Mary is captain of the Big Dreams team, overseeing all elements of the business and juggling her time between the two stores (and online), her own wholesale business and family life. This makes her one busy woman- but she finds a balance, driven by a passion for innovative quality products and a goal to create a valued retail experience for her treasured customers.
If upon your next visit you’re lucky enough to see her running around in either store she’d be pleased to get to know you personally. If not, here’s a little about her...
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’?
An artist, a painter, mixed media .. A creative.
What is your career background?
After graduating from RMIT textile design I trailed into a career in the industry working for multiple brands in with varying products: bed linen, underwear, fashion etc.
Taking all the experience I gathered during those years, I launced my own wholesale business, and then when the opportunity to purchase a bricks and mortar store came up it seemed like the most natural career progression.
Your work day ritual:
Get the kids to school on time. Coffee. From there, each day is different depending on what’s on with the business. I’ve learnt not to set the schedule in stone as there are always extra things thrown into the mix, and the end of day comes around too quickly! Often before I’ve had a chance to get through the ‘to-do’ list. It’s hectic, but working across the whole business is enjoyable and rewarding.
And it makes the quieter times when I get to return to the shop floor and engage with my customers a real treat.
Best thing about being a part of the ‘Dream Team’?
We are getting better at what we do together by the week! It’s exciting times and the energy is good...
Favourite Big Dreams product?
So hard to pick. So hard! Soopsori large cooking set- It’s ‘so’ Big Dreams...And the Heico bunny lamp... And all our shoes...We have an amazing selection.
Favourite children’s brand?
Pretty Wild- It’s got the perfect balance of classic and fresh. And the liberty prints and hand-smocking are to die for!
How do you juggle family and work time?
Day by day. It’s a constant game of compromise and catch-up. You’ve got to learn to be comfortable with the idea that you’ll never get to the end of the list.
I am thankful that my husband (who also runs his own business) has the flexibility to run around with our older boys to the sporting commitments and my mother is the angel who I lean on for endless help with my youngest (almost-3-year-old) girl.
Coffee helps, too.
On that note: Best coffee in town?
Long black at Siyia, Smith Street (next door to Big Dreams, Collingwood)
What can’t you live without?
My big handbag to carry around far more than I need *cue Mary Poppins visual* And swearing... it’s cathartic. If we had a 'swear jar' in studio, I’d be halfway to the Bahamas by now!
What’s your “big dream”?
Mini department store style children’s emporium in a heritage building. Retail, studio, offices, and a level for the makers, and a level for children to play ..and lots of innovative and interactive things to mix up the retail experience.
That’s the ultimate goal- hopefully we get there before retirement!