WHEN Jess Owen finished university eight years ago, she had a fashion line ready to go, but nowhere to sell it.
Wholesalers and boutique stores weren’t interested, so she decided to open a pop-up shop, Common Ground Creative, in Northbridge, showcasing her label Tea Party at Lucy’s.
“The label was very girly; inspired by what I was studying at uni at the time,” Owen says.
“It was very florally, very girly – yeah I loved it.”
The pop-up shop was a great success and Owen was soon selling her designs in Myer in Forrest Chase, before eventually opening a store in High Street in Fremantle in 2014.
Using a business model popular in Sydney and Melbourne, Common Creative Collective rents space to WA designers and gets commission from their sales.
The store stocks a wide range of locally designed streetwear clothing, jewellery, plants and giftware.
“Even when I was young I was creative,” Owen says.
“I had my first market when I was like 14 or 15 in Jurien Bay and I remember I was selling earrings. I’ve always been making random things.”
While the business has a steady stream of regulars, Owen is worried about the impact online behemoths like Amazon are having on brick-and-mortar retail.
“It’s not a fun time at all. It’s not just retail; everyone in general is quiet. And general foot traffic around the city has definitely dropped. In saying that, we are a destination city so we do get a lot of travellers coming through.”
Common Ground Creative
82 High Street,