Welcome to our first blog post!
For our very first one, we thought a profile of our owner Jodi would be very fitting. After sitting down with the woman herself, here's what we found out.
Jodi has been a lover of fashion her whole life. When did this passion first emerge? As a young, curious girl running through factories filled to the brim with beautiful clothing designed by her mother Maureen's salon clients. See, Maureen was a hairdresser with salons across Ashfield before she opened her own successful store Affordable Decor (on the other side of Croydon station!). Her extensive salon client list included fashion designers who themselves ran successful businesses stocking high-quality, unique clothing. Jodi would reach out as she ran along, feeling all the different fabrics, admiring in awe all the unique styles and patterns she'd never seen before. This was her heaven.
It was this early exposure to clothing that was thoughtfully-made and designed, sustainable and made with high-quality fabrics that signalled the start of Jodi's love of fashion.
Jodi's own fashion retail experience started at David Jones (DJs). Starting out as a casual while completing her law and business degrees, she worked hard learning about all the different labels the renowned department store had to offer. Where were their products made? How? By who? With what materials and where did these materials come from? She was into the details- all of them. Soon enough she climbed up the corporate ladder, settling into the position of manager across multiple DJs stores.
She dedicated 30 years of her life to this! Product knowledge, customer service, retail management, marketing- these were just some of the many skills she picked up and perfected along the way. While she herself had studied business management at TAFE, she knew how invaluable experience was. However, after dedicating most of her adult life to DJs, she decided it was time to retire.
And so she did... but not for long. After retiring from DJs, she had an idea. An idea that would lead to the opening of her own store in the years to follow. Approaching her mother Maureen, who at the time was running Affordable Decor, Jodi asked if she could sell the many different clothes she had collected over the years working at DJs. See, before Affordable Decor became Croydon's most beloved fashion boutique, it was an antiques and vintage homewares store. Successful in its own right, they decided that adding fashion to the stock list was the best decision for the growth of their local empire. So it was! Maureen's store was stocked with elegant and unique formalwear- dressing women from all over Sydney for their formals, weddings, etc. However, after decades of business Maureen decided it was time to retire; and from this, tied in with Jodi's love of fashion, Jodi Maree Fashion was born.
Pictured: Jodi's mother Maureen.
Now running her own boutique, Jodi not only wants to continue Maureen's legacy but create her own. However, more than the fashion, Jodi's core drive comes from her love of people. More than anything else, she values that priceless smile and warmth that comes from her customers after styling them. "When they smile with their eyes... give me a hug... that's priceless to me. I feel rich and rewarded by that feeling more than anything else." Making women feel empowered, comfortable, beautiful, one-of-a-kind. It's the people that keeps her going.
"Fashion is all about emotion!" Personal connection is everything- being able to connect with someone's humanity, give back to the local community- that's what Jodi enjoys most. In fact, she gives back to the community by stocking mostly local Australian designers (all whom are women!) who come from all different backgrounds and carry with them unique stories. Once again, her personal connection with these designers is key. Forming long-lasting, authentic relationships is how her business thrives.
Not only is community vital to Jodi, so is caring for the environment. That's why she is passionate about only stocking sustainable, ethically-made fashion. "We're all about slow fashion, not fast fashion." All designers manufacture their clothes ethically, no sweat shops allowed! Fabrics come from all over- India, France, South Australia. This also includes her stocked skincare and body care products, many of which are made from biodegradable and recycled materials!
Overall, Jodi takes a holistic approach to fashion. Sustainability, ethical manufacturing, local, Australian-made, designed by women- these are key terms she looks for when stocking her boutique. Eventually, she'd love to expand and open a boutique and sell Australian products in Canada. "I find that Canada is a mixture of Melbourne and Sydney". She loves the culture, the french influence and the people (not as much as Aussies of course!).
Finally- aside from the fashion- Jodi is a daughter, a sister and a strong woman who knows all too well the hardships women can face. In her spare time, Jodi is an experienced surfer and horse rider who also loves to roller skate. She was raised alongside two sisters by her single mother Maureen- all of whom she loves dearly. Her idea of tranquility is relaxing at her father's farm in Florida. In particular, being treated to organic, home-made breakfasts and treats and tending to the farm animals. At heart, she loves nature and people... and fashion.
And that's Jodi, the owner of this boutique! We hope you enjoyed reading this blog, please join us each week for a new post as we dive into the ins and outs of our business. x
Pictured: Jodi in front of her boutique- Jodi Maree Fashion.
Written by Melissa Bebbington.