A VISION to transform a blank wall has led to the creation of Cafe Collective WA, bringing together local artists, small businesses and designers.
Heidi McGrath has been the designer and owner of fashion jewellery label Spice Lily for more than 15 years.
She said with both of her daughters in school, she took the opportunity to work outside of the home when she could, often choosing Eat Cafe in Duncraig next to their primary school.
“I was sitting there one day and had a light bulb moment,” the Duncraig resident said.
“Here was this huge wall, approximately 9m long, with nothing on it.
“Pete (cafe co-owner) and I had chatted about putting my jewellery in his cafe but I thought I could do so much better than that.
“What if we could turn that dead space into retail but only showcase the products of WA creatives?”
Mrs McGrath and her husband Clint fitted out the venue and so was born Cafe Collective WA more than two-and-a-half years ago.
They have since expanded to a second cafe store at 2 Green Fingers in Willagee as well as a pop-up store in Mrs McGrath’s hometown of Albany for nine weeks leading up to Christmas.
“After many extra stock trips to Albany, we decided to do the next one closer to home,” Mrs McGrath said.
Now they have found another home at Westfield Whitford City shopping centre in Hillarys.
With more than 40 WA stockists, the shop offers a range of handmade products including macrame, jewellery, clothing, baby ware, body products, candles, art, ceramics, homewares, leather goods and gourmet foods.
“We have found the local community very supportive of our concept and receive fantastic feedback every day,” Mrs McGrath said.
And the shop is doing so well that they have more than 60 people on a waiting list.
“I am passionate about this because I have met so many wonderful people over the years who pour their heart and soul into their small businesses and the opportunities to showcase your wares in such a way are very limited,” she said.
“It’s sad to see so many retail stores closing their doors with the increase of online shopping so I feel offering a different shopping experience is imperative to the success of a local business.
“Shopping local also offers a great experience for our customers – with a simple phone call we can custom design certain pieces, we know our products are full of goodness and we can speak directly to the business owners at any time.”