Story & photos Eve Jeffery
A Happy Flamingo has flown to the Byron Arts and Industry Estate, and now the girls at Karly Sunshine have just about anything you could imagine wearing and a few things you haven’t – think plush-velvet rainbow lollipops with a dash of vodka and a shot of awesome and you’ll be half way to getting the idea.
Echonetdaily visited Karly Sunshine last week and we were blown away by both the variety and vibe. Karly Baker is the owner of the business, she was co-owner of Happy Flamingoes on Fletcher Street for five years until February last year. Karly had a six month break from retail fashion but her love for the trade brought her back, venturing out in a solo business with her own name – Karly Sunshine – and taking employee Eloise Corlett along for the magical mystery ride.
From the bottom of its black Capezio tap shoes to the top of the spectacular mural on the back wall, Karly Sunshine is an absolutely unique boutique specialising in vintage, retro and designer fashion and the key to the shop’s success is the wonderful quality of everything they stock.
Karly says that the new shop is a bit different from the one they had in town. ‘It’s got more interesting pieces and it’s a bigger space. We really don’t have that many more clothes but we are just fine tuning the quality and the cuts and people are coming for costumes, that’s the focus: it’s more quality.’
The girls say that visitors to the new location long for the vibe and the stock. ‘Over Christmas and New Year, people were coming in and saying it’s like an old-style Byron shop. You know, like old school. They keep coming in and going, “This is how all the shops used to be, you know.” I think that’s it as well. It’s all different and it’s always different, it’s never the same one week after the next and it’s also not a franchise.’
Something else that is great about the shop is that if they don’t have what you want, they can quite often find it for you – Karly has a great memory for the items and style people want. ‘I have this little list in my head when I go shopping, “Ok Jan wanted that and Peter wanted that.” I always have me eyes open.’
The shop caters for all ages but the selection for kids is still in the early stages as it’s hard to find vintage items in those sizes. Adult sizes range from 8 to 16 with a few larger sized pieces and hopefully more on the way. ‘What we’d like to do is find some really cool outfits for women who are bigger, so we can start finding patterns that women really love. Finding vintage of the goddess sizes is really challenging. So that’s why I keep asking ladies what are their favourite dresses and what they would like to see in here. I’ve got a friend who’s just started to make stuff for us.
For these girls it is all about passion for the product. They both love the style, cut and fabric as well as the huge eclectic mix of shoes, bags, jewellery, scarves and other wonderful accessories that retro and vintage apparel is all about.
The atmosphere in the shop is amazing, it’s like clothes wonderland and the layout is very relaxed. This is just the way the girls want it. ‘We like that we can come in here and be ourselves, and it’s also really lovely because all the customers are the same, they feel comfortable here and I think that’s what we’ve noticed with a lot of retail shops now, it’s becoming more impersonal and it often seems like the shop assistants don’t care so much, but we really do.’
With heaps of cool shirts and clothes for guys and amazing costumes that festival goers will adore, Karly Sunshine will be open over the Easter weekend for Bluesfest locals and visitors to find something extraordinary to wear out to Tyagarah. ‘I’ve noticed, with a lot of festivals you end up seeing the same kind of costumes a lot. We’ve got some handmade costumes from the 1890s, and new amazing costumes about to come out, so for Bluesfest you can come in and find an interesting costume and you know no one else is going to be wearing it. We just try and keep it all different.’
The girls say their mission is simple. ‘We want to make you look and feel fabulous. But don’t just take our word for it. Pop in and check out our new stock. We’d love to see you!’
Karly Sunshine Fashion Photo Shoot
Photos by WanderingMelody
Here are some of the pics from our very first (human model) fashion shoot! Thanks to WanderingMelody for photography, Emily K Hair for hair and makeup, Eloise Corlett for styling and creative direction, Karly Baker for wardrobe, fabulous fashion sense and generally being the awesome owner of Karly Sunshine and to our amazing models Phoebe, Ella and Tais!
“So, we (me- Phoebe, my little sis Ella and our friend Tais) popped in to Karly Sunshine for a fun day of dress ups, selfies and lounging around trying on outfits to wear for Bluesfest next week! yeww!
Check out the pics from our day!