Many of the ladies of Singleton will know Amy Parry from her days as the manager of the Singleton branch of Susan.
Now she’s branched with her very own boutique, Willow.
Adding to the recently revitalised John Street, Parry is urging Singletons to shop local. She puts her money where her mouth is by stocking only Australian brands.
Can you tell us about your very fashionable career?
I managed the Susan store in Singleton for four years before it closed last August. It was a long-held desire to open my own store. However, if Susan hadn’t closed, I’d probably still be there. I then worked at a store called Elm in Maitland. They’ve had a substantial online presence for the last couple of years, and now they’ve gone into bricks and mortar stores. While they design their clothes, they also support many Australian labels on the accessory side of the business. It spurred me on to open my store sooner than I expected. I’ve taken all the things that I thought were great about Susan and Elm to create Willow.
Where did the name Willow eventuate?
I grew up on a farm near Armidale, and there was a lovely old Weeping Willow tree. It was my favourite tree and has always meant a lot to me. My husband and I were married next to it and signed our registry certificate underneath it. We then moved to Singleton as my husband was on a six-month mining contract. We’re still here 17 years later!
Amy, I adore that you’re throwing your support behind Australian labels. What’s Willow’s ethos?
Everything that I have stocked at Willow is Australian owned. I believe it’s essential to buy from Australian companies to aid the Covid recovery. Also, I can ring up and make an order, and it can be here in two days. So I’m not waiting on anything coming from overseas. All the labels that I have chosen are very ethical and transparent about their purchasing pathways. Our leading brand would be Eb&Ive, dedicated to fashionable, comfortable women’s clothing. We also stock the gorgeous Adorne, which is all a hundred per cent cotton or a hundred per cent linen, and also comes in a very relaxed fit.
So, after a season of trading, who would you say was your typical customer?
Most of my customer base is probably from the 35 to 55-year-old age group. However, whether you’re a fashionable young 20-year-old or one of our fabulous stylish older ladies, you’ll find something you love. We have customers coming in regularly from Scone and Pokolbin. These women love quality and want something that’s going to last. I’m not a takeaway fashion kind of person. I would rather spend a bit more, buy quality and have something that I know will last and always be in fashion rather than something that you’re going to look at next year and say, ‘that is so last year’!
What would be your favourite piece at the moment?
I’ve been selling the perfect denim coat, made by Adorne, which can also be buttoned up and worn as a dress. It also comes in linen. I also have fantastic handbags. Our Arlington Milne range features leather bags and wallets in gorgeous colours. We have another non-leather range called Elms & King. I’m carrying some beautiful candles by Georgie Porge, a local girl from Singleton, who handmakes her candles. I’m also stocking candles by Murphy and Daughters, which is another Australian success story – they shot to fame on Oprah’s Favorites List.
What’s the response been to Willow so far?
It’s been amazing, especially from my old customers from my Susan days. The first week we just about sold out all the Eb&Ive, and I had to scramble to get more stock. It’s still a little challenging to get Singleton people out onto the main street. A lot of people still shop out of town and aren’t aware of the fabulous shops here. It has changed a fair bit over the last year or two. We’ve gone from the main street having so many empty shops, to no empty shops, which is brilliant. Many of the people running the lovely stores on John Street once managed bigger chain stores. Now we can do our own thing and keep things unique and exciting! We’re getting many people from out of town coming to shop and eat. It’s great being part of it.
Follow Amy and Willow on Instagram. Or better still, pop into Willow at 120 John Street, Singleton.