To celebrate the opening of our brand new concept store, Habitat Collective, we caught up with retail manager, Tracey Woods.
Thanks for your time today Tracey - a simple question to start. Where are you based in Byron Bay?
We live just near the Roadhouse [in Lilly Pilly] on the way to Suffolk Park.
Lovely! How long have you been living and working in Byron Bay?
I’d say three years now. I lived here for about three years over seven years ago, and lived in Tassie in between. I grew up in Tassie and prior to that we lived in Sydney.
When you did start working for Habitat?
I was hired to manage the retail spaces at the Habitat Home and Habitat Woman pop-ups - the management team had already chosen the brands. The brands had been curated when I took it on, and [both stores were] an empty shell and I had to put it together which was the fun part.
What was the attraction of working in a place like Habitat?
Well for me the attraction was A) Byron based. Everybody wants to live and work, and be able to survive in Byron. I mean, I just love living here! And B) it was a new project. I’ve been involved in quite a few new projects in my career, and I love something new that you can be involved in from the very beginning and help build. For me it’s just the neighbourhood that’s been created out here - it’s just great. The people are all lovely, it’s a real little community and I love that.
How does the new Habitat Collective support the ethos of Habitat? The live, work, play concept?
I think originally the brands that were chosen were Byron Bay based brands that whole idea of having local, community, a space for them to exhibit their work was the main thing, so that brought in the makers to the retail front. And for me, I believe that contributes back to the concept of live, work and play. I wouldn’t say we provide stuff that everybody needs within the complex, but I do think that we try to get people to buy local and we try to keep it fresh and change things up. And I think most of the people who visit here have a conscious and they want to buy locally.
What sort of visitors do you see in store?
We have a lot of repeat customers – locals who come regularly to check out what’s new and to say hello, and a lot of regulars because of F45 and Bende. The people that use the community basically, who come out here and have their weekly or daily coffee they come in and say hello. So we get repeat locals but we also get tourists and repeat tourists. We’ve found we get people coming in who were here when we opened and they’re already coming back.
And why wouldn’t you! What brands can we expect to find in store?
East Coast General is one that is really popular at the moment – she does handmade leather goods herself, she lives locally, but she also imports some clothing from the States and Europe. We have The Bare Road which is extremely popular as they don’t have their own space in Byron, we always have people asking for them. St Helena which is amazing – Shannon has done an beautiful job with her new summer range. My General Store which is a fantastic small run of beautifully tailored clothing - the fit in her clothes is just amazing. Las Ninas, the lady who brings in individual Mexican and South American pieces. And that’s just a few! We have 40 plus brands at the moment [which have been a merge from the brands at Habitat Home and Habitat Woman].
Do you have a favourite product within the store?
There are so many beautiful things. I’m always excited about the new brands coming in!
Do you have an insider tip for visitors (or locals) to Byron?
Shop out here! Avoid the traffic – it’s just become so intense. I just think you can get everything out here, You can have a beautiful dinner or lunch. Get on the train and come out here!
Habitat Collective is open Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and Saturdays 10am - 3pm.