Tonia T - Werribee, Victoria


Owner - Tonia

16 Watton Street, Werribee 3030

Tell us about your store

I started Tonia T Boutique almost 18 years ago when I recognised a need for a quality ladies clothing store in the Werribee area, aimed at women with discerning tastes, who needed a bit more variety when it came to style, size and budget.

I had had years of retail experience, and even helped my Mum Trish when I was a little girl, in her four boutiques. I guess you could say retail is in my blood and I know how fortunate I am to be able to do what I LOVE every day!

We offer casual, work wear, through to Mother of the Bride/Groom … so can help everyone.

What is your customer profile?

Our customers are predominantly women in the 40+ age group. They desire products that are beautiful, unique, well made and reasonably priced. We have a high level of repeat customers because our customers appreciate the consistently exceptional, honest, and friendly customer service that they receive in-store.

What sets your boutique apart?

When people come into Tonia T, they aren’t just procuring an item of clothing, they come to have a chat, a laugh, to interact in a way that makes them feel welcome and valued as part of our community.

What is your best style tip?

My best style tip is just to have an open mind and TRY IT ON! It is amazing how often people look at things we show them on a hanger, and they immediately decide it’s not right; but If we can convince them to try it on, we often hear the words “Oh WOW. I love that, thank you!”

What makes your day?

I love it when a new customer comes in and may not actually buy something but tells me what a beautiful store I have and what an awesome selection of products. I love it when someone comes in feeling a bit blue because they’ve put on weight and don’t feel they look good in anything, and then leave the shop with a smile on their face and feeling so much better about themselves.

I love it when one of my beautiful customers comes in to shop with me. Almost 18 years after she gave me the confidence to keep going when I started, she is still a customer to this very day. Every customer becomes a friend.

How do you sprinkle kindness?

By providing a place where people want to be, feel valued, and included. I also am conscious of the need to give back to the community, so I have several organisations we support.

Over the past 18 years I have raised money for the local hospital and the Cancer Council doing Fashion Parades and other events, collected Winter jackets for the disadvantaged in the Werribee area, as well as toys at Christmas time, collected books for the Aboriginal Literacy Program and toiletries for Share the Dignity to name only a few.

Apart from your bricks and mortar store, how else do you market your goods?

I mainly use Facebook and Instagram as I find almost all of my customers are avid followers of these two platforms. I also have a website which works for me really well, not necessarily through actual sales, but as a guide. It is amazing how many people come in with a screen shot of products I have online. They may not end up buying those particular ones, but it has drawn them into the shop, and that gives us the chance to weave our magic.

What’s the best thing to do in your location, other than shop at your store?

I think the best thing in the Werribee area is Werribee Open Range Zoo. I have been there many times, and always come away feeling like I’ve had a great day!

Is there a local business you’d like to recommend, preferably a female led one, which aligns with our campaign?

The business that I will recommend is Emily K Visual Merchandising. I have used Emily’s small business for many years as she is brilliant at what she does!

Why do you stock Philosophy Australia?

Stocking Philosophy is just part of the Tonia T ‘brand”. I am proud that this label is one I stock that is Australian designed and made, and that it employs so many hard-working Aussies. Philosophy adds to that “something different” vibe I try so hard to curate within the store, that point of difference that keeps people coming back year after year. I have always found the team to be approachable, supportive and dedicated to the success of both their brand and mine!

Philosophy team member Kim-Marie recently visited Werribee Open Range Zoo, and absolutely loved it! If you're in Melbourne, take a little trip down the road and visit Werribee Open Range Zoo, and stop in at Tonia T for excellent service in a lovely welcoming environment. Say hi from us!

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