A-POH: Spotlight - Makin' Whoopee

Tell us about Makin' Whoopee and what you offer?

We are an independent Gift Shop in the heart of the Cairns CBD.  We sell products from other small indy businesses, artists, designers, craftspeople, and local makers too!  All of our products are from Australian suppliers, and as much as possible is also made in Australia, and/or sustainably & ethically made if it is produced overseas.  We also stock a LOT of gorgeous handmade products, which is our passion!  We have products from all over the country in Makin' Whoopee, as well as a great range from our town, and our region!

Where did your inspiration come from?

We all come from Arts backgrounds, between us, we are photographers, printmakers, potters, sewers, and artists, and we wanted to create a unique shopping opportunity in Cairns, all the while supporting and showing off the wares of makers and creatives from Cairns and the rest of Australia.  Having worked in the industry for many years, we felt that there was a gap in the Cairns scene, for more funky, artsy & crafty products, so we decided to take the plunge & have a go at opening our own shop!  We wanted to bring to Cairns the type of shopping experience that we look for ourselves in other places when we travel!

What do you find rewarding about running your own business?

Being your own boss is AMAZING... a lot of hard work, long hours, blood, sweat & tears, but 100% worth it!  Doing all of that work for your own business is so satisfying, instead of making someone else's business look good, we can do it all for ourselves!  We get  to decide everything, and use all of our creative energy to make our little shop special! When you get to create an environment that you love, work with people you admire, and become a part of a special community, well, that is just the best reward for all of the toil along the way!

What makes you happy and how do you find happiness?

Ticking things off our wishlist, and our goals list is always a happy day, and really without sounding too cliche... spending days in our shop is definitely our favourite thing, it is a happy, colourful and fun place, you can't help but feel good!  Personally, because we spend so much time in the shop, & working on side projects, like our Makers Markets, and Whoopee Workshops, being at home, and with our pets is also a huge treat and makes us very happy... so does good food & drinks, you can often find us testing out great venues all over Cairns!

What is your greatest challenge and accomplishment?

By far... the greatest challenge is surviving the lean times, obviously, right now & for the last 18 months or more, it has been super tricky, and not always so fun. While Cairns has been so lucky on the COVID side of things,  we have been hit very badly in other ways, and the lack of people in the CBD is very scary, no tourists, even domestic travellers, is devastating for the Cairns economy, and affects every industry, we have to be so careful with everything that we do.

We are also always up against the shopping centres, and bigger chains as far as getting people to shop, eat & drink in small & local businesses goes. Cairns is absolutely overflowing with amazing small, local and independent businesses, cafe's, bars, restaurants, and of course gift shops, and we all really need people to support us, so that we can all thrive, not just survive! These businesses are what make Cairns unique, they can't be found anywhere else, and we all need locals to support us more than ever right now! We will never stop promoting our town and reminding people why they should venture out of the shopping centres!

Our greatest accomplishment is the other side of that coin, surviving, and growing through such hard times!  We have existed for almost seven years now, and are coming up to 5 years in our permanent shop, and that is such an accomplishment really, most small businesses don't survive the first two!  We are so very grateful to our amazing supporters and regular customers who have made all of this possible!

Where can we find you?
We are at 58 Shields Street, right in the middle of Cairns CBD! We have some amazing neighbours on our street, from Jimmy's Burgers, Slap & Pickle, McGinty's, Willa & Me, So Unforgettable, La Fettucina & so many more, we're right in the middle of the action!  A visit to Makin' Whoopee means you can also drop into all of these amazing businesses, and so many more, it's a fantastic and fun part of town!