Babes in Business: Sian of Rockafellas Retro


Every now and then you see a Facebook page pop up in your feed that makes your heart sing and your bank account quiver with fear. I came across the Rockafellas Retro page a little under a year ago and was intrigued. When you think antique and collectibles stores, you dont necessarily think of someone in their twenties. As you can imagine, dear reader, my curiosity went into overdrive when i realised Rockafellas was run by a young woman. For this weeks edition of Woman Crush Wednesday I have the great pleasure of interviewing Sian aka Sugaranne, owner and boss lady at Rockafellas Retro.


Midcentury Mermaid: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Sian of Rockafellas Retro: My background is in the fashion industry. I studied fashion and visual arts at Edith Cowan University and have been sewing professionally for many years for myself under the name Sugar Ann Clothing and for other designers as well. I have a great love for all things old and rusty and beautiful which has always inspired my work and has led me into this industry. After a car accident injury limited my sewing time I decided to use my retail experience and take over this business, an antique shop ‘with a difference’ as I like to call it – Rockafellas Retro.


MM: What was your inspiration for the shop?
Sian: The shop was established when we bought it, so the name and some of the styling had already been decided on. I get an odd sort of enjoyment out of visual merchandising and object placement so I made a few changes straight away. Cleaning and opening up the layout of the items and store. I made the decision to remove large amount of stock I didn’t deem suitable when I took over. Firstly removing any unsuitable items dating before the 50’s, I figure we have a beautiful classic antique shop (Central Antiques) two doors down. Better to complement our neighbours rather than compete with them.


I also introduced our ‘Games Room’ the second room of the shop is now dedicated to all the fun things, arcades, pinballs, comics and toys. We improved the record selection and brought in a small restock-able range of vintage look children’s pedal cars. Generally I just wanted to bring the bench mark of stock quality up a little. Although getting it just how I want it is an ongoing process and I’m always working towards it.


MM: What is your favourite story behind an item you have at the shop ?
S: I guess that would be our Astor TV/Radio/Record player unit, I don’t know the story behind the piece we have in store but it seems like every day a customer will swoon over the TV and their memories of having one or one simular in their family home as a child. Sometimes explaining to small children that that’s what they had and how it worked. It always puts a smile on people’s faces. I’ll probably be on a desperate hunt for another when it sells.


MM: If you could have person alive or deceased visit your shop who would that be?
S: Oh, I don’t know. Maybe Mr Rockefeller himself could come in and spend up big.

MM: What advice would you give any woman wanting to start her own business?
S: My advice would be, trust yourself and only yourself. I hope that doesn’t sound negative. Believe in yourself to know what is right for you (or you and your family). Empower yourself with knowledge and strength. Don’t trust someone to show you the way learn the way and show yourself.  I’ve learnt this the hard way. I also feel really strongly about us as modern women empowering each other. I would never put another business down, I want to see all the amazing small business owners I know and meet succeed and if there is anything I can do to help that happen, I’m there with bells on.


To find out more about Rockafella Retro visit their facebook page:

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