On the west coast of Australia, Mr Sparrow, a shop belonging to Jelena Maticevic, is tucked away on a tree-lined side street off of one of Perth's main shopping strips. A mere forty-seven hours' drive east to the Sunshine Coast, you'll find the town of Cotton Tree, home to Tanya Northey and her shop, The Lovely Bird.
These two shop owners met virtually when Jelena found The Lovely Bird's website and sent her an email.
"When I saw Tanya holding the keys to her shop on her website and her cheerful nature in her (website's) About section, I immediately wrote to her and introduced myself. I can't quite remember what I wrote but something along the lines of 'will you be my shop friend?'"
A bi-coastal friendship was born, nurtured via email and social media. Tanya and Jelena share ideas, collaborate on strategies and commiserate on the challenges of being an independent retailer.
"It's great having someone who is just there to listen, and isn't someone around you who is emotionally or financially invested in your shop. I find Tanya tells me stories I can relate to, rather than trying to give me tips on how to do it better! It's both reassuring, inspiring and motivating all at the same time. Incredible really, given we haven't even met... yet! :)"
We noticed the similarity between these two shops when they both applied to be UPPERCASE stockists within a few days of each other. If you follow their Instagram feeds closely, you'll see this isn't the first time that great minds have thought alike! Both shops carry delightful assortment of home goods, stationery and clothing.