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Meet Johanna McLeod of Montebello Emporium in Camberwell

Meet Johanna McLeod of Montebello Emporium in Camberwell

If you’re looking for stunning gifts, homewares and fashion, be sure to pop into Montebello Emporium in Camberwell.

The Camberwell boutique opened in 2013 and focuses on “luxe for every day”.

“Whether it’s fashion, jewellery, gifts or pieces for your home, we offer something special, luxe and colourful,” store manager Johanna McLeod said.

The store’s strong point is that it offers customers variety – a mix of international and local brands are available, as well as products at a varying price range.

“It’s about offering the best – the nice, unique pieces that people probably can’t find anywhere else. Everyone loves having that one-off piece or those things that are hard to find,” McLeod said.

Fashion items sell particularly well at the store and offers shoppers something different to chain store brands.

Most of the fashion brands that are stocked in Montebello Emporium are independent or boutique labels, such as Cable Melbourne, Alessandra, Catherine Murphy and Arlington Milne.

“We also offer a high-low mix too, including everything from a $500 dress to an $80 t-shirt, so there’s variety. It’s also about offering the unexpected too,” McLeod said.

Montebello Emporium fashion and accessories
Montebello Emporium candles

A personal touch

Offering personalised customer service is of paramount importance at Montebello Emporium, said McLeod.

“Because we have a lot of people shopping for gifts, we know what works for a lot of people so we can suggest appropriate items. Or we find out as much as we can about the person they are buying for and point them in the right direction,” she said.

McLeod said her staff take the time to help customers select complimentary items for the home if they need help with styling or colours, and will also use their knowledge to suggest appropriate gifts.

“Our culture is to offer our customers the best service. We get to know their names and we make an effort to remember what they bought. It’s about starting conversations and making this a space that people want to come back to and feel comfortable in,” she said.

“Gift shopping can be a really stressful experience, especially if it’s for someone you don’t know that well or if you’re shopping for the person that has everything. So, it can be a challenge for the customer and even for us. But we enjoy helping customers find something suitable and wrapping it for them as well. They often feel relieved in knowing that the job is done.”

The Montebello Emporium team constantly work towards improving and learning from each other, and McLeod passes on regular feedback to encourage information sharing and collaboration.

Montebello Emporium clothing
Montebello Emporium gifts and homewares

Creating ‘colour stories’

Montebello Emporium is a beautifully-decorated store, with attractive wallpaper, bright white shelving and mood lighting to make for a truly pleasant shopping experience.

McLeod said a visual merchandiser worked with the store to create “colour stories” to make the space look cohesive yet interesting.

Sometimes the store will have colour-blocked sections, showcasing products from a specific colour palette such as green or pink, while other times they might combine two or more colours to make a themed display.

The idea behind this is not only to look attractive and well-presented but to give customers ideas on how they can style and pair items.

“Visual presentation is something we’re very interested in. We love home decorating… and it gives people inspiration on how they can style our products at home,” McLeod said.

The business keeps a close eye on seasonal and trending colours to inform their in-store colour schemes, and McLeod, who currently studies fashion textiles and merchandising, does a lot of research into colour and style trends which she then shares with the store.

“We also try to use colour to help people find something new and look at something in a different way,” McLeod said.

“It’s about providing somewhere different for them to come to – somewhere beautiful, colourful and stylish. A lot of people say they are looking for inspiration and that’s why they come into the store.”

Visit the store

Montebello Emporium

Rear, 596 Burke Rd, Camberwell

Phone: (03) 9882 2179.

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