SEASONAL CONCEPTS REDFERN
We sat down with Ken Wallis from Seasonal Concepts Redfern, one of our favourite stops on our Chipper-Red Tour, to chat all about the ethos of his beautiful and unique space...
Tell us a bit about Seasonal Concepts? What inspired you to start Seasonal Concepts?
I was disenchanted with 20 + years in Human Resources and with some soul searching decided to reinvent myself and work with things I love - old wares and flowers. Our first experiments were in our, then, apartment in Surry Hills. We dressed the apartment up and started inviting a range of people in for dinner to gauge their reaction. The response was good and that was the green light we had hoped for. Seasonal Concepts evolved and largely reflects my childhood. Last year we made a short film called “Ode to Flo” which will give you the essence of Seasonal Concepts.
The shop is visually breathtaking and smells wonderful. Tell us a bit about the space and your floral services.
The shop was built in 1856. It was originally a house with a backyard. It was bought in 1926 by an Engineer who turned the backyard into his workshop and lived in the house. The building was derelict when we found it but its bones were exactly what we were looking for! I never tire from seeing the surprised look on customers faces when they come into the shop for the first time.
We aim to provide a personalised floral service. We provide a range of in-season fresh flowers each day and encourage our customers to get involved in the creation of their floral arrangements. We are fans of both Australian grown flowers and foliage and Australian Natives.
How did you start this collection? And what do you look for when collecting?
Start? The collection is constantly evolving. We have new items, large and small, arriving every week. When we started we focussed on pre-1950s with an Australian bent! And we still collect with this in mind. We also look for items that can be useful, decorative and exude their own story. In saying that we do not restore items. We clean them and make them fit to sell.
Redfern has undergone a lot of change in the last few years. How has the evolution of Redfern changed your space?
When we arrived in Redfern 8years ago. Customers rang and asked is it safe to park on Redfern Street? Five years later Customers rang to ask, “When can I get a park in Redfern Street?” Now its “How long will it take me to get to Redfern?. We have evolved to be a destination shop. Yet on the other hand we are very much a “local business”. The size of houses & apartments continues to get smaller and outdoor areas have all but disappeared in the inner suburbs of Sydney. This has greatly changes the size and type of stock we now sell.
At Culture Scouts we are passionate about showing tour goers local gems in Sydney's most unique precincts. How have people responded to your space on our Culture Scouts Chipper-Red Art & Food tour? How does your space benefit from its inclusion in such tour?
I never tire of the look on peoples faces as they enter the shop for the first time. As they leave the Street behind and enter the world of Seasonal Concepts - the smells, the light, the multitude of objects, the layers and infinite detail both large and small. Its a complex recipe! The response is always very positive. We benefit from tours in many ways. I have a new and often diverse captive audience in my shop! I can gauge what interests them and what does not. I am able to answer a multitude of questions that would never be asked or addressed on-line or via social media. I can promote the business, the neighbourhood, Sydney and Australia. We do make small sales. But its the word of mouth referral by tour group members to their friends & colleagues that has resulted in further sales that has really surprised me. Its a win win experience!