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Article: Small Business life: Customers

Founders of Mainie Australia, Charmaine & Denis

Small Business life: Customers

Charmaine & Denis at the Mainie Pop Up Shop in Cairns


Mainie customers are like a packet of mixed lollies – ALL SORTS. Please do not take offence as it is meant to demonstrate genuine individuality and diversity.

Following are two examples of this individuality, I encountered at our Mainie pop-up shop in Cairns.

All “stories” are true – well, as true as I can remember at least. I will not use names so even if I knew the identities, I won’t divulge. I will just use nom de plumes.


One morning an overseas female tourist, Mary-Anne comes to my Mainie shop. It was early and I had just completed the set-up. Presentation is essential at the Mainie shop. Everything in order, prices on all items, signs in place, POS system checked and tested, mirrors in place, stock stacked, marked and folded appropriately, mannequins in place, racks in order. Perfect. Absolute precision. Beautiful.

Mary-Anne is from the USA, sounds nice, seems inquisitive, and quite excited by her first encounter with a genuine, high-end Aboriginal art inspired product. She loves the “Dreamtime” stories and the artists’ biographies that accompany all Mainie products.

Mary-Anne wants to try everything on and check the “look” in the mirror. She literally tries on every single scarf, top, cape, and at a blistering almost frantic pace that does not allow me to re-hang or re-present the display products. Very soon I have a massive bundle of display on the bench tops, on the floor, over the mirrors, everywhere.

My perfectly set Mainie shop has been completely wrecked. I am trying to stay calm and speak respectfully to Mary-Anne, but she is on a mission to “destroy” the shop in every sense of the word.

In quiet exasperation, I calmly say to Mary-Anne, “Have you picked out the one you want yet?”

“One?” she says, “I want the lot!”

I respond, “Do anything you want Mary-Anne and take your time doing it.” A new record sale is completed. Mary-Anne was indeed a genuinely nice but very different customer.


Justine was a retired interior designer from Manhattan who was visiting Cairns on a high-end American Cruise Liner. She casually browsed the Mainie displays and was obviously impressed with the luxurious pure silk, hand-rolled hems, and exquisite packaging with provenance card explaining the Aboriginal art and the “Dreamtime story”. There was no rush, no impulse buying just slow but methodical appreciative shopping.

Justine was extremely interested in the Aboriginal culture that inspires all Mainie products and struck up a conversation concerning art and fashion with my wife and Mainie co-founder, Charmaine who was also at the shop that day. I disengaged myself from this conversation to engage Justine’s husband who was just standing there alone looking quite glum as husbands often are when their wives are shopping. We just small talked until Justine and Charmaine were finished. Justine purchased four Mainie pure silk scarves and a silk top and then she and her husband left.

About an hour later the husband came back to the shop and he looked upset and very unhappy. His body language said “aggression” I said to Charmaine, “We may have a problem here.”

He came up to me and very abruptly blasts out, “Get me three more scarves quickly!” We have about 30 different design scarves in the shop, so I calmly ask him, “Which ones mate?” He responds “You pick them. Just get me three scarves.”

When we are processing this extra sale, he is calmer so I ask him, “What’s the go, mate?” He told me that Justine went back to her cabin, tried on the scarves that she had previously purchased and then told him, to go and get three more. He just did what he was being told.


Posted by Denis Keeffe

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