After many fabulous years working in fashion in the Mildura City Heart, George and Olive’s Josie is calling it a day and jet setting away on a grand European adventure.
Josie fondly recalls her last day working in her very first job at Tshirpig’s Cake Shop, it was the day she walked out of the door, down the road to Bowring’s, and into the beginnings of a career working in fashion.
It was 1980, the height of fashion, fun and everything the 80’s was about to offer up in the fashion stakes and Josie found herself quickly moving from the hosiery department where she was first stationed in Bowring’s, to assisting the buyers with jewellery and handbags.
Over the next near decade Josie would hone her skills across several departments of Bowring’s, including make-up, handbags, and the record and jeans department in the specially developed and oh so cool basement department aimed at a fresh young crowd.
From buying trips to merchandising, it was at Bowring’s Josie found her love for working in fashion, for helping people find outfits, and assisting people to find what suits them, bringing confidence and style to anyone who walked through the doors at Bowring’s.
Looking for a change, Josie left Bowring’s to take a role at the Grand Hotel, realising very quickly that where she thrived in fashion, she lacked in admin and so she set about learning from the seasoned staff who would show her what it takes to run a business from all areas of admin, customer service and management.
But it wasn’t until a friend noticed that the new and upcoming retail store, ‘Sportsgirl’, was bringing a concept store to the Langtree Mall and suggested Josie apply for the role – to which she replied, “What’s Sportsgirl?!” – that she decided fashion was her fit, and it was time to try it on again.
It was 1988 and the first Sportsgirl store was finally opened in the City Heart, Josie took on the role of Assistant Manager, supporting a manager they’d brought up from Melbourne to open the store and establish it in the region. But merely six months in and the Manager was returning to Melbourne, and the reigns were handed over to Josie as Sportgirl Mildura’s first Manager.
From there, the store went on to grow into a store that was in the Top 2% of the country for performance, and it was here that Josie really cemented her skills in fashion, merchandising and fashion business management.
After one too many store merchandising flips, mannequin outfit changes, and numerous offers from fellow Trader, Grant Haynes to come and work for him, Josie finally decided it was time to move on from Sportsgirl and in 2012 she again walked out of one door, and across the Mall to City Limitz, which had recently been acquired by Grant.
Building an incredible team and working alongside a strong group of sales representatives, developing City Limitz into the popular street fashion store it became, Josie followed it’s move back across the Mall in 2016 when Grant integrated the brand next to Doug Haynes and rebranded to George and Olive, which is where Josie is to this day.
And it’s where she finally bids farewell to fashion, and to the Mildura City Heart as she hangs up the steamer and folds her final garments.
When we asked Josie what was next, the smile across her face was hard to deny, “I’m taking a Gap Year!” she laughed. After years of fashion, fun, and a lot of hard work Josie has decided it’s time to see the world, leaving George and Olive to embark on European travels, and to spend time in her hometown in Italy.
While Josie doesn’t have plans for what comes next in her career, she’s ready to take her shonky Italian and lend all she knows to a little café, store, or wherever the wind takes her on this next adventure.
From all of us we say a very big thank you to Josie for her years contributing as a Trader in the City Heart, buona fortuna (good luck) on this exciting next chapter, and a very fond arrivederci!