|George and Josh of Little Love and Happiness pop-up store, Robina Town Centre|
A small haven of lovingly curated goods, featuring sweetly scented soy candles, stationery, cushions, silver dress rings, arty magazines, and a vibrant display of flowers, it is curated by Georgina 'George' Townley, 29, an English lass and florist by trade who looks like Kate Middleton.
Together with Josh, her business partner, a painter and candle maker, George owns a store by the same name at Burleigh Heads, a flower/furniture/homewares fusion proffering "whimsical retail therapy, quirky vintage finds and special flowery treats". Sadly, they will soon be shutting the door.
"It had become more of a museum," says George. "People would come in and say, 'I love it, I love it' and then walk out. As much as it's lovely, we still needed money to keep buying flowers. I didn't ever do it for money, but it needs to make enough to stay open. We don't feel like we failed; we will continue online."
All the love and happiness in the world will simply not convert to sales when people's pockets are empty, their purses lacking plenty. Alas, small businesses like A Little Love and Happiness could be saved with this year's budget provisions, including a loss carry-back scheme and asset write-off up to $6500, though there is no across-the-board company tax break.
"This will support businesses when they need it — providing an injection of funds to invest in new ideas, equipment and markets," said Treasurer Wayne Swan in his Budget delivery last night. "So a café on a tourist strip can get the funds they need to refurbish or keep on valuable staff, so they're ready for when conditions pick up."
But while the store front will no longer have a permanent street-front residency, George will attend to her floristry and wedding and event styling.
"We're going to do some pop-ups and markets, but mainly I'm doing weddings and events," she says. "I've got two tiny kids, aged three and six, so I need to get some work. As it turns out, it was just too quiet where we were and I was spending too much time away from the kids. I love doing weddings anyway. We do flowers and hire out all our bits and pieces as well."
As for the Little Love and Happiness brand, it will remain as a Facebook page, blog and online store, all outlets for connecting with community and generating income without costly rental overheads. One of George's recent status updates links to fellow store Lark's call to support independent Aussie retailers.
The Mother's Day pop-up store itself requires some flexibility, as George and Josh pack up the artfully arranged goods and bunches of pink, violet, lavender and peach flowers each night, throwing a tarp over the tables, and start early each morning.
"This two weeks that we've been here, my mum has had the kids, thank goodness," says George. "To sort them out in the morning and get them to school, I wouldn't get to do it. Something like this, where it's full-on for two weeks, I could maybe do two or three times a year. Maybe Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Christmas."
An enterprising economic model born of necessity but accommodating both mum and kids? The shuttering of the permanent store could very well be a well-disguised blessing.
A lively discourse with a lady who buys a ring for her daughter and a candle ensues, giving George a couple more morning sales (as with the store, many people fawn over the offering and then walk on by). When Josh returns he and George begin to label their heavenly scented soy candles for display, the perfect accompaniment to a bunch of flowers for mum this Sunday.
The Little Love and Happiness pop-up store is located at Robina Town Centre, near the colossal Apple store.
Phone: (07) 5576 4667
Store: Shop 1, 37A, Tallebudgera Creek Road, West Burleigh