Charming, bespoke and very, very tempting are a few adjectives that come to mind when describing the gorgeous home, gift and kitchenwares shop Belinda Janes. Located in the heart of Ashburton's café scene in Melbourne since 1993, this family-owned store caters to life's big moments (engagements, weddings, christenings) as well as to the little ones. It also does a roaring trade online via its website www.belindajanes.com mailing to tens of thousands Australia-wide and around the world and is now set to expand even further with the launch of it's -total gift giving service'.
This new gift giving service means that customers can choose from any of Belinda Janes 4000 + gift lines, and then have their gift professionally gift wrapped with a personal message and delivered to the gift recipient. All parcels are tracked so customers can see when the gift is received. The wrapping service is totally free (there is a $10 flat rate for postage or free postage for gifts over $100), making this an ideal service for anyone whose time is at a premium. Belinda Janes also arranges for Australian customers to have their gifts sent internationally, which is very popular at Christmas time. For the lucky people who live in Melbourne, gift-wrapping is also available in store (just ask!) as well as for all phone orders.
Belinda Janes is the brainchild of Belinda Whiting. She launched the store over 20 years ago and although relatively small in size, its reputation and market share is comparable to some of the leading department stores Australia wide. Belinda Janes store and belindajanes.com are able to offer a huge range of stunning products from designer cutlery, china and glassware to fun children's bakeware and contemporary cookware classics. Belinda Janes also offers the same if not more competitive prices on its products, making them viable competition for the larger homeware stores such as Sydney's Peters of Kensington and leading department stores.
Belinda Whiting has become a homewares expert through her years of experience building one of the most successful homewares stores in the country. She knows what works for each demographic and for each occasion. 'Ashburton is an eclectic neighbourhood," she says, 'we have traditional -old money' customers who live side by side very happily with younger new-to-the-area families. And online we have clients ranging from miners and their partners in Western Australian to high school teachers in Tasmania. We cater to all budgets (items range from $1 to $100s), tastes and all life stages and of course to all the big and little milestones in life that make it so special. We are a family owned business – I run it with my life partner Mark and we have three small children and everything we do is from the heart. I honestly believe that's why we have been so successful.
'We also know and love each thing we sell here because we are old-fashioned retailers. There is a real relationship with each item because we have chosen it with care and much thought. I think that is another reason why people love Belinda Janes."
'Our reputation for quality homewares is far reaching and the Belindajanes.com word is certainly -out'", confirms Mark Phillips, Belinda's husband and business partner.
So what to buy?
'Belindajanes.com is ever evolving and we constantly refresh and change the products online – so our clients always have new items to view," comments Belinda. 'It's hard to recommend any one item over another but here are a few ideas and links if you are shopping for a gift for a major life event:
Milestone birthday for 30, 40, 50 and 60somethings (and those fabulously beyond of course!: Spode
Eden By Portmerion
Belinda Janes store in Ashburton, Melbourne is open six days a week, whilst Belindajanes.com is open for business 24/7, 365 days a week! For more information, stunning gift ideas and insights visit www.belindajanes.com. Become a facebook fan an at www.facebook.com/BelindaJanesGifts
Belinda Janes Background
Melbourne couple Belinda Whiting and Mark Phillips juggle their uber-successful Belinda Janes Homewares shop and their equally flourishing online store, with a busy family life that includes three young kids, and they wouldn't change it for the world!
The start of something special
At 19 years of age, Belinda Jane Whiting started selling aromatherapy products at a local market in Melbourne. From there, Belinda's passion for retailing, coupled with a good 'gut feeling" and a small business loan, led her into taking on a lease for a shop and stocking it with objects of beauty, elegance and usefulness...and so the shopfront store Belinda Janes, located in the Melbourne suburb of Ashburton, was born! This year sees Belinda Janes celebrate 18 years of successful trading.
A love story that works
Mark and Belinda's personal story is as successful as their business story. Childhood sweethearts and now self-confessed soul mates, Mark and Belinda operate in well oiled tandem. Their roles in life overlap and entwine quite harmoniously as they bring up their three young children, Cleo 2, Tyler 6 and Lainey 8 and work together in their thriving business. Work-life balance is a reality for both Belinda and Mark, because they truly love their day to day job descriptions and are of course passionate about their family. The dynamic Whiting-Phillips duo thrive on wearing many, many hats, and when one is at home tending to the children and the domestic duties, the other is at work, either in the store or online or dispatching and organising the warehouse! Belinda and Mark confess their days are long and intense, whilst being full of fun and successful fruition, and when asked, they honestly wouldn't change a thing!
A recipe for family life
In the Whiting-Phillips home, the French provincial style kitchen is quite literally the most-loved 'engine room". On any given day, one may find Mark baking a batch of scones for the children's afternoon tea, while at night the domestic goddess baton is passed to Belinda, as she is the one to prepare the evening meals for the family. They eat well and belief in fresh and healthy fare – their garden is full of vegetables, herbs and fruit bearing shrubs and their children are involved from planting to picking, and like their mum and dad, enjoy the fruits of their labour! 'I think my love of cooking and great food is one of the drivers behind my love of good kitchen and tableware. It all makes for a successful recipe for life," says Belinda.
A mark of achievement
Mark and Belinda's own personal style very much reflects Belinda Janes'; it's a classical, wholesome style where old melds into modern and a sophisticated take fuses with a simple ethos. Belinda Janes and Belindajanes.com is more than an online business and brick and mortar store retailing beautiful objects of desire and practicality. Belinda Janes is a family-run business, operating on honesty, sincerity and above all quality. It's also about love. A great love for the things that matter in life.