5 May 2023

Willy's fashion pop-up is bringing something different to Baylis Street

| Chris Roe
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Willy Wilson has brought her ‘Pure’ pop-up to Wagga. Photo: Chris Roe.

For the past couple of weeks, Willy Wilson has kept her spectacular Baylis Street pop-up shop under wraps.

The store window near the Tompson Street intersection has been curiously papered over while Willy and her partner Tony have prepared for the big reveal of their touring pop-up, ‘Pure’.

“We find social media and word of mouth spreads quickly and people come in and say, ‘Wow, this is gorgeous, I’ve never seen anything like this’ and they are taking photos and sharing them with their friends,” she said with infectious enthusiasm.


Willy brings products otherwise not available in the region. Photo: Chris Roe.

Willy spent three decades in bespoke fashion retail in Queensland and exported cotton from Australia to Central Java to manufacture her own brand of textiles, garments and homewares.

In 2016, she decided to try something different and launched her pop-up shop Pure to take the show on the road.

“I try to think out of the box and I intuitively felt that if we went to country towns and brought these beautiful, unique items that don’t clash with any other store in town, it would be a way that we could earn a living in an interesting way,” Willy explained.

“So what we do is we work for three months and then we have three months off.”

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The model has proved to be a success and the carefully styled Baylis Street store presents a rainbow of colour and a sparklingly diverse array of unique offerings.

From stylish winter coats to delicate frocks and silk scarves, curious umbrellas and rows of carefully crafted accessories.

“We do our research and make sure that we don’t clash with the people that are already in town,” Willy said.

“We come to cold places at this time of year and we have these beautiful Australian wool coats that a designer in Sydney called Violet makes and she does them in seasonally different designs.

“We have myriad Australian designers and also some beautiful bespoke French jewellery that we represent as well.”

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While the Wagga pop-up is their first post-COVID venture, Willie said she enjoyed the itinerant lifestyle and the chance to spend time connecting with different cities and towns across the country.

“Basically, it was a way I could still have a smaller bespoke business and not have to get into a lease with a big shopping centre,” she said.

“Previously, I had three stores in Brisbane and was in a centre that had been owned by just two men and I loved that kind of connection but then in 2016, it was sold to a big conglomerate.

“When the lease ran out, I thought, if we go to country towns, we can still maintain that personal connection and we started doing pop-up shops all over Australia.”

Pop up shop

Pure will be on Baylis Street for the next three months. Photo: Chris Roe.

The pair have just invested in their own motor home and transport their stock in a chockablock van.

“There is a cut-off point where you’re like, ‘I cannot fit another toothpick in there or I’m going to break the axle!'” Willy laughed.

“So we try to kind of not have a gazillion of anything and that means that it’s all a little bit bespoke, and with things like this bag (Willy picks up a small leather clutch), I’ve only got one, so when you’ve got that, you know there’s no one else in Wagga who’s gonna have it.”

Willy’s Pure pop-up shop opens on Friday and will be trading seven days a week for the next three months.

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