Owner of The Gift Tree at North Ipswich Ruth O’Dowd at her shop.
Owner of The Gift Tree at North Ipswich Ruth O’Dowd at her shop. Sarah Harvey

Gift shop thriving

THE Gift Tree Ipswich is simply fascinating.

Ruth O'Dowd is the owner of this North Ipswich business which deals with homemade products, educational resources and unique giftware.

One month old, it is already building a regular client base.

"People want to get back to basics, they are financially challenged and what I am doing is not a big cost and it offers some down to earth things," Ms O'Dowd said.

"People want homemade, natural and they are coming from all around the city. This is more than a business, it is a consuming passion."

The Gift Tree Ipswich is located in shop 61A at 59-61 Downs St, North Ipswich, adjacent to the North Ipswich State School.

"It operates in a sharing culture as we support businesses that are small and could not afford a shopfront themselves," Ms O'Dowd said.

Many of these businesses have built a following through the various local markets and now need to be available to their customers on a more regular basis.

The homemade products include jams, chutney, sauces, handpainted glassware, specialty cards, soaps, jewellery, handbags, soy wax candles and the list goes on.

The business is carrying the Bahar skincare range.

Another major part of the business is the big range of children's books and the range of educational material.

"We have the early childhood solutions with Melissa Henderson, an early childhood educator. Currently we have craft workshops on Saturday and storytelling is on every second Thursday of the month," she said.

"We have unique games, all handmade and include puppets, storytelling dolls. We have CDs and books, nothing over $20."

Ms O'Dowd said she was introducing a multicultural and indigenous flavour into the business as she believed we needed more education around these topics.

Educators and parents alike are enjoying the range of products and the space to take time to look and share. They offer tea and coffee to make the experience more enjoyable.

Between the education resources and local traders, people coming to the store get the chance to talk with the experts and the makers of the homemade products.

"It works like a co-op and it is stocked and staffed by the creators of the items," Ms O'Dowd said.

"It is wonderful to have the soap maker in and customers are able to talk over the ingredients and get some advice and information."

The Gift Tree Ipswich is open seven days a week from 9am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, until 5pm on Friday and 9am to 2pm on Sunday.

You can call on 0437 110 789, check it out on Facebook or send an email to thegifttreeipswich@gmail.com



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