Frankie Says Relax

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From its humble shipping container days out the front of a local cafe, to now two delightfully filled locations, Frankie Say Relax is just that - a serene store to pot into for a friendly chat, get some expert advice and admire the collection of quality products. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your favourite thing about owning and running Frankie Say Relax?

I live in a recently renovated (nearly finished anyway - its a work in progress!!) 1960’s modernist house in Highton with my husband Nathan, 4 children and a cat named Perkins. I have always loved art and design and being able to start and run Frankie Say Relax is a dream come true. I really enjoy the freedom of owning my own business. I enjoy the daily interactions I have with my lovely customers who come into Frankie and through this I have developed some really great friendships along the way. I enjoy sourcing and discovering new products. Its always so much fun when new stock arrives, unpacking those boxes sometimes feels like Christmas! I love being able to style a space and enjoy getting the shop looking just the way I want it. There is nothing more satisfying than standing back after a reshuffle of the shop and thinking ‘Yes!’


How did Frankie Say Relax begin? And how has it developed into the store we know and love today?

It had always been a long held ambition of mine to have my own shop. Firstly I felt I needed to educate myself to give me the confidence to move forward so I studied interior design. Then came the shop bit, it started off very small (in a shipping container in fact!!) but steadily from these humble beginnings it has grown. A few moves to different locations in the early days, finding the shop in Manifold Heights, opening a print gallery upstairs and then recently taking on the shop next door doubling the size has given me the room to move forward with not only the store itself but with a new and improved website which will be launching very soon. Then only weeks ago opening a second store in Torquay. There have been many ups and downs, lots of hard work and steep learning curves along the way but it has all been worth it - I have managed to make a dream a reality.


How do you go about curating and sourcing your products?

As time has progressed i have a developed a certain aesthetic for ‘Frankie’ that seems to be working. I have come to the realisation that you can't cater to everyone, you have to be true to your own taste and style. I find that if you truly love something and have passion when you speak about it customers seem to respond. If I wouldn't have it in my home then I won't stock it in the shop - thats basically how it works! I try to attend trade shows and showings but I also find Instagram, magazines etc a great source of inspiration for sourcing new products. Trends change constantly and although this is definitely something I need to be mindful of I also feel I need to have a strong sense of my own aesthetic - this seems to be working, I attract customers that share a similar style.


What are three key things to remember when styling your home?

I always tell customers when they come into the store feeling a little overwhelmed with the huge task of decorating an entire room or sometimes an entire house is to choose one piece that you absolutely adore - it could be a rug, a piece of art or even a cushion. From this one decision I feel that a palette can be decided upon (without being too matchy-matchy of course!!) and like a puzzle it will fall into place. Just find that one thing!!! I also tell people to slow down, don't try to decorate an entire home all at once, let it grow organically. Find pieces that you love, that will stand the test of time. I personally love a mix of styles, second hand pieces mixed with the new. I love when a home tells a story. Storage is a biggie! Having 4 kids and knowing the chaos that comes with life I cant recommend having storage enough. Sometimes all it takes is a new basket put in the area that ‘stuff’ accumulates, this can make such a difference to the feeling of calm in a home.


Where would you like to see Frankie Say Relax in the future?

I feel like so much has happened recently, opening the print gallery upstairs, doubling the size of the Geelong store, opening the new store in Torquay have been not only quite the achievements but have been a lot of work too. Slowing down a little, seeing more of my family are big on the agenda at the moment. We will be launching the new website soon then I want to consolidate, take stock of what I have achieved and concentrate on doing that well…. for the time being anyway


For locations and store information check out the Frankie Say Relax website.  Next time you stop by the Manifold Heights store, make sure you check out the print shop upstairs - it's a must see!

Ainsley and Kat