JENNIFER Unwin and Rochelle Potts like to think they’ve brought a touch of Byron Bay to Redhead via their new homewares and cafe venture Sea Maiden.
“We've used a lot of white timbers, the [homeware] products I source are natural and raw, we have lots of greenery and it's just cosy,” says Mrs Potts.
Sea Maiden is two businesses in one: a concept store for Villa Lane, the online homewares boutique run by Ms Potts, and Sea Maiden cafe overseen by Mrs Unwin.
The Redhead mums, who met via their children’s pre-school, decided to go into business after throwing around ideas during a family camping trip.
Mrs Potts, who has a banking background, had already launched her online store Villa Lane. Mrs Unwin was looking for a creative career change from teaching.
The pair’s move to combine coffee and homewares was fuelled by a desire to fill a gap in the local market.
“When word got around, everyone was saying ‘Redhead needs this,’ Ms Unwin says. “Even in Newcastle, there no store like ours as far as what it looks like, and crossover of brands.”
The move has paid off, with the business bustling since it threw open its doors in late November.
Sea Maiden’s light menu focuses on healthy and fresh treats, with raw slices and bliss balls by local business Healthy Nourished treats. It serves Glee Coffee Roasters blends and teas and beverages including kombucha and cold-pressed juices.
Villa Lane’s artisan products feature a palette of rattan, sea grass, jute and wood tones and, says Mrs Potts, there is something to suit every budget. She also stocks Moroccan rugs and Turkish ceramics.
The women say they have plans to add linen and jewellery to their wares, and further tweak the menu, and there there is talk of possibly opening as a wine bar on a Friday and Saturday night.
And maybe even opening a bigger store or another with the same business model in another location.
“We are constantly wanting to evolve and always tossing around ideas between the two of us,” says Mrs Potts.