It’s been a busy year for owner Netti Vonthethoff, after creating a series of pop-up shops all over town, but she says she finally feels at home in the historical arcade.
“I was born in Canberra, and there’s just so much history here at Bailey’s – it was the heart of the city,” she says.
“It’s a lot quieter here now, but I hope to be able to bring a bit of a vibe back to the place.”
Netti moved April’s Caravan out of Smith’s Alternative in September, then began renovating her second caravan for the Fringe festival, then went on to pack up her pop-up at Braddon Lifeline shop Hipsley.
Five days later she opened in The Front in Lyneham, then it was Parties at the Shops, the Elvis at 21 farewell party at the Portrait Gallery as part of the Enlighten festival, Hustle and Scout fashion market and the Folk Festival.
“I work with time restraints that are just crazy,” she says. “I take an empty space from no concept to a homely vintage shop in a very short timeframe. People tell me to take my time, but that’s not how it works. It’s fun, but I’m always working against the clock.
“I have regular customers who want to show up at April’s – they don’t always know where to find me, but they do track me down!”
As well as selling vintage clothing, April’s Caravan will also be doing clothing hire from its new home where Mooble used to be.
“The hire is great for people who may not wear the clothes in their everyday life but love to play and dress up for special events,” she says. “I help them organise their outfits and tell them where they can get authentic hair and make-up done.”
Having just packed up the pop-up designer collective Three Little Birds and Little Boy Blue at Hotel Hotel and April’s at The Front, Netti is happy to be putting down roots at Bailey’s.
“I love the community feel here,” she says. “Big shopping centres terrify me, they’re sterile, soul-sucking places.
“In Bailey’s there are tiny little businesses and people doing what they love, delivering a personal touch. Some have been here for almost 50 years, the florist, the bootmaker, the watchmaker. I love that, and I’m so happy to be part of the community here.
“There are still these great little parts of Civic, where there’s so much potential.
“It instantly feels like I’ve landed at home.”