Amanda Rayfield rents a studio above Brunswick Street, Fitzroy that’s host to her store Hello Heartbreak. This tiny space on level two of the Brunswick Street Gallery has been transformed into a heartfelt store stocking Amanda’s carefully curated selection of artist wares.
Hello Heartbreak first opened its doors in April this year, but was originally founded in 2015 as an online shop.
“I had been discovering the work of some amazing artists and makers over the years and was feeling really inspired surrounding myself with their work around my own home,” Amanda says.
“I was at a point in my life where I just wanted to be doing something that felt like me.”
The idea of a physical store didn’t come about until five months later, but quickly became a reality when the perfect lease became available on Creative Spaces.
“I was excited to have a little space and meet some of the sweet people who had been supporting Hello Heartbreak and just have everything from the web shop available for people to look at and touch!” Amanda says.
“If I was down at street level, not just in Fitzroy but anywhere, a physical HH space just wouldn’t be possible right now. Hooray for hidden spaces making spaces like HH possible!”
Despite being located in an art gallery and being advertised as an artist’s studio, Amanda immediately saw its potential as a shop.
“It had this amazing arch window. I knew this was the perfect space for HH,” she says.
“…It’s just soooo beautiful. I love the imperfect walls. Some of them look like craters on the moon. It’s not perfect and I love that.”
The store has been set up almost as a series of mini gallery spaces, with each artist’s name displayed alongside their work. Among the artists and labels regularly stocked in the store are People I've Loved, Ghost Goods and Amy Victoria Marsh.
“They are the reason HH exists so you’ll find their name (in holographics!) around the space,” Amanda says.
Items such as pins, prints and cards are exhibited in full view on the store’s shelves and are encouraged to be touched, read and enjoyed. There’s also a mini library of zines from Amanda’s own personal collection for customers to enjoy.
“I like being able to share the things I love by the artists/makers I love, even if I don’t actually stock them at HH,” she says.
“It’s a nice talking point and if someone finds something they like, I’m always happy to share where it’s from!”
Amanda’s lease agreement with the Brunswick Street Gallery allows her to make changes to the space as required, although few works have been needed other than installing glass sliding entrance doors, handmade shelves and hooks.
“I’ve tried to keep things really simple; white walls, birch, gold, holographic and pink,” she says.
Illustrations and a hand painted open/close sign by Peggy Chin of Pey Chi Designs also adorn the store walls.
“Oh how I love her so. Her work is really great and just adds more beauty to the space and represents what HH is all about,” Amanda says.
“The plan was to have a different artist come through each month or so and doodle on the walls [but] Peggy is the first and it’s really hard to say goodbye to those illustrations so I think they’ll be there forever!”
“Plants hold a special place in my heart and the space is slowly becoming overrun with them. They make me happy and hopefully make people feel relaxed and welcomed.”
Amanda’s exotic shorthair cat Mimis (or as Amanda describes her, "my little squishy faced peach”) can also be found in the store on most days, adding further delight to the space.
Ultimately what makes Hello Heartbreak unique is Amanda’s unwavering dedication to her store and its artists. It takes only a few seconds in her store to realise the absolute gratitude she holds for each and every person who enters the space.
“It’s so much more than just a shop to me and doesn’t just exist to sell you something,” she says.
“I’m really passionate about everything in the space and try to stock a lot of artists you don’t find in Australia. I think that makes it special. Plus, Mimis is there so…:)”
Top rental styling tip? Be yourself. Create a space that feels natural and inspiring to YOU. Think about the little details and when in doubt, always add a little pink. Maybe not the best tips for styling, but that’s my best advice!
When I was putting the HH space together I knew how I wanted it to look and feel but far too often would have thoughts of, ‘Yeah but, that’s not how a shop should look. Do it another way.’ Naturally, I ended up going with what felt right to me and the vision I had for the space.
So whether it’s a home or shop, my tip is always go with the heart. Being different is gooood!
What are your most frequently searched home-related terms online? Eeep! I don’t search home related items on eBay/Gumtree. Sorry! BUT I TOTALLY SHOULD.
What are favourite furniture and homewares stores? Hands down Mr Kitly in Brunswick. The BEST. So inspirational SO beautiful. Never fails to make my heart skip a beat.
What’s the best thing about renting? Thank god for renting! Being able to set up shop within amazing spaces that aren’t for sale or you couldn’t afford to purchase. Having the freedom to move around, to pick up and start somewhere new. That’s pretty great. And exciting.
Hello Heartbreak. Level 2, 322 Brunswick Street Fitzroy. www.helloheartbreak.com