#PerthGirlBoss 11: Caity of Calypso Warehouse

Calypso Warehouse is a local Perth online boutique, soon to be a bricks and mortar concept store, catering to their customers’ every need. Created by local Perth couple Caity & Tim after being inspired after a trip to New York with the idea that gift giving (whether for yourself or someone special) should be stress free, easy and fun. At Calypso Warehouse you can everything from homewares to mens, womens and childrens fashion – making Calypso Warehouse a one stop shop. My favourite thing about Calypso however is the love, enthusiasm and care that Caity and Tim put into their dream business. From the presentation of their stock (you only have to look at the beautifully curated images on their Instagram) to the beautiful packaging of your newly purchased goods which includes wrapping, thank you notes and lollies (yes, sugary treats are included just for the love of your business!) It’s these small details that make Calypso Warehouse stand out from the rest. So recently I talked with Caity about all things Calypso Warehouse and her dreams for that bricks and mortar store so us Perth locals can get to know this budding business more.

Caity #PerthGirlBoss of Calypso Warehouse

Caity, tell me a little about yourself:

I’m Caity. I live a bohemian, coastal kind of life in Fremantle, WA. For the last 10 years, I have been leading a double-life in the corporate world of which I’m itching to escape. I keep joking that once I’m free, I will get a tattoo on my arms and a nose piercing, just because there’ll be no one to tell me off. My partner’s name is Tim. He’s a Carpenter by trade and an all-round nice guy by reputation. Together, we own 2 Kelpies and an online store called the Calypso Warehouse.

What was your decision behind starting Calypso Warehouse?

Tim and I were on a holiday at the end of 2014. We had just come from a little town in Canada called Banff, where everyone was lovely and everything was within walking distance. Fast forward 10 hours and we had landed in the big smoke, the city that never sleeps – New York. We were blown away at how commercialised everything was, at the number of chain stores and at the complete lack of independently owned shops. The little Freo hippy inside of me was having a fit at the thought of all the big CEO’s living it up in the Bahamas while their poor, grumpy employees were working Christmas eve and being paid a minimum wage.  Thankfully we were staying in Brooklyn.

Ah Brooklyn – the peaceful, good vibes, hipster-loving Brooklyn. We spent the day going in and out of little independent stores, chatting to the cashiers and sharing stories about where we were from.  After visiting one store and having a chat with the Californian-born store owner, we ducked across to a little Mexican diner to escape the cold. It was there, while sipping our margaritas (we were on holidays after all!) that we decided this was what we wanted. We wanted to take our own piece of Brooklyn back to Australia with us and turn it into our future.  That night we started our business plan and kept working on it until we got home to Perth. Once we were back here, we set the wheels in motion and Calypso opened online in June 2015.

Calypso Warehouse Pineapples

What does a typical day for you look like?

A typical day starts with the dogs down at South Beach by 6:30am. Breathing in that fresh salt air really helps to set the tone for the rest of the day. We come home, make our takeaway coffees and then head off to our full-time jobs. We’re usually both home by 6pm, where we take it in turns to cook one of our 6 standard meals (2016 goal – take time to be more adventurous in the kitchen!) We sit down to eat, catch up on each other’s day and then work round #2 begins. Whether it be packing up orders, responding to emails, product research (ie. Instagram trawling!) or just doing website maintenance, it’s pretty safe to say that we hardly ever watch TV (although we did binge-watch Making a Murderer over the Christmas holidays…still mind blown). The day usually finishes around 10:30/11pm when we go to bed, wake up and then do it all over again.

Every item at Calypso Warehouse is affordable. When creating your business was affordability for customers a priority?

Yes, absolutely! I’ve always had a $10 rule that I know a lot of my friends have adopted and now swear by. The rule works that for every time you wear an item of clothing, it’s worth $10. So if you buy a top that is $50 then you need to wear it 5 times for it to be worthwhile. Since creating the rule, it has saved my purse countless times and has stopped me from donating items that still have the tags on them…oops!  Originally we had wanted everything in the store to be less than $100 but we made an exception when we started to stock Wrangler Jeans. Given that they are such a wardrobe staple, we figure that they can be splurged on a bit.

We want people to be able to come to Calypso and find a gift suitable for anyone. Given that the average amount a person spends on a present is $40, you’ll find that the majority of our gift items are less than this amount.

Calypso fashion

Describe your everyday style?

My friends would all say that I always wear black, white or grey and they’re probably not too far from the truth. My outfits are usually quite basic and then I layer up with accessories for individuality. Hats are my favourite. A friend of mine said that he knew me for 6 months before he saw me not wearing one. It’s almost as though you see the world (and the world sees you) from a different angle when there’s something on your head.

What clothing item should every woman have in their wardrobe?

A good quality and versatile hat, as above. I was so excited the day I discovered the Lyla and Bo hats that we now stock. They are made from 100% Australian wool and are so affordable and comfortable.  Wear a hat with your best little black dress and you will look and feel a million dollars.

How important do you think it is for Perth women to support local businesses?

The further we venture into this business, the more we realise just how important this is and how important it is that we spread this message. There are certain giant department stores that are killing it in sales at the moment (particularly homewares) because their products are so cheap. The problem is that they are stealing a lot of their concepts and designs from local businesses who just cannot compete with those prices. Ethically, we should be paying that little bit extra and buying the item from the small business who created it in the first place. The sale to a small business is far more important than a sale to the giant department stores (whose CEO’s are all sitting on a beach in the Bahamas, remember!)


The sale to the small business could be going towards a child’s education, a mortgage, it could even be re-invested into another small business. Perth is starting to do really well at supporting the small businesses, which is a huge credit to social media but with that being said I think we still have a long way to go.

 

Calypso packaging

What are 3 things you can’t live without?

Coffee, music and my iPhone (not necessarily in that order).

Finally, what are your future plans, ventures or ambitions for Calypso Warehouse?
2016 is going to be a really exciting year for us. We’re currently looking for a space to open our concept store. There you will find everything that we stock online, plus unique furniture pieces made by Tim, and coffee!! This year we are also focussing on sourcing more locally made items to stock so if you know of any small creatives who are on the hunt for stockists then please get in touch!

 

The Calypso Warehouse concept store will be located in South Fremantle and is due to be opened very soon, so make sure to follow Calypso on Instagram to stay up to date with all their exciting developments!

 

JB xx

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