Oishi m product kids

You have such a gorgeous store! Can you tell me a bit about how you curate and run it?

We have an amazing, remarkable team here. Actually, a lot of us came to Oishi-m with a breadth of experience in the rag trade after working with surf brands. We design everything behind the shop; we have an office where we design and source amazing fabrics from all across the world. We also buy incredible products that complement our Oishi-m range; everything from footwear to trinkets, to cards.

What lead you to do Oishi-m?

For most of us, it was actually the stage of life we were in. Surf was a youth-based fashion and we all started having families. It was great to be able to work on a part-time basis, to begin with… to dabble and to try and to also be independent of trends. Going for what is playful, fun, functional and comfortable for children, rather than starting from whatever colour palette was in season. A big part of it was finding something that we liked that was fun. Back when we started 14 years ago it was all baby blue and pinks… there wasn’t anything super bold and playful! So, we started with that and it just grew and grew and grew. Our first shop was in Torquay on Gilbert Street and which we eventually outgrew, and we’ve been in here since January.

If you had to describe Oishi M in a few words…

Colourful, playful, comfortable, great longevity… we’ve designed our pieces so that they grow with the children. They then also become hand me down pieces because they last so well. We’ve made lots of design features like this tummy waistband so it’s nice and comfy whether you’re a skinny mini or a chubby bubba. Kids have disproportionally big heads sometimes, so having a neck that opens and adjusts for you put clothing on is important.

Yes, loving all the prints and colour.

Oh yes, we’re print and colour heavy! We feel kid’s clothes are there to be played in and to allow them to show expression. Kids don’t know whether the colours or prints they’re wearing may clash or not – they just go with it, which allows them to express that freedom. 

Do you enjoy doing The Big Design Market?

Doing The Big Design Market really did a huge deal in expanding our customer base – which now is global! We have an extensive retail team now. Last year I went to the Sydney Big Design Market myself. We packed so much in – the concentration of people you can talk to and meet is a great, intense experience. I love seeing what people pick up and what products draw people in. The community is so great too… there are so many great people and brands we’ve met through doing The Big Design Market. We’ve been doing it since the first one. I think one year we were in an aisle that was curated full of amazing Torquay designers! Which was really cool. Many a Christmas present have been bought at The Big Design Market… in fact out biggest OH&S problem – it’s likely you’ll spend more than you earn!

Speaking of Christmas, do you have any recommended gifts this year from the Oishi M range?

The dresses are great… you can dress them up and down for anything from Christmas day to running around at the beach. The tee and shorts combo is so comfortable and lightweight too.

Oh! Also, what’s the story behind the name Oishi-m?

It means yummy in Japanese. So, it’s for the little mini yummy one in your life. What’s funny is we’ve had people see our sandwich board outside the shop and thought it was a sushi shop! And they find a beautiful kid’s store… we’re pretty proud of our new shop. Another little thing I should mention is we won the Geelong Business of the Year so that was a pretty radical achievement for a business that’s pretty much run by a group of part-time parents.

It is, and it’s so gorgeous! See you at The Big Design Market in Melbourne 30 Nov–2 Dec.

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