“A pop-up is like a babysitting job,” says Sophie Tatlow, one half of the duo behind Utopia Goods, which first opened temporarily inside Ariel Books in 2012. “You love it but you get to give the baby back. A permanent store is more like full-time parenthood.”
Four years and three more pop-ups later, Tatlow, with co-owner (and ex-Mambo creative director) Bruce Slorach, has opened a store on Oxford Street. The pair also runs Deuce Design, a boutique graphic design studio in Surry Hills. But the Utopia Goods store allows them to engage with their customers.
“The permanent base is a great place to build relationships,” says Tatlow. “You can’t underestimate the power of a storefront; our customers and clients can feel, touch and see the quality of the product. People have commented on the colour and handle of the fabric being so beautiful in reality.”
Housed in a heritage terrace, the warm space has worn wooden floorboards, flowers in mismatched vases and the brand’s signature bright, colourful prints. Items celebrating native flora and fauna adorn products such as oven mitts, cushions, silk scarves and rolls of fabric. The centrepiece of the store is an old, French-oak cutting table.
“The shop has beautiful bones, albeit creaky and well-worn. We designed the store around the idea of timber and textiles,” says Tatlow. “We wanted to create something that had an authentic sense of history; the feel of a textile showroom and a home-like atmosphere.”
The space is likely to be redecorated seasonally, so there are no permanent fixtures or fittings.
Utopia Goods’ latest collection, Horizon, has a palette based on the (less obvious) colours of an Australian sunset; greys, lilacs, pale blues and rich, dark reds and takes inspiration from the bush.
“Every single print is inspired by a plant or a historical aspect of Australian history,” says Tatlow. “A sense of place is critical to what we’re producing.”
Next up for the duo is a show in the US and there is talk of designing a hotel in the future.
Utopia Goods 30 Oxford Street, Paddington (02) 9357 4477
Hours: Tue to Fri 10am–5.30pm Sat 10am–5pm