With a vibrance that sings and a practical warmth that feels honest and homely, somehow Pip Brett, founder and owner of Orange’s iconic homewares and fashion store JUMBLED, manages to divide her attention as though it’s totally undivided. Her seamless ability to juggle roles within her business and her life is unbelievable. Pip carves out the time whilst in store to be interviewed for a magazine feature article whilst simultaneously giving her friends, customers, and colleagues the smiles, the nods, the affirming comments – all authentic and without a fluster.
Since its beginnings in 2013, JUMBLED has grown to be known by every fun-loving, colour-craving homewares junkie around, both in-store and online. Pip’s beginning days in business with her fashion store, IGLOU, led her to grow and ultimately merge her brands to become a one-stop shop for all things fun!
Growing up in Orange, as a young girl, Pip watched, learned and drew deep inspiration from her Mum, Kezz Brett, as she ran her own clothing store for 25 years. Pip’s natural progression was to study fashion at university, but she knew by the end of her four-year degree she did not want to be a designer but to own her own store.
In the days before online shopping and social media, Pip opened IGLOU in Bathurst with an aim to fill the gap made by those who still travelled to the big smoke to make their fashion purchases.
“I felt there was a really cool young group of people that moved out to the country to start families and jobs that were calling out for that. I thought being in Bathurst, with the Uni, they’d be a great audience.”
Pip soon realised the true essence of her student-based audience; rich in their coolness but poor in their pockets. So, Pip made the move to Orange with a solid foundation – and business started with a bang. After buying her own house and having fun interiors, Pip realised she would love to add this to her business bonanza.
“I kept walking past this other shop and thought, when it comes up for rent, I’ll get it.”
Although it came up sooner than Pip had expected, she jumped on her opportunity. At this point in her life, Pip was a mum to one little boy, Digby, and whilst waiting to hear from the bank whether her loan would be approved for the second shop, JUMBLED, Pip found out she was pregnant with her second boy, Barnaby. A firm believer in ‘if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be’, Pip held her breath and let the journey roll on, saying she would have been disappointed if it had been cut short.
Swaying between hormonal haze and morning sickness, Pip shopped the trade fairs on gut instinct, having not much plan for what might end up in her new store.
“That’s why I called it JUMBLED. I just didn’t know what was going in there – it was scary but exciting.
“When it did open, then it hit me again, you can have one store that’s really successful, but when you’re starting another store, it’s like starting from scratch again – new customers, new audience – here we go again!”
This realisation dawned unexpectedly, but Pip’s natural country resilience and time-built business strength gave her the endurance and fortitude to bear the brutality that comes with opening a new store to public scrutiny. ‘That’s too expensive’ and ‘This won’t work here’ were comments that did not hit Pip as personally the second time around, her determination stronger and her skin thicker.
“I had already committed, and I think with each time, I never thought it would fail. It didn’t cross my mind. I just knew it was the right thing.”
There is no doubt in Pip’s determination and ability to chase a challenge, but she is also clever. Being honest and analytical about her decisions, Pip ensures she follows the direction her business needs.
“I am very quick to adjust things if they are not working. Mum has instilled that in me. Trust your gut and if something doesn’t feel right, fix it – it’s that simple.”
Pip’s mum, Kezz Brett, has influenced Pip’s determined nature as well as her affinity with fashion and with retail. At the age of eight, Pip’s life changed with the passing of her dad and her mum, who had left the teaching profession to begin her own fashion brand, was an amazing beacon of strength to Pip, propelling her business forward in the wake of grief and heartbreak whilst raising her family.
“She was forced to make a real go of that – but for the best reasons. It was our whole childhood.”
After purchasing the Masonic Hall in Orange eight years ago, Pip brought the two brands, IGLOU and JUMBLED, together. This proved to be a game changer and, Pip believes, showed just how supportive the Orange community has been.
“From the second we opened our store, we were so busy. It just went gangbusters from then.”
It made ‘total sense’ to then join the two brands together, creating a one-stop shop for everything fun, joyful, and creative in Pip’s life. And this merriment resonates through Pip as she speaks with her customers and offers her amazing joy-filled service, whilst simultaneously speaking of her store and her business.
“It’s everything that we love,” says Pip, as she becomes ever so slightly distracted by the cutest puppy in Orange entering her store, having to pause for a quick puppy iPhone snap!
In 2019, JUMBLED was recognised during the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago at the Global Innovation Awards (GIA) for Excellence in Retail. It was this recognition that made Pip aware of the true positive influence regional Australia can have on its businesses.
“I had always thought as a country store we weren’t as cool as the city stores, but it made me realise regional stores and businesses are really good at telling their story and being authentic. Regional businesses have personality.”
Drought, ‘Buy from the Bush’, COVID and social media connections have all helped empower regional women to build amazing, creative businesses through which they can curate their own working life.
“There has been a change in women – many women who move to country areas for love need to create something for themselves. We have babies, and women don’t want to go back to work the way they did – they are looking for another way of living, of being more flexible for their families.”
Navigating business life in a small community comes with its own challenges, but Pip admires her fellow business owners and is grateful for the community support she feels and the opportunities this has allowed.
“It’s not all rosy all the time. It is good to separate where your life starts and business ends, because it becomes blurred. It’s really lovely when you find businesses in your community that you can align with as well.”
When it comes to curating her own products for JUMBLED, Pip has a simple, yet effective rule of thumb.
“I l buy the things that I love and that excite me. I think when you see something you just love, I know someone else will love it just as much.”
With JUMBLED’s huge social media presence offering a larger-than-life audience, Pip can afford her choices to be bold.
“We can be more risky in what we do – but it’s purely based on gut.”
It is this gut instinct that has driven JUMBLED to success in its curation of fun products. And it is this, combined with Pip’s determined passion for her work that has helped build the brand, something Pip explains is so important in business decisions.
“There is power in saying no to things, as there is power in saying yes to things. Whatever you do, you have to be fully passionate about it. Be wholeheartedly obsessed. Of course, you can change, but the passion has to be there.”
Pip’s success has been hard earned, and she feels now she is enjoying a great place in her business, with no further ambition to expand the store physically.
“Everything is manageable. We’re able to do really exciting collaborations, and it’s taken a long time to get to this point. But if I can stay where I am, I am not aiming to be massive, I feel happy in the challenge as it is.”
With no plans to expand stores, Pip has a list of love-to-dos to continue to challenge and inspire her. Keep your ear to the ground for more Affordable Art Fairs in new areas, for new JUMBLED brand products, new artists, a new accommodation option in Molong with the transformation of the old Commonwealth bank, and even a new JUMBLED gin to put on your Friday drinks menu!
With such a busy to-do list, it struck me that Pip’s main aspiration for business expansion was in supporting other women in business with such events as The Huddle.
“I want a focus on helping other women in business. I love mentoring people and discovering new things. To give back is lovely.”
In building JUMBLED from the ground up, how has Pip learned? As her little boy would say; “Practice makes better”.
“It’s about trial and error – and practice. Little ideas come and you just have a go.”
As Pip smiles “Hello” to another customer, she offers her advice to those deciding whether or not to take the leap into their own business.
“Just give it a go, you don’t have to start big. Talk to others doing it – most people will give you the time. I love talking to people.”
So, has Pip ever suffered the dreaded ‘imposter syndrome’ that lurks at the edge of every business gathering, every social networking event?
“Yes, definitely. I am actually a really shy person – I would never go in and buy milk as a kid…”
“I’m coming...” she happily mouths to another customer in need of her mid-week joy.
“I’m still so nervous going to a party. But everyone struggles with pretty much the same thing. Everyone’s self-belief is the thing holding them back…”
“Did you just get your braces off? Oh my gosh, wow!” She exclaims her delight for someone else’s happiness, then continues in her stream of wisdom.
“The sooner you realise everyone is the same, you feel quite liberated.”
As Pip juggles her customers and her interview with ease, I ask how she manages her work/life balance.
“You can have it all but you can’t actually do it all. When my business is going well, my family hates me, and when family is going well, my business is probably suffering. But at the minute, I’m in a really nice rhythm.”
Her supportive husband, Nick (builder by trade and affectionately known as ‘Speedy’) and beautiful boys, Digby (11) and Barnaby (9) mean spending time with the family is a recipe for happiness. With both Speedy and herself running at one hundred miles an hour, they work as a team for success.
With all her achievements Pip is now in a space to be able to offer advice; she is someone other women can be inspired by, and still pinches herself a little at this realisation.
“It’s wild.” And sometimes, she thinks, “How is this my life?”
Pip says, “I feel I’ve created a really lovely business that’s enjoyable for everyone to be in and to visit,” and, it’s clear from her social spark that emanates throughout the store, throughout the town, that she is right.
And how is this her life?
Determination, resilience and generosity in her joy.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Determined, energetic and fun-loving.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Strengths - always got new ideas buzzing in my brain
Weakness - I find it hard to switch off and I find it really hard to sleep.
How do you manage stress?
I walk my dog Rosie when I’m stressed - When in doubt, walk it out!
Where will we find you on a Saturday morning?
I am just opening the doors of the shop. I love Saturdays at Jumbled because it is abuzz with happy people.....and I don’t check emails!
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to make TV commercials for Coca Cola.
What’s your favourite quote?
I stole this quote from Jane Cay of Birdsnest. She told me this on stage at our very first Huddle back in 2021 and I would think of it daily. It's life changing.
"When in doubt, be generous."
Monique Lovick (all photos except for The Huddle photo which was taken by Kirsten Cunnigham)
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