What do you get when a fashion designer and a shopping-obsessed former international flight attendant join forces to open a luxury concept store in Potts Point?
Answer: Becker Minty. This eclectic melting pot of glamorous goods is ever-changing thanks to its owner and chief buyer Jason Minty.
As any Potts Point local knows, ducking into Becker Minty for a ‘quick look’ never works – you’ll always find something to fall in love with. We recently had a chat about how it all started, buying local and what he loves about being the neighbourhood’s go-to store for all things art, homewares and gifts.
Becker Minty is the most incredible store. Have you always had a passion for retail?
It’s been a lifelong passion! My first career was as an onboard manager for Qantas International and I was addicted to shopping back then. I went all around the world and all I did was fly, sleep, get up, go shop and fly home again. And running Becker Minty is kind of like putting that into a business!
How did you come to start the store?
I initially opened the business with a good friend of mine, Christopher Becker – We used to just joke around about one day opening a store together. We were both at a crossroads in our life. I left flying and he was about to go travelling for a year – and we thought, why don’t we just do a little research, see what’s out there. Serendipity sent us to our current space at the back of the Ikon Building and, bang! Seven months later Becker Minty began!
Wow. How would you describe the concept of the store?
The whole concept was to bring things that were unique and different into Australia. So we did a big, around-the-world buying trip to start off, then we opened.
That was the whole reason for it really wasn’t it? You just wanted to go on a massive shopping trip around the world?
Haha! Absolutely! Look it was fabulous, that first trip. We started off in Argentina in South America which was sensational. We bought lots of antiques, glassware and bits and pieces. And then we headed over to Europe where we scoured Germany, Denmark and Paris. It was a very exciting trip.
Amazing. And how many trips have you done since?
I usually travel 3-4 times a year on buying trips. I go to Vegas in June for its five massive jewellery fairs, and every January I go to Paris for Maison&Objet, a huge home decoration and furniture fair. It’s so fun. I often travel with my dear friend Blainey North, we have great dinners out and spend lots of time just wandering the streets of Paris. You just never know where you’re going to end up.
Are you going stir-crazy not being able to fly right now due to COVID-19?
Look, I am a big traveller. I haven’t been on a plane in 12 months, which has been hard but I’m enjoying the downtime. I’ve moved apartments and I’ve been nesting and spending more time with friends, so it’s not all bad!
Your prices in the store vary wildly. Is it always interesting to see who comes in and what they buy?
Yes! And you know, the biggest lesson – and I learned this as a flight attendant – is never judge a book by its cover. We get a plethora of people through the store and it’s important for us to have a price point that’s across the board. So we stock some unbelievably fabulous, aspirational items. But we also offer some extremely affordable things. So hopefully everyone can afford to buy something if they come in. The store is very much a journey of discovery. You never quite know what you’re going to find and it’s always changing.
How do you fight the temptation to not take the store’s many treasures home with you?
I do it all the time. I have to love everything that comes in, otherwise I wouldn’t bring it in. Thankfully, I don’t have enough room for all of it. Sometimes I’ll have something really fabulous and I’ll sit there and look at it and desperately want to keep it for myself. When I’m really smitten with something, more often than not it sells straight away.
How has Covid affected sales for you?
We did close in the first wave, it was pointless being open. And when we really reopened again, things were tough and foot traffic was very low. But fortunately we’re often the first stop shop for a lot of Sydney’s best interior designers and thankfully their businesses kept going because so many people were at home and wanted to do up their home! That certainly helped us keep going.
You’ve lived in the area so long – what do you love about it?
I love Bistro Rex and the Gypsy café, and some of the stores are amazing – the SpringCourt sneaker store is a fabulous addition to the street. And I love exploring the little side streets and back lanes. The whole area is really accessible, very easy, super friendly. Everytime I go out, I bump into someone I know. The demographic has changed over the years – there are a lot more young families, but there’s still a mix of young professionals and retirees. And I think as the area matures the younger generation keeps the older generation young.
What are your plans for the store going forward?
We’re constantly evolving and during the past few years, art has become a huge part of our business. There are lots of young, emerging artists out there, predominantly Australian-based, and they’ve all still been producing during this time and it’s been great to have that Australian art in the store. About two years ago, I bought a piece of work from Joshua Charadia in a competition where he came second. And he just became a finalist in the Sulman! That’s really exciting, to have discovered someone when they were brand new and then now they’re going to hang in the Sulman this year. It’s truly wonderful.
That’s great. Do you feel like since the bushfires and the pandemic there’s been this emerging trend across retail, everyone wanting to support local products?
Yes most definitely. We’ve always had Australian products in the store but it’s often been difficult to find products that suit our aesthetic. COVID has really helped us focus on that. We know our clients are on the same path now too – before, they were very much like, ‘If it’s not overseas I don’t want it’ but that’s changing. I think that’s a very exciting thing, not just for the economy, but I just think Australia as a whole. It’s about time we really started to love our own country and our own products.
Photo credit: Beker Minty Facebook page