Angelene Bourne first dreamt up her vintage-inspired children’s clothing boutique while smocking her daughter’s Christening gown… and that was just the beginning! Fifteen years on, Angelfish Dragonfly now boasts a beautiful shopfront in The Precinct, is a favourite stop for visitors at the weekly Cotters Markets and continues to sell clothing and gifts throughout the country via their online shop.
Tell us about yourself and Angelfish Dragonfly.
Angelfish Dragonfly is a beautiful baby and kids boutique situated in The Precinct, Idalia. We are a locally-owned small business run by myself – Angelene, my husband Stephen and daughter Charlotte.
We started as a little online store in 2008 with only six products and began attending the local markets to get our name out there. We opened our shop in The Precinct just over two years ago, and this year we are celebrating 15 years in business, now stocking over 3000 products which we sell in the shop, at Cotters Markets, and nationally via our website!
We like to champion small business brands and look for fairtrade, ethically made products wherever possible. We love brands with a conscience and stock clothing, gifts and toys for newborns (including premmies) up to 16 years for girls and boys. Angelfish Dragonfly also believes strongly in supporting local, and we stock a number of local and Australian-based brands and products that you won’t find elsewhere, and customers come to us seeking something unique and special as gifts for their little ones.
On top of the day-to-day activities of running the shops, during the holidays my daughter and I host our very popular craft classes, and the kids (and us!) have such a wonderful time!
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting/owning Angelfish Dragonfly?
There have been so many challenges and hurdles throughout the years, I have probably had them all! Every year there is something to contend with. We started in the Global Financial Crisis (2008) as an online store, and we are forever needing to pivot with where we are marketing geographically due to catastrophic weather events that affect our sales (e.g. fires/floods/etc).
During Covid, there was a period when we couldn’t operate our market business so instead began handmaking fabric face masks and supplying them wholesale to an eco store in Brisbane, as well as to locals in Townsville. I earnt enough to finally afford an industrial sewing machine! This allowed me to reduce my price as production became much faster.
One of my biggest challenges though, is as a mother and wife. Finding enough time for family is very difficult and ‘mother guilt’ lurks. This year has been a tough year and while I have outsourced many admin jobs in the past, I have taken on these responsibilities and do all the marketing for the business myself, to help cut costs. Finding the right staff is a tricky one!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I am also a woodwind music teacher. I love teaching music to children! I teach in the Catholic schools two and a half days a week. Being a musician allows me to be able to juggle the two careers because music helps your brain to be able to process and handle different activities. I do like to educate my new parents [in the shop] about the benefits of learning a musical instrument and the importance of encouraging a love of music from an early age. I love the variety and so often my customers will say that they can tell I am a teacher when interacting with the children in store.
I also think being a musician lends to me being creative, and I have won several fashion awards earlier in my career.
What is the best piece of career or business advice you have ever received?
Find solutions to peoples’ problems: if you can help them with an outcome, they will come back and support you.
People used to complain that they couldn’t find a decent hat for their babies and children, and so I now stock the largest range of hats in town!
Also, in the process of helping customers, learn your customers names, get to know them and the buying experience will be an enjoyable one, they will be impressed that you remember them and be more inclined to return.
Going forward, what is next on the cards for Angelfish Dragonfly?
I am aiming to increase my staff so that I can off-load some of the administration tasks such as website management, and marketing to give me back some time. I would like more time for family and to work on my business, not just in it.
If you are looking for a special gift, please visit us in store at The Precinct or online at www.angelfishdragonfly.com.au.
Main image – Angelene Bourne, Head Dream Creator at Angelfish Dragonfly.
Images Credits – All images supplied.