Nik Shimmin makes and sells flares in bohemian, vintage-inspired fabrics. She opened her shop, Flare Street, in July 2013 after a fruitless search for the perfect pair of flares that were comfortable, didn’t break the bank and that flared with every step.
“I’ve been a flare lover since the 90’s when my Mum would send my sisters and I to school in crushed velvet flares,” she says, “it wasn’t quite the uniform but we did it anyway.”
To this day she still considers velvet flares to be her favourite.
Flare Street’s first customer, based in Florida, always buys the loudest, velvet pairs that Nik has in stock. She’s up to her 16th pair now. Two years down the track, there’s now also boho bloggers in London, musicians in Nashville and jewellery makers in Melbourne all traipsing around Flare Street flares.
“You never know where they will end up and that’s all part of the fun of it!”
Niks ultimate goal is to make flares for everyone and spread the flare-love. We chatted to Nik about a typical day in her creative life.
7.30am: I’m up and on Etsy bright and early – a lot of my flare sales come in overnight as more than half of my customers are based overseas. I check in and respond to my Etsy emails and social accounts at my local cafe. It’s a really nice way to start my morning.
9am: Time to head back to the studio. I mix it up so I don’t drown in flares, between pinning, sewing, hemming or adding the tag and finishing touches. I usually have a record spinning, any thing from Syl Johnson to The Beatles.
12pm: I like to get a walk in everyday – the best part about having an online business is that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can always check in, reply to customers or add to my social channels.
6.30pm: I usually sew in the evening to wind down, it’s very therapeutic.
Weekends are when the fun happens. It’s full of trips to my favourite fabric stores, markets and more sewing. A usual Saturday or Sunday looks like this:
8am: I start the day at the local café for a coffee with my partner.
1pm: I’ve most likely spoken to my favourite Melbourne fabric stores to suss out if they have some new fabrics for me to come and look at. I purchase fabrics that are designed in Australia and stocked locally by independent suppliers. I work about 6 months in advance with styles, so I have to contain my excitement and keep new fabrics under wraps.
My mum joins me on these fabric buying trips. It’s great to chat about them and work out which fabrics and patterns will be best for flares. Her support is invaluable with Flare Street – she’s the one that taught me to sew when I was little and provides me with a lot of inspiration.
6pm: Depending on where I’m heading tonight, I’ll pick out some flares from my personal collection of favourites. Usually, you can find me at a local gig, music festival, picnic with my friends or somewhere fun for dinner and a cheeky cocktail.
Sunday morning’s first stop is the Camberwell Rotary Sunday Market to rummage through the trash and treasure. I’ve been going since I was 8 years old and always seem to find something I love – vintage beach umbrellas, records, picnic baskets. The market is full of an eclectic mix of people and gives me a lot of inspiration for Flare Street.
I check in to the Etsy Teams on Sundays – I’m a Team Leader of the Melbourne Street Team and enjoy chatting to other Etsy leaders & sellers, sharing tips & stories.
The rest of the afternoon is spent in the studio listening to my records with pot after pot of tea!
I draw my inspiration from everywhere! Biba in London in the 1960’s is a huge inspiration, but mainly the 60’s & early 70’s London or Californian based rock girls. I’m a huge fan of Pattie Boyd, Bebe Buell and Stevie Nicks’ style – Cher and Janis Joplin too.
Keep an eye out for Flare Street halter neck bikini tops, they match the flares and moonlight as great festival tops too!
You can shop Flare Street’s wares here, or follow her on Instagram. Read more Day In The Life stories from local sellers here.