Mumma Goose is a small retail store in Stratford, Victoria, run by mother and daughter duo Jenni and Caitlyn Murphy. Mumma Goose stocks a unique selection of giftware, homewares and art pieces, proudly supporting a range of local and interstate artisans and makers.
Both lovely ladies took the time to chat to Small Talk and Co. recently and impressed with their enthusiasm and wise words on business and following your gut!
Fast facts | Business: Mumma Goose, Retail Store Location: Stratford, Victoria
Target Market: Anyone with a love of art and design looking for a unique pressie or some affordable artwork for their walls!
What lead you to create Mumma Goose ? What did you study, what other experiences lead to what you do today?
C: Mumma Goose had been in the pipeline for a couple of years (although we didn’t have a name worked out.) We finally got serious in the middle of last year and started looking at different premises. Mum’s always had a bit of a flair for retail and we were constantly talking about different ideas and imagining what it would be like to own and run our own store. We love Australian design and were getting sick of having to travel long distances to buy work from our favourite brands and artists. We felt like we were missing out. So we wanted to expose our own country town to the beautifully crafted products we often find at Craft Fairs and markets, as not everyone can afford to travel down to Melbourne all the time to experience it for themselves.
In the initial stages of Mumma Goose we did have trouble pinpointing a direction. We jumped from shoes to clothes to a possible café. But we finally decided on a giftware store that covered all bases, that way I could also sell some of my artwork. It was perfect timing really. I had just finished my Fine Arts degree and was unsure of where to go next and mum was looking for an exciting new challenge. So we jumped in and here we are!
J: Caity’s only ever worked in retail and I’ve held some different positions but found that I’m happiest when working in retail. I really enjoyed playing with fashion everyday and dealing with the public. I’m a big people person. So we both have the relevant job experience. Caity’s study also comes into play with her paintings and her creative window displays.
One of the reasons we opened the shop in the first place was that we felt Stratford was a little lacking when it came to great sources of art, design and inspiration in products that were unique, fresh and high quality. Of course they also had to be affordable. So we tried to bring a little bit of Melbourne to our Stratford store and hopefully we’ve succeeded.
How do you think being a mother/daughter team affects the way you run Mumma Goose?
C: Well obviously we get on really well or it wouldn’t work. It also wouldn’t be as much fun. We have completely different tastes but we’re lucky in that our styles usually complement one another. So it works out well as we end up reaching a broader market as we’ve both covered so many areas. Most of our decisions are made collaboratively, in general terms, Mum handles most of the accounting and I look after all the orders, social media and inquiries/emails etc.
The only disadvantage is that when it comes to family events or occasions where we both have to be there, we either have to close the shop for the day or ask one of our brilliant helpers to fill in for us. We have at least 3 family members/friends that know the shop top to bottom which comes in handy. So it all works out.
J: It’s also great to have another person as a sounding board. Testing out ideas and opinions before we impose them on the general public. As we’re family we can also be brutally honest with each other when need be. If we don’t like a product or an idea we don’t have to beat around the bush. We’re also both very visual people, so we love rearranging stock and creating different window displays. We’re sometimes at the shop until 2 in the morning, having fun and changing things around.
What is the one tool of your trade you cant live without?
C: Social media has been a huge aspect of our marketing campaign. It actually surprised me how many inquiries and questions we receive on Facebook and Instagram alone, that have then turned into purchases. It’s also a quick and easy way to keep our customers updated on new products and to answer any questions they have in regards to prices, quantities etc.
I know myself; I love seeing our new products come in, so sharing them with everyone else is all part of the fun. As much as I hate to admit it we’d be pretty lost without our computers!!
Mumma Goose has been open for 5 months now, how do you see it evolving and changing?
C: Well we still haven’t completely finished what we initially started out to do. We’re hoping to turn our back room into a small gallery space, holding mini exhibitions for local artists. Maybe even have the space for hire. So that will come into play further down the track. At the moment we have too much stock to allow that to happen.
J: We are still pretty experimental with our product choices. We have a few key brands that are always in stock like Ecoya & Mister Moss. But we generally go by the rule: If it’s selling and we like the brand then we’ll reorder. So our goods and brands are always changing. We get a lot of feedback about what’s working and what’s not from our customers so that’s always a good starting point. But yes, flexibility is definitely one of the advantages of running your own family business. If I can’t work, Caity will and vice versa. If we don’t like a brand we’ve ordered then we will try someone new next time. We only have to answer to ourselves, which is a great perk.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Gift fairs, magazines, other stores, books, quotes & pinterest!
Vice: Tea or coffee:
J: Soy Chai Latte for me.
C: I don’t love tea or coffee. I’m more inclined to go for a hot chocolate or a coke.
Savvy, Sass or Study?:
C: Obviously a combination of all three is ideal. I think for certain innate know how is invaluable. You know in your gut sometimes when a decision is the right one for you and your business.
J: I guess a bit of sass never goes astray either. Having confidence in your convictions and backing yourself and each other is always important. Whether it is deciding to stock a new brand in your store or making a decision about taking on a new commission, that self-assurance has to be there. That being said you can’t put a price on study or more importantly, experience. There are some certain things that can only be taught. Both of us have retail backgrounds and knew the ropes before jumping into our own business. Caity’s degree and her contacts has also created a couple of great opportunities for us that otherwise would have gone unanswered.
Want – learning or opportunity
C: New opportunities for sure! I think that further learning can always happen as a result of a new opportunity anyway. We’re always looking for original ideas, new collaborations, and chances to grow and expand our business. That’s what makes it fun. But in saying that we’d never take on something that we knew was too far out our depth. I suppose I could always use some extra accounting skills though.
J: I’m definitely a fish out of water when it comes to anything computer related! I can only just manage checking my Facebook page, let alone posting anything. So some further learning in computer studies or something like that would be useful, for sure. But at the moment if one of us is incapable of doing something, the other picks up the slack, so it’s still working effectively at the moment.
Need – apprentice or expert?
C: As we are still very new to the retail game, we have a lot of things to learn. So we’re always willing to take in helpful advice. Especially from people who have run their own successful businesses. We also have a lot of helpers that step in when mum and I both have to do something that takes us away from the shop. So we don’t need any more apprentices!
C: Time travel would definitely be nice. I know at least one person we’d both love to see
J: In relation to Mumma Goose then probably the just the ability to stop time. We could fit so much more into each day!
Friends of Mumma Goose –
Anna and Gavin at the Stratford Courthouse are fantastic!! They do so much for the town and are just really great people. Their theatre hosts live performances, high teas and they also have a booming film society.
Very excited that we will soon be stocking some goodies from Katie at Pollen and Patina who does some amazingly beautiful work. Her arrangements are simply beyond words. See Small Talk’s interview with Katie here
Chatters supply us with lunch and coffees/hot chocolate every other day – Run by the nicest ladies!
How can I contact you?
In store: 54 Tyers Street, Stratford, VIC, 3862
P: 03 51 456 816