopping!