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The Fyshwick op shop where you can find Gucci, Chanel and more

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 21/03/2019 Megan Doherty
a man and a woman standing in front of a store: Designer Op Shop Emporium owners Taylor and Sharyn Pitsilos. © Elesa Kurtz Designer Op Shop Emporium owners Taylor and Sharyn Pitsilos.

Sharyn Pitsilos has seen plenty of double takes from people filling up with cheap fuel at the Metro petrol station in Fyshwick as they spot her glamorous store across the road.

She and daughter Taylor manage the Designer Op Shop Emporium, which for more than five years was in Braddon as the Designer Op Shop but moved to Fyshwick in June last year.

It is  a collective of  12 local small businesses specalising in vintage and modern fashion and interior; where you can pick up anything from a pair of Vivienne Westwood heels to a house plant, all under the same roof.

a glass of wine on a table: Some of the stock at Designer Op Shop Emporium. © Elesa Kurtz Some of the stock at Designer Op Shop Emporium.

And the petrol station is where many people get a first glimpse of the enticing emporium.

"I've seen mums come across the road to have a look in the shop while they leave the dad filling up," Mrs Pitsilos said, with a laugh.

The move to Fyshwick was motivated by pragmatism, they could expand while affording reasonable rent.

They are located in an airy, 400 square metre  space, fairy lights strung across the ceiling, in a building that was once home to Crowes Curtains for 35 years.

There are plans to install a coffee shop and florist in the front section of the shop within the next couple of months.

"We've had an amazing reaction, people love it," Mrs Pitsilos said.

"They keep coming back. They tell their friends, their family about us. They are pretty much blown away.

"Which gives us a thrill, to see people engaging like that."

Taylor, 26, says the appeal of the emporium is obvious.

"Because it's unique," she said.

"People want beautiful things, quality things. Something they can't find anywhere else. That's not in the Canberra Centre."

It's beyond the ordinary op shop. And luxury designer goods are in high demand from their clientele, which often spot the finds on social media.

"Chanel, Hermes, Gucci, if I have it, I have it for a couple of hours and then it's gone," Taylor said.

"Canberra is very excited about that because we don't have the high-end, luxury boutiques that other cities have."

The traders include Blissimo, which is  also the sole outlet for the Cire Trudon luxury candles.

The emporium buys in goods which meet its requirements and on consignment.

"We get some beautiful pieces. We've all got a good eye," Mrs Pitsilos said.

"We do come across some really amazing pieces but they're all one-offs. So once they're gone, they're gone. It changes the shop up. There's always something new."

The mother-and-daughter team say Fyshwick is a good place to be.

"The rents are reasonable, that's why we're here. We couldn't grow otherwise," Mrs Pitsilos said.

"By being a collective, we're also small businesses helping other small businesses."

Taylor said: "We're still in the heart of Canberra, it's not as if we're far away. It's great to have 400 square metres that's not in the middle of Woop Woop."

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