i feel sick to the stomach for not having mentioned this wonder of a shop before! (maybe it has to do with the fact that it's in Queensland so i can't visit it) Harolds Finishing Touches is the Toowoomba based creation of Aaron Bourne and is the male version of a store i would open myself. this man after my own heart kindly answered some questions for me (and you of course)
What is Harolds Finishing Touches and who is the man behind it?
Harold's Finishing touches is a boutique lifestyle store in Toowoomba, Queensland. It is an ever-changing collection of unique curiosities and amazing pieces designed to inspire the inner collector and curious mind! Aaron Bourne (that's me) is the man behind the wheel.. Not Harold!! Haha Harold cam from running joke in the family to which my uncle always called me... It just fit the shop as it sounds quite refined, established and sounds like somewhere that has been around for ever!
how did it all begin?
It all started out of frustration of never being able to find the perfect things that I wanted in my home in Toowoomba. I wanted a space to bring all the things that I saw in the magazines and on blogs without having to leave Toowoomba to get them!!
what were you doing before Harolds?
Prior to Harolds the Visual Merchandising Manager for Freedom in Toowoomba and at the gold coast. It was a great start in terms of perfecting the skill of presentation and ignited my love for the thrill that is retail!!
where do you find the pieces for the store?
It is a constant search... Ask any of my friends And they will tell you I never turn off from my phone - and I am constantly searching for that next 'thing' - I scour blogs, websites, international and local magazines, antique stores, rural auctions... You name it, I'll try it! It always pays off when I can walk away with an amazing little treasure to put in the shop!!
how did your style evolve?
I think it has just been a natural progression, always being surrounded by the things that I love... My style has developed over the years, moving through a few phases, but I know now what i love. I have a strong appreciation for many different 'styles' but I try to name mine, it's more of just a collection and an evolving story...
you obviously love natural curiosities, tell me a bit about that
I LOVE LOVE everything curious and a little bit bizarre!!! I have always said that if I was doing my current job I would love to be a museum curator- I remember my first visit to the natural curiously displays in the Melbourne museum and remember thinking... One day, I want to have all this!! I love pieces that tell a story.. Whether it be a ceremonial necklace from PNG, porcupine quills from South Africa, an antique taxidermy deer from an estate sale, I love all those things that I can see beauty in... I admit its not for everyone's taste... But that's why I like it!!
how often does the store change?
I get new goodies into the store most days - the store is a constant evolution - customers now know that if you see it and like it, buy it because most likely it will be gone when you come back!! I don't like everyone having the same thing, so I try and keep my number pretty limited - much to my accountants dismay I don't often restock the best sellers - i don't believe in cookie cutter homes- you should have something unique and individual!
what's your favourite thing about the shop?
I love the fact that what I say goes! I have found the confidence now to believe and trust in my style choices and i get a complete rush out of seeing customers snap up those little items I went out on a whim for! I love seeing the faces of people walk in the door for the first time, or regular customers when the shop has changed.. It's the most rewarding thing for me.
what are your 3 favourite pieces in the shop?
Hmmmmm that's like asking me to choose a favourite child... If I had to choose I would say the framed butterflies and insects- I never quite know what they are going to be like so I get a complete rush unpacking them!! And now that I have designed a collection in collaboration with the supplier I have to love them even more! I also love a few of the taxidermy pieces, the coral, antique dough bowls... Heck, I cant choose..
what is the most popular item in the store?
As above, I think the most popular are butterflies- they are a signature of the store so i always keep a huge collection in store, but always something a bit different - I've sold everything from rare one off moths and butterflies to disgustingly wonderful tarantulas and stick insects!! (surprisingly the first to always go)
what items are hardest to part with?
Well to be honest... The hardest things to part with, don't get parted with. I've learnt to just out them straight in the car... I'm hopeless... I never forget the 'one that got away'.... So I don't let it!
(he clearly wasn't joking when he said he keeps all the good stuff - this is his desk at home, amazing! oh, and did you notice we do the same thing with our screen backgrounds!)
what will people notice most about visiting HFT?
I hope people will notice the masculine style and the unique and curious pieces filling the store! My favourite part, and the thing I take most pride in are the displays (that's the VM in me) so I hope they enjoy seeing them as much as I do making them..But most importantly, and people make it well known, is the pricing. I want everyone to be able to afford the goodies, so I ensure everything is in reach (again much to my accountants dismay) but, at the end of the day I want people to take the pieces in back to their homes and enjoy them!!
what's next for HFT?
Big BIG plans! We are working on our amazing Christmas launch ... We go way OTT!! We are also madly trying to effect our online store - after so much popular demand.. So fingers crossed that will be born soon! And there is another BIG idea coming... But it needs a few more sleepless nice before we announce!!!!! Stay tuned!
wow and all this from a guy who's still under 25 years old - impressive to say the least, i can tell you one thing, i am going to be his first customer when HFT goes virtual!
visit Aaron at Harolds Finishing Touches in person at Cnr Bridge and Hume Street, Toowoomba open Tues – Fri 9:00 am – 5:30 pm and Sat 9:00 am – 3:00 pm (phone 07 4638 7838) or visit the blog here or his Facebook here, oh and don't forget to follow him on instagram (harolds_finishing_touches) for all the latest images of his glorious shop