Sydney is one of those places where you can simply walk out of a train station on the weekend without any firm plans and then suddenly find yourself in front of a sign like this:
Preschooler SSG were making the most of the sun on Sunday when we decided that donuts for afternoon tea would be a lovely idea. We (okay, I) had my eye on donuts from Short Stop which is why we were at Wynyard Station in the first place. The advertised street fair proved to be a lovely bonus.
The Barangaroo Street Fair was arranged to celebrate the origins of the newly developed area as well as encouraging families into the area which is generally full of office staff during the week.
The foyers of many of the office towers were open to the public. Models and displays were set up to explain the stages and processes involved in the development's construction. There were even 3D goggles on hand to watch some of the film presentations.
Elsewhere, Preschooler SSG was lucky enough to be given a personal tour of a fire engine.
He even got to sit in the driver's seat.
All the food outlets were open and extra seating was set up on the street. It was a bit windy sitting in the shadows of all those towers but don't they look brilliant in the sun? The most amazing scenes were reflecting off these windows all afternoon and I often found myself looking up just to see the clouds shifting in a reflection off a pane of windows.
We reached Short Stop just in time for afternoon tea o'clock. We weren't the only people feeling donuts for afternoon tea on Sunday. The tiny store was crammed full of customers and people up and down the street were clutching boxes and bags in the distinctive blue and green packaging. Thanks to some online research, we already knew which donuts we wanted. Service was quick and friendly.
Preschooler SSG and I made our way to the nearest picnic table clutching our haul and then spent a fair while trying to prevent our donuts from flying off the table in the wind. Hence my one handed picture taking and creative use of my left hand as a paper weight.
You guessed it, my pick was the Triple Matcha Cake ($5 each). These are definitely not your $2 for a pack of 6 from Coles kind of arrangement. My donut did have the cake like texture its name implies but it also had a slight doughyness too. The green tea flavour wasn't as strong as I would have liked (I like my matcha strongly brewed) but it was a very enjoyable donut experience all the same. No tooth aching sweetness, just beautiful flavours and textures.
Preschooler SSG attacked his Strawberry and Cream filled ($5.50) with gusto. He enjoyed the frosting and the donut but the filling wasn't quite his thing (it was a custard with a more 'natural' and less intense flavour than what Krispy Kreme, for example, would call strawberry filling). To be honest, I think Short Stop cater to an older palate but he did enjoy the excitement of visiting the store and reading about all the donuts online with me the night before.
Sydney Shop Girl by name, Sydney Shop Girl by nature. Of course we stopped by David Jones' boutique store in Barangaroo. The store opened a few weeks ago with lots of fanfare and promises of it being a unique retail experience for Sydney with an edited range of exclusive brand across beauty, fashion and food to cater for upmarket customers that David Jones hopes will pop in from the neighbouring offices.
It is a beautiful store, filled to the brim with product. There were lovely cushioned benches in the shoe area (perfect for climbing up if you're preschool sized), a popular cafe at the front of the store and small beauty hall. The second floor featured a very tight edit of brands I assume are DJ's most popular - Camilla, J Brand, Polo Ralph Lauren etc.
This is where high maintenance SSG comes out and starts drafting her monologue to the Customer Service Line.I wish more of a risk had been taken with inventory for this store. It would have been nice to see brands exclusive to Barangaroo to differentiate the store from the Sydney CBD one a bit more. Walking through the store felt more like walking through any other store on fast, fast forward rather than the unique browsing and shopping experience it could have been.
Perhaps the focus could have been on niche lifestyle, home skincare and beauty brands. The kinds of things customers may have read about online or in the press and would jump at the chance to purchase if they could only have it in front of them to try, touch and feel. Perhaps the store could be used as a spring board for new launches and a bricks and mortar point of reference for any online exclusives DJs may launch in the future.
How about more floor space for custom made accessory brands like The Daily Edited? TDE is the kind of range that I imagine many would like to be able to explore before committing to an order. Designs, leathers, printing options... all of this would translate to a visually arresting and tempting in store experience.
I'm trying to track down the Sydney tin as I type this post...
Or even, my personal favourite daydream... making a wine / cocktail bar the central feature of the ground floor? Aren't the most inspired shopping decisions always made with a glass of something in one hand? As someone who's ignorant of all the bylaws and regulations this idea may be in breach of, I'd best stop right there. But, can you imagine it?
I'm aware that retail is a challenging business in Australia right now and that department stores are facing increasing pressure to trim the fat and increase their profit. But they also need to find points of difference to set them apart from the online retail industry in Australia which has matured and grown at such a rapid pace over the last few years. To put it bluntly, we consumers need innovative and customer focused offerings at 'high end' department stores is we are to be coaxed from our devices, off our sofas and out of our pyjamas and ugg boots to make the trek to DJs et al (after dressing the kids and finding a car park space).
But that's just me.
Have you been to the David Jones at Barangaroo yet? Did you like it? Do you agree that a bar of some sort would add to the retail experience there?