Local boutique owner, Sos Waddell was born, raised and educated in Orange. She talked with CWM about her journey of becoming a farm-wife and mother of two after moving to Sydney then to the land, and of turning a bright light on in her retail space to help a growing community.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m just a country wife and mother lucky enough to have a lovely life. I was born, raised and educated in Orange then headed for the bright lights of Sydney for around four years. It was there I met my forever love and we moved back to the bush to work side by side on our farm near Young in the South West slopes for 16 years.
During that time, our two little treasures joined us, about 17 months apart. The opportunity to get into retail came six years ago so I jumped at the chance and then we relocated to Orange in 2019 with my little shop in tow.
What was your vision behind Cint Boutique and how did you come up with the name?
The name Cint was given by the store’s former owner Jacinta. She’d developed a large brand following throughout the district, so it seemed sensible not to change it.
To be honest, Cint was a business opportunity that satisfied my interest in fashion. I never really chase labels/brands, I just love pieces that have a point of difference. So, I guess that’s why Cint is now a home to unique brands and our customers will always find that special piece not found in every town. It gives me such a thrill to be able to say we are the exclusive stockist and to have ladies enjoy this and comment that the stock we have is so diverse.
How long have you been running Cint Boutique?
I purchased the store February, 2016 and hit the ground running, learning on the job and making the odd mistake along the way…retail is not as easy as it seems!
What do you love most about running your store?
I love the interaction with my customers. It took a while to build a supportive customer base, and now I love the catch ups and friendships that have grown from having the store. One important thing that I always remind myself is that I can’t keep everyone happy by stocking every brand. Once you have your target market, build on that and always have your customers in mind when buying each season.
What experience can women expect to have when they visit?
We pride ourselves in having a really relaxed shopping experience when browsing in Cint. On the days when I have some time to wander through other stores in Orange I’ll roam at my own pace, and we realise how important that is in our boutique, too. Customers will always ask for help if needed.
We often get the male shoppers, too, that just walk in with a screenshot and say, “Need this!”
What are this season’s designer labels and exclusive brands you stock at Cint?
When I relocated the store to Orange, I had to drop about 15 brands as they were already stocked in other stores. So, then I went hunting for new and exciting labels that the customers in the area hadn’t been able to buy locally before. There are so many amazing and unique brands out there in the fashion world, and I have really loved and been proud to bring them to country NSW. Many shoppers from the city and coastal areas often comment that we have labels that they don’t see in the metro areas.
I have introduced a few international labels that are exclusive here for NSW. Pink City Prints (England) has been a major hit, as has Maison Hotel (Spain). We are also only one of two stores that stock Camilla west of the Blue Mountains. While it’s fabulous to have an international fashion presence in regional NSW, we are super proud to stock so many amazing Australian brands, too. A few to mention are Morrison, Layerd, Ralf Studios, Hannah Artwear and Summi Summi. All are 100% Australian owned, designed and made and beautiful to wear.
We have also launched our very own Cint designs, beginning with beautiful 100% cotton, hand printed fabrics for PJ’S. They’re perfect for summer and make ideal Christmas gifts.
You ran a Camilla event recently to fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation. How did this come about and how much did you raise?
I’d been trying to get Camilla for my shop since relocating it almost three years ago, but with the global pandemic and two lockdowns thrown in the mix it has been a challenge. We unfortunately couldn’t have Camilla in person for the fundraiser, but it was still a wonderful day and everyone who came had a lot of fun. It was an awareness event as just about every person these days has been touched by some form of cancer and too many women, including Camilla, have experienced breast cancer. So, planning an event that was a wonderful day out that provided an opportunity to raise funds for such a necessary cause was a no brainer. We took Camilla’s lead of aligning her business with the National Breast Cancer Foundation as her primary charity, and thanks to the amazing donations from many local businesses we were able to raise an incredible $11,144 through silent auctions and mega raffle prizes for research.
It was heart-warming and amazing to be able to raise so much money for this wonderful charity that helps the many touched by cancer.
What does success look like to you?
With so much going on in the world, it means having a happy and healthy life. That is really all that matters to me at the end of the day. It’s funny, but as the years have flown by I’ve realised that many things aren’t as important as I once thought. But, a comfortable home, someone to share some wine with and healthy kids is all I need to feel successful.