Livingetc flourishes with Mel at the helm
Taking ownership of Livingetc two years ago is something Melissa Andrew describes as a dream come true and a challenge she was ready to relish.
An interior designer with experience in visual merchandising and retail management, Mel was working for the Belmont store when the owner pulled her aside and asked if she would be interested in taking over the business.
“My response was ‘absolutely yes’,” she recalls.
“This dream finally became a reality just as the pandemic hit in 2020.
“Taking on any business at this time was a considerable risk, but this proved to be a monumental period of growth beyond anything I could have imagined.
“It really gave me a huge feeling of gratefulness for the trust our customers put in our products at such an unknown time.”
Mel says she initially intended to find her feet in the business for 12 months before making any changes but that quickly changed when Livingetc became her baby.
“I’m not sure who I was kidding,” she laughs.
“Four weeks in, and we started renovations – walls were built, walls removed and plenty of painting.
“Our store is now made up of three large showroom spaces showcasing an extensive range of furniture, lighting, art and homewares.
“In December last year, we also gave the exterior a facelift. The famous pink sheep had finally had its day with a freshly painted building and new window graphics.”
Interior design is at the heart of Livingetc which is also a haven for lovers of quality furniture, lighting, art and homewares.
To step inside the store is to be greeted with a carefully curated range of sofas, armchairs, rugs, tables, chairs, stools, homewares and beautiful artworks which
set off the space.
The High Street store stocks an array of major brands including GlobeWest, Molmic, Moran, Harbro, Ethnicraft, Hermon Hermon Lighting, The Rug Collection, Tribe, Casey Burrill Art, The Baker Collection, Bonnie and Neil, Citta, Mulberi, Marmoset Found and Indigo Love.
“The showroom is our mood board for our customers, helping them visualise the layout, furniture placement and colour palettes.
“I love that people can bring in their house plans or show me through their homes which allows us to use our knowledge to create the perfect space for our clients.
Livingetc’s reach extends beyond the Geelong and Surf Coast regions to customers all over Australia.“We’ve furnished homes off-the-plans throughout Victoria, including Melbourne, Ballarat, Lorne, Colac and the Mornington Peninsula.
“We are currently working on projects in Byron Bay and the Gold Coast.”
Mel says they are constantly planning and researching new items to ensure they offer clients a wide variety of looks.
“We have five new sofa designs arriving in the showroom in the next few weeks,” she says.
“We are also working on some beautiful custom pieces from our Australian-made furniture suppliers in Melbourne, using amazing fabrics from our wide variety of fabric houses.”
Mel’s personal style is “relaxed contemporary style with a punch of colour”.
“I really believe colour can bring a space to life and evoke a feeling of happiness and contentment,” she says.
“I love so many styles and don’t feel much need to be strict with one kind.
“Clever use of beautiful furniture pieces and textured fabrics paired with accessories can create a beautiful, cohesive space.”
Mel is proud to know that customers who walk through the doors of Livingetc are in good hands thanks to her team of nine who represent a diverse skillset ranging from interior designers to visual merchandisers and administration.
“Our customer service, interior design skills and product knowledge are second to none,” she says.
“In particular, Ken Rawson deserves a shout out. He is our store manager and has been part of Livingetc for 18 years.
“His wealth of knowledge is second to none, and he is literally furnishing the children’s homes of some of our longest-standing clients.
“This makes me feel proud and strengthens my belief in Livingetc’s future.”
Livingetc is located at 98A High Street, Belmont, and opens Tuesday to Friday from 9am – 5.30pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm (Monday by appointment).