Charleville mum's label blossoms

Sunday's Belle takes off for Charleville's Michelle Ebsworth

Life & Style
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When the fabric from Michelle Ebsworth's children's clothing label started taking up too much space in the family home, she knew it was time for an expansion.

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VINTAGE STYLE: Pippa and Zoe Ebsworth modelling their mother Michelle's Sunday's Belle clothing line, now based out of The Faraway Tree shop.

VINTAGE STYLE: Pippa and Zoe Ebsworth modelling their mother Michelle's Sunday's Belle clothing line, now based out of The Faraway Tree shop.

When the fabric from Michelle Ebsworth's children's clothing label started taking up too much space in the family home, she knew it was time for an expansion.

The Charleville mother of two has been making children's clothes for her brand Sunday's Belle for about three years, selling mainly online.

To meet orders, Ms Ebsworth worked out of the home she shares with husband Ryan Ebsworth and daughters Zoe, 6, and Pippa, 3, but 2020 saw demand for her vintage-inspired designs boom.

"Through the coronavirus lockdown, it actually got busier," she said.

"Perhaps more people were shopping online or they were buying fewer clothes but nicer quality.

"It got busier and busier and the fabric was taking over our home.

"And with Pippa starting kindy next year, I was looking at how I might return to work."

Ms Ebsworth was no stranger to retail, having previously managed Charleville's newsagent, so opening a shopfront to house Sunday's Belle was a logical step.

When it came time to find a new space to base her business, she initially hunted for somewhere to lease, but a better idea was soon born.

Long-time Charleville residents likely remember shopping at Frasers store in Alfred Street, which was a haven for bicycles, sports gear, gifts and more.

For Ms Ebsworth, the empty shopfront was an ideal location for her business, so she put in an offer to buy it.

"It was built in 1914 and it's been in the whole family the one time," she said.

"The Frasers were fairly selective in who they wanted to have the building so I'm lucky they liked my vision for the shop."

With renovations finished sooner than expected, the doors to The Faraway Tree opened in September.

The resulting business, The Faraway Tree stocks children's toys and books and and doubles as a sewing workshop.

The shop name calls to mind the Enid Blyton children's classic.

"She was my favourite author actually when I was a little girl and that was my favourite book," Ms Ebsworth said.

"I didn't want to call the shop Sunday's Belle because I didn't think it allowed for as much room to grow."

During 2020, the shop hours were only short but Ms Ebsworth plans to be open more this year once Pippa has started kindergarten.

"We've had a lot of community support, people have been happy to see us doing something new," she said.

"Because we've bought the building and aren't just leasing, people know we're not going to just close.

"People are really keen to see that we're investing in the town.

"Some days have been busy, others haven't been as busy but my clothes haven't stopped selling so I'm sewing in there and cutting out fabric."

In the lead-up to Christmas the store even played host to a photography studio for Santa photos to raise money for St Mary's Catholic Primary School.

"For people who aren't able to get away to the city, it was really nice to be able to do Santa photos in town," Ms Ebsworth said.

Also on the cards are expansion plans for out the back of the shop.

"There's a big wooden shed with a beautiful big old table in the middle and there's a big backyard beyond there with a lovely peach tree," she said.

"My plans for that building is to have a kids' play area so people can bring their food and have it there while their children play... there's nowhere in the main part of town that you can actually do that."

Ms Ebsworth hopes that if she can source some funding to do up the space, it might also be able to be used as an events venue.

"There's just so much potential," Ms Ebsworth said.

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