Dream team working together in dream job

March 8, 2024 BY

Tess Barnard and Jordyn Smith have brought knowledge, experience and personality to their roles in shaping the Ballarat’s Art Gallery Shop.

IN 2021 amidst shifting lockdowns, little did Tess Barnard know that after relocating from Sydney to Ballarat for her dream job as Gallery Retail Manager, that she was about to meet her ‘professional’ match and style soul sister in right hand wonder woman and Ballarat local, Jordyn Smith.

It didn’t take long for the pair to bond over their shared interests and passions, and three years on, they haven’t looked back.

Both women have been able to bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and personality to their roles in shaping the Gallery Shop.

Their shared foundation in retail, combined with Tess’ fine art and Jordyn’s fashion design backgrounds help give this dynamic duo their edge in this exciting domain.

Being on the same wavelength and having a shared philosophy and vision for the future of the business has been a vital and organic process for the pair, who reflect that, “For all that we can uncannily finish one another’s sentences or train of thought most of the time, we are also very different to each other. But these differences only complement and become part of our strength”.

Museum and Gallery retail is an area that continues to evolve, and this pair’s contribution to that is marked by their quest to source and provide their visitors and customers with unique, local and original products.

When planning a new collection it is not uncommon to hear the two responding to one another’s ideas with “I was thinking the same thing!”.

Yet, because of their unique perspectives they are still able to spring irresistible wildcards on each other which keep their retail offerings fresh, surprising and fun.

Tess and Jordyn enjoy the hunt for new designs.

They share a constant back and forth of Instagram pages, artist websites, or products seen out and about that best fit their store.

While they can’t include all of the designers they love in the shop at once (there are just too many!), they do keep them up their retail sleeves, ready for the right moment or exhibition.

When buying for the shop, Tess and Jordyn are always on the lookout for beautiful Australian-made and/or designed products that showcase a variety of materials and creative practices.

They like to centre their buying around a continually evolving range of local Ballarat designers; whilst also showcasing pieces from across the region and wider Australia whenever possible.

Although Tess and Jordyn try to avoid unnecessarily bringing international designers and brands into the shop, there are exceptions depending on the particular needs of certain exhibitions; such as the upcoming Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency with its distinctive New York flavour.

As well as the temporary and travelling exhibitions, the Gallery’s permanent collection, with its thematic display, also feeds into the choices they make when buying for the Shop as they seek to make connections between them.

This makes for a dynamic and everchanging kaleidoscope of stock, so watch this space – and the equally dynamic women who are shaping it!