Meeting other ‘go getting’ women and learning about their journey to where they are today is one of my favourite parts of running Melbelle. As we continue to build the brand, I can’t wait to meet more of our readers, learn about what adventures life has taken them on, what their passions are and, of course, to see how they style our products. This month we caught up with business partners and best friends Augusta Hope and Claire Raper. If you’ve scrolled through our recent lookbooks, there’s a good chance you’ll have already spotted a few pics of Gussie (Augusta) in her signature western x prairie style. I caught up with the dynamic duo to learn their story of why and how they decided to set up a gift shop and floristry business together. Enjoy!
Outfit details (on Gussie): Melbelle x Nevada Hats Snakeprint Gambler Hat
HOW DID THE BRAND AUGUSTA HOPE BEGIN AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO START THE BUSINESS?
As friends we shared a love of flowers and being creative, we both wanted our own business, so the idea sparked. We always wanted to offer luxury whilst still being obtainable. We really feel we have achieved that.
THE BRAND HAS EVOLVED CONSIDERABLY OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS; WHAT IS OFFERED UNDER THE AUGUSTA HOPE BRAND TODAY?
Today we now have our fabulous shop, we offer not only gorgeous flowers and lavish wedding arrangements, but we offer bespoke funeral pieces, and our shop is packed with a lovely range of homewares and gifts from cookery books and baskets, to aprons and gardening tools.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
We both adore being creative and having our own business allows us to be in control of that. We also adore the buying side of the job, choosing the homeware ranges for the shop and picking out the flowers we are going to stock each week. It allows flexibility and choice in our day and the decisions are our own.
WHAT VALUES DO YOU HOLD CLOSE TO HEART WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR BUSINESS?
Generosity and quality are stand out values for us, we are always looking to give back and support others, whether it is taking flowers to a nursing home to be enjoyed after an event or helping out a fellow friend in business we are very much about collaborating and working together. Quality of course in what we do and what we stock in our shop, we don’t stock products in the shop unless we would buy them ourselves, which can become a problem as we always want our shop stock.
WHERE WILL BE YOUR FIRST HOLIDAY DESTINATION POST-PANDEMIC? AND WHAT ARE THREE ESSENTIALS YOU’LL BE PACKING?
Well, I (Gussie) have a deep-rooted love of the Isle of Wight, I won’t be heading abroad this year so I will be hopping aboard a ferry to visit one of my favourite places. As long as I am by the sea, I am fairly happy and having been going to the Isle of Wight my whole life it feels like a home away from home where I can really relax. Claire will be hopefully jetting off to Greece in September, she goes every year to stay in a beautiful little spot to relax and always comes back with a fabulous tan! We always over pack so we can’t limit it to 3. Maybe a sunhat!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE FLOWER?
Favourite flowers are such a tough choice, I would say they can change almost daily. We both have a similar style and taste, so Astrantia is a popular choice for us, along with Ranunculus, garden roses and Scabiosa. We love anything that looks natural and wildflower in style.
WHAT CLOTHING ITEM WILL YOU BE LIVING IN THIS SUMMER?
We are both a fan of a of a floaty – what I would call a prairie style dress so very much on brand with Melbelle. For work we are mostly in a pair of jeans though.