I often don't feel like I get transported to another place or time when I enter most shops. It's safe to say Kleins Perfumery, located in Fitzroy, isn't just any store. Yes, it's sandwiched between two Souvlaki shops, but that's besides the point. Whenever I enter Kleins I think of myself as Alice in Wonderland unwittingly stumbling upon delectable delights.
A few weeks ago I visited Kleins with the hope of walking way with something from Bites' lip range, which I did, but I also walked away with a lasting impression. And a good one at that. Kleins Perfumery is small, but packed to the rafters with all sorts of pleasantries. Candles, chapstick, makeup bags, random toiletries - you name it, they have it. I recognised most of the brands, because I've seen them at Myer and David Jones; however, I'd rather to give my money to a company filled with patient, friendly and passionate people who know a lot about what they carry.
The space is unique, sweetly decorated, almost whimsical and has touches of flora and fauna. Oh, and T.C., a.k.a. Top Cat lives there too. I didn't get to meet him, but I hear he comes into the store every night in order to get a bite to eat and bid the guests adieu. T.C. is even incorporated into their their branding - further solidifying his treasured presence.
Last Saturday Will and Laura welcomed me into the store to take pictures and ask questions when time permitted. During the moments I snapped away with my camera, I made sure to keep my ears pricked up in order to catch conversations between Laura, Will and the guests. When it was quiet, they talked shop and when it was busy, well you get the picture. During one of their exchanges, Laura helped a woman find a gift for someone who was turning 60-years-old. The thing is, the woman had a tight budget and she was also told gifts weren't expected, but she felt terrible turning up empty-handed. Laura listened and chimed in with meaningful suggestions; in the end, the customer bought a couple of handmade soaps and a scented candle. Personal, thoughtful and not at all over the top; a pressure-less sale and a satisfied customer.
I didn't want to take away too much of Will and Laura's time during their work day, so the lovely Gemma, also of Kleins, answered a few questions for me...
What do you feel is your beauty philosophy?
- Less is More. It is worth investing in good quality products that will love your skin.
How do you go about choosing the lotions, potions and perfume you carry in your store? E.g. personal experience, travel, memories, etc.?
- We carry products that we love and use ourselves.
Tell me more about TC's story and how he came to reside at Kleins.
- TC was born in the lane way behind the store. Andrea the owner gradually tamed him as a kitten and now he is our much loved store cat.
Which product is your favourite and why?
- Currently loving Neal’s Yard Remedies as it is a new brand for us and it is so dedicated to its principles.
- Bite Beauty – also new and incredible philosophy “beauty that’s good for you”.
- Lastly, Dr Hauschka – fantastic skin care.
If you had to pack a bag right now for an unexpected holiday, which five beauty items would you grab and why?
- Dr Hauschka Lip Balm to keep the lips nourished and protected
- Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Zinfandel – quick, easy, long wearing and good for your lips
- Juliette Has A Gun Purse Bullet – a chic travel atomiser so your perfume is always on hand
- Neal’s Yard Remedies – Melissa Hand Cream – a great size and beautiful fragrance
- Apivita Express Beauty Mask – Pink Clay for a little relax and a deep clean
What's your favourite in-store experience with a customer? And why?
- We love taking customers on fragrance adventures and showing them scents they never would think to try themselves. The element of surprise is so enjoyable and sharing it with our customers is very rewarding.
When the lovely Will and Laura aren't at Kleins, they both also work as makeup artists. Feel free to pick their brains about application, colour matching, etc. whenever you visit. Also, on top of managing the store and painting pretty faces, Will's double majoring in marketing and business at a local university.
Can't make it out to Kleins Perfumery? Then, please take a peek at what else I spied during my visit.