The Beatuiful You op shop at Bokarina has cool vintage scenes set up for their resale of preloved goods. Staff- Louise Millar always dress to suit the occasion.
The Beatuiful You op shop at Bokarina has cool vintage scenes set up for their resale of preloved goods. Staff- Louise Millar always dress to suit the occasion. Patrick Woods

Retro Coast store reinvents the op-shop experience

DESIGNER dresses, funky shoes, antique and retro furniture, handbags worth hundreds of dollars.

Step inside the Sunshine Coast's newest op-shop and you'll feel like you're in a scene from a women's magazine.

Small arrangements of tables and chairs are assembled tastefully throughout the shop, and a piano rings out tunes as musical shoppers give it their best.

The inviting new 1200sq m space is full of light and variety, thanks to the design inspiration of team leader Louise Millar and her team of volunteers.

You can even sit down and enjoy the in-house coffee, where Louise (pictured) will serve you a cuppa in a quaint china tea cup.

The Beautiful You Funky Op Shop Bokarina, at 404-408 Nicklin Way, is unashamedly designed for women.

It's the third iteration of The Beautiful You brand, which runs an op shop at Norval Crt, Maroochydore and for 16 months had a shop opposite Kawana Shoppingworld at the former Cartwright Centre site now being redeveloped into The Point shopping centre and fast food.

The new shop at Bokarina had street frontage and had been popular "immediately" when it opened in August, Mrs Millar said.

Unlike the "popup shop" at Kawana, the Bokarina store has a huge range of furniture, with one third of the floor dedicated to furniture, one third to the coffee shop and one third to clothing, shoes and accessories.

"I like making things look beautiful," Mrs Millar said. "I don't know how to do it boring.

"I have a love of French things and beautiful design."

Mrs Millar had just returned from Paris when she started setting up the Bokarina shop. She laughed as she explained one of her inspirations was Marie Antoinette.

She said when setting up a display, she would ask the team "would Marie like that?"

"It's a snippet of that style," she said.

"It's very feminine and it's supporting women, so that was our kind of design inspiration."

The Beautiful You raises funds for female cancer sufferers and survivors, so it was important the store was inviting and stock sold. This also informed the design, with its ordered racks and displays and quirky room settings.

"We want to sell stuff, so if it's in a pile people aren't going to see it," Mrs Millar said.

"It comes down to good old-fashioned sense."

Mrs Millar and The Beautiful You founder Debbie Clayton were both "amazed" by the generosity of businesses that had donated goods to make the bold new space work, including Paint City Maroochydore which donated enough paint for the entire shop.

"It was very much a love affair, we didn't pay anyone to do that," Mrs Millar said.

"My husband painted, I put the wallpaper up."

Mrs Clayton said The Beautiful You had raised more than $130,000 since she started the charity six years ago after losing her mother to breast cancer in 1990.

Funds raised stay in the Sunshine Coast community, where Mrs Clayton pays for pamper sessions, house cleaning, wigs, and other items and services to help cancer survivors and women going through cancer treatment. She is also working toward securing a property and setting up a retreat for cancer sufferers.


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