Despite its reputation as a sleepy city, Canberra is coming to life. Lonsdale Street has gone from car yards to cafes and we’re doing our bit too. We’ve graduated from a pop-up to a permanent boutique in the Canberra Centre, but more importantly, Annie has taken over the reins as manager. Meet the happiest Canadian in the nation’s capital.
It’s a long way from Canada to Canberra, but Annie ended up here almost by accident. “’ moved here with my family five years ago, but my parents decided to retire to New Zealand. I ended up loving Canberra so much that I settled here. I was fortunate enough to be granted citizenship so I’m staying forever’. Though the city cops a bit of hate, Annie loves how it feels like a small town and a big city wrapped in one. ‘It has all the conveniences of a big city’ she says, ‘but none of the nuisances’. Take traffic. ‘Traffic in Canberra is like five cars at a roundabout’ she laughs, ‘and the community is pretty tight-knit’.
When she’s not at our boutique, Annie’s probably at the gym. ‘You’ll also find me walking around the man-made, yet still sublime Lake Burley Griffin’. It’s named for the architectural couple behind Canberra’s modernist layout. ‘My favourite spot on the lake has to be the new Kingston Foreshore, but my favourite restaurant isn’t there. I live for breakfast because I’m a morning person and there’s this place called Nookie Espresso Bar in Civic. Its coffee and avocado on toast is everything I could want’. We’d recommend you stop by – Nookie is less than five minutes’ walk from Bailey Nelson Canberra.
‘The store is beautiful’, Annie says. ‘The layout is awesome. It’s got a minimalist palette but with a ‘home garden come to life’ feel’. We think it’s fitting for a garden city like Canberra.
Though she’s completely at home in the new boutique, Annie’s only been with us for a month. She’s been in optics a lot longer though. ‘I picked it up as a university job to sustain my online purchasing while I was studying advertising and end up getting stuck in this job that I love’. For Annie, optics is ‘an environment where you can have extended conversations rather than just asking ‘what size are you?’.
But before Bailey Nelson, Annie was considering leaving getting out of optics. ‘I went overseas and found myself, as you do’. ‘I pretty much got my graduation certificate and five days later went to North and South America for an indefinite period of time’. The trip was a chance for Annie to indulge a mischievous streak. ‘I always try to get the tackiest souvenir on the planet for my mother. She can’t throw it out because it was a gift. I got her a Niagara Falls pencil sharpener with a snow globe, even though she’s been there herself. It’s the worst thing on the planet. My dad got some truly shocking socks and he’s going to have to proudly wear them because they were a gift from me’.
So, what tempted Annie back? ‘I was looking for something in my own field, but Bailey Nelson sounded too good to be true. It’s lived up to my expectations though. It’s the kind of job you can go to sleep feeling good about’.
If you happen to be in Canberra, Annie’s always keen to recommend frames. For those further away, she has two picks: the Adler and Scout. ‘I’m biased, because I’m wearing it, but the Alder brings a certain je ne sais quoi to people who can pull it off. The Scout on the other hand is a unisex frame, and it just looks good on everyone who wears it’.
Find out where our Canberra store is located here.
Photography by Andy Mullens