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Stephanie Coutts

If you’re a lover of vintage furniture, Moroccan homewares and local art, get excited because we have unearthed an absolute gem in Currumbin.

Parker and Persia is the baby of Stephanie Coutts and her husband Sam, and it’s filled with beautifully refurbished vintage furniture (the work of Sam), authentic Moroccan rugs and wedding blankets and, you guessed it, local art.

Because all of those things are our absolute favourites, we sat down for a chat with Steph about Moroccan honeymoons and furniture collecting.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
About ten years, I moved from Brisbane when I was 20-something and I’ve lived here ever since.

What do you love most about the Coast?
The relaxed lifestyle. Having the ocean at your front door, there’s always something to do, even if it’s just a walk on the beach. I just love it. 

Tell us about your store, Parker and Persia…
We started out collecting retro pieces, nothing that’s of the same quality we have now, but Sam and I would find things on Gumtree and we fell in love with sourcing them. Sam would do them up and then sell them on again. We had part of our honeymoon in Morocco and fell in love with these rugs because they’re so beautiful. Sam’s Dad actually owns the complex of shops we’re in now and we just had so much furniture but didn’t have any room in the house, or the garage or Sam’s parent’s garage anymore, and this shop was vacant. We weren’t even thinking about opening a store, we wanted to open a gourmet sandwich shop and were focused on that but needed to make room in our house, so we put the furniture in here as storage. Eventually I just stepped back from it and realised we already had a shop right here. So it just kind of happened.

Where do you source everything from now?
All over Australia. Gumtree, eBay, word of mouth, deceased estates, plus we’ve got a couple of drivers who scout around South Australia, Sydney and Melbourne because it’s difficult for us to be out picking things up from everywhere obviously.

What are your professional backgrounds?
I was working full time at an Audiology clinic, which I loved, and Sam owns Currumbin Alley Surf School. He wanted to be able to do something creative too because it’s tiring being in the water all the time and this just kind of happened organically.

How does the refurbishing process work for you?
We want everything to look as original as possible. The sideboards and tables and things like that are easy, you can look at pictures or just tell the varnish and oil they’ve used. With reupholstery, it’s a bit more challenging. We have an idea in mind of what we like and what we think other people will like but it’s hard to choose fabrics sometimes because you can never really be sure. It’s so much fun though.

Tell us about the art you stock at Parker and Persia…
At the moment we’re stocking a local artist called Todd Claire who lives in Palmy. We’re going to try and bring in new artists every couple of months and we’d love to keep it local.

Have you always loved vintage pieces for your own home?
I have but the things I used to love were a lot different. I always liked really eclectic things but I think back to my first couch and it wasn’t good. My taste has definitely evolved.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2019?
We’re having a baby in March and we’ll close the shop for a little while and then we’ll just see what happens after that.

Any advice for someone wanting to start their own business?
I think it’s just about being confident and believing in yourself. I was worried this wouldn’t work at first but you can always try and even if something fails at least you tried. Everyone is super supportive down here though so that’s great.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast..
Beach:
Currumbin
Café: I love Portside
Restaurant: There’s a collection of restaurant in Tugun I love Kahani, Luna Rossi and Sala Thai, they’re quiet little local places and they’re so good
How does your weekend usually look: Sam works every single day, especially in summer, I’m here on a Saturday but any time we get, we usually go to the beach, maybe head down south to Fingal or something

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