It's not every day you turn 15 - especially as a business. It's a huge milestone for us and one we want to share with you! Here is some of our history.
We first opened our doors to the City of Melbourne in 2005, in the bustling urban environment of Collins Street. At that time, Chelsea McIntosh, Spoilt Gift & Homewares' founder, was an office worker at 600 Bourke St and as she looked up at all the high-rise buildings, she imagined them "as like little villages." Hard-working, time-poor Melbournians who still celebrate holidays and birthdays, and therefore, still need gifts! Alas, this is where Chelsea found her niche and Spoilt Gift & Homewares was born.
The first Spoilt Gift & Homewares Store - Collins Street 2005
The Department of Human Services moved from Collins Street to the top of Lonsdale in 2006 and this paved the perfect opportunity to open the second store, right at the front of the Department's building at #44. "There was a for lease sign in the window of this gorgeous little heritage building and I knew it was meant to be."
An original Madame Brussels brothel, #44 was amongst the oldest buildings in all of Melbourne and what is now Spoilt's hub and office, was then ready for renovation and given a new life. "Thankfully my dad was a retired builder and we could see the potential... but it was a burnt-out shell with no electricity or water, no staircase, holes in the floors and a mere ladder to reach upstairs. After months of hard work, we opened the doors in October and never looked back." Regular, loyal customers spread the word and overnight and the little gift store was bustling with fresh faces!
Spoilt Gift & Homewares 44 Lonsdale Street
2007 brought a new adventure, as Chelsea and her husband welcomed their first child. At 31 weeks, a little trip to Tasmania to see family seemed safe, despite how uncomfortable Chelsea was feeling along the way. Assuming the discomfort and pain was normal, they went to watch her cousins' football game that Sunday. "I was standing at the sausage sizzle and the man serving me, I think he was a farmer, asked me when I was due? I told him not for a few months and in warning he replied 'wow, I don't think it will be that long.' And I ended up flying back that afternoon to welcome my beautiful baby boy Sam, 9 weeks early! As terrifying as it was, we both came out okay and I am extremely lucky to now have a healthy and happy 13-year-old."
New opportunities were cracked open in 2008/9 when new retail laneways and office towers emerged at either end of Bourke Street. By the end of 2009, Spoilt had 4 stores, offering the customers every corner of the CBD. "We also decided to move with the times and start an online store. This was much harder than we anticipated and it really started off as more of an online catalogue for our existing customers, with very few actual sales." With a long journey of experimentation and adaptability, Spoilt now has the staff and marketing team to flourish on the online platform as well as in-store, allowing us to now ship our personalised goodies all throughout Australia!
June of 2010 brought Chelsea's beautiful daughter Lucy into the world. "As I didn't get a chance with my son, I remember thinking I would take a few weeks off this time before she arrived. I was feeling well and just kept thinking, I'll just do one more day! On a Friday evening, I recall saying goodbye to staff and surprising a customer by adding: 'See you all Monday... unless I have a baby!' We all laughed and of course, I went into the hospital that night feeling very much like I did with my son and after the nurse told me she didn't think I was in labour. An hour and a half later I welcomed a healthy baby girl."
A Young Business Woman - Lucy McIntosh
You would think 2 children and 4 stores in Melbourne's CBD would be enough, but no, Chelsea found herself talking to the management of Southgate about a Christmas pop-up! "While there, we noticed a perfect little tie shop of which I knew the owner... and the next minute, we were taking over the lease, and store 5 was born!"
"My daughter believed we were opening one store for each of her years, as after her birth, we opened one store each year! When she turned 9 however, I just couldn't bring myself to take on anything further." Chelsea McIntosh is now the proud mother of not only her beautiful children but stores all across the CBD with one outlet store at UniHill Factory Outlet. Each store stocks a wide range of fashion accessories, handbags, gadgets, games, books, candles
Following the success, Spoilt has received recognition from a number of retail awards. This includes the Melbourne Lord Mayor Bronze Commendation award for over 10 years service to the retail industry in 2016, being a finalist in the 2017 Gift & Lifestyle Retailer of the Year awards and winning the 2018 EFTPOS ARA Independent Retailer of the Year (5+ stores) after making the top 4 finalist list in 2017. On top of this, Chelsea was awarded the Retail Business Woman of the Year award for the 2019 Australian Retail Association.
Happy 15th Birthday Spoilt Gift & Homewares! We wonder where Chelsea will take us next...