After a five year hiatus, Cath Hope, founder of specialty store Douglas & Hope has opened a new retail space in High Street, Northcote, one of the best places to shop local in Melbourne.
Given that we had missed her endlessly since the Fitzroy shop closed, we were beyond excited to visit Cath and buy almost the entire contents of the shop for Christmas. We also had a chat, because that’s what we do. Talk and shop. Shop and talk. And um, possibly leave a bag of purchases behind in the process.
TGW: Tell us how you’re feeling in your new space?
CH: I am loving my new store and the location. It’s wonderful meeting so many local people. I know a few of the other store owners, and lots of my old customers live locally.
The new shop is really light, bright and fresh with amazing original terrazzo flooring. It’s a beautiful space to work in.
‘The new shop space is really light, bright and fresh with amazing original terrazzo flooring. I’ve gone for a modern 70’s European vibe, with marble and gold tables and big paper light shades. It’s a beautiful space to work in.’
TGW: How did you approach this new space when you did the fit out?
CH: The whole store was designed around the beautiful original white stone terrazzo floor. I’ve gone for a modern 70’s European vibe, with marble and gold tables and big paper light shades. I love the history of the European migrants, (Greek and Italian) and they have played such a huge part in the history of the area, and contributed so much to the landscape.
TGW: It’s been five years between shops. What led you back to the inner north?
CH: I have lived in Northcote for 10 years, and I made a promise to myself when I was young that I would always work and live in the same suburb. My boys go to school locally and they can come up to the shop after school. It’s important when you have kids that you make everything as easy as possible!
TGW: Is Northcote a place close to your heart? You’re in good company. It’s a great strip.
CH: Yes I love Northcote, my Mum’s family are all from this side of town. My Mum grew up in West Preston, and my Pa grew up on Alexandra Parade in Collingwood. There were 6 children in a 2 bedroom terrace house, and he and his brother slept on the front verandah! My Nana grew up in East Melbourne, so there is definitely a family history in the area. Even though Mum moved to the outer eastern suburbs when she got married, I’ve now lived in the inner north for 20 years.
‘I love the history of the Greek and Italian migrants in Northcote. They’ve played such a huge part in the history of the area, and contributed so much to the landscape.’
TGW: What’s your relationship like with the brand? You’ve had it for a long time.
CH: I am very proud of Douglas & Hope. It has enabled me over the last 17 years to design and manufacture many different products under the one brand. I think the reason Douglas & Hope has endured so long is because of the strong brand awareness and I’ve had the retail stores for such a long time.
TGW: What’s your favourite thing about now having plants in the shop? Will people be able to come to you for advice?
CH: My decision to have plants in the store was easy. I miss having a big garden, which I had at my house in Castlemaine. My place in Northcote only has a small garden. I also wanted a new recipe for Douglas & Hope this time around. I have done the homewares/gift/fashion type store and I didn’t want to do the same again. I feel very happy that I am contributing to more people having plants in their lives, and passersby have responded so positively to having some greenery in the Street.
I am no plant expert, but I am a gardener – my first job was in a florist and I have a little knowledge of plants.
TGW: What dream destination do you currently obsess over, and decorate your own home according to?
CH: The sari colours of India, blue & white Greek Islands and peak tropical Tahiti.
TGW: What are you most proud of?
CH: Since opening this new store, I have a lot or people walking in to the store exclaiming out loud ‘I am so glad you are back!’ There has been a genuine outpouring of love for the brand, which is something I can feel proud of.
TGW: And you should. Northcote looks good on you.
Douglas & Hope is trading on Summer hours for the next few weeks. It’s closed on public holidays and open 11am-4pm over the new year period. Visit 283 High Street, Northcote. Toot toot.