Lillian McKnight • 14 June 2012

They say you can’t put a price on happiness but, tucked up in bed with a glass of wine, a credit card and your favourite online store gleaming from the screen of your laptop, you can come pretty close. Curating such beacons of enjoyment, however, is a job that takes a lot of time, thought and business nous.

In our new pages feature SHOP TALK, we’ll be talking to the boutique babes from our favourite online shopping haunts. For our first installment, Giselle Farhat of My Chameleon sits down for a chat.

pages: What prompted you to open your store?
: I was working in finance, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore so I decided to open My Chameleon. I found it really difficult to find a shopping destination anywhere in Australia that catered to my style and my need for quality and uniqueness.

I always shopped when overseas, picking up pieces from emerging and small contemporary labels that I had never heard of, and it made me wonder why these brands had not been discovered in Australia yet! It was a shame, these labels were stars in the world of fashion internationally but no one knew about them here. I wanted to share these labels with an Australian audience, and that’s where the online component came in. Initially it had to be online for accessibility.

What sets your store apart from others?
There is a lot of research that goes into setting out our portfolio of designers and growing each season. We want to constantly challenge our customer to think more about quality, cut and longevity in a piece rather than trends or whether they know the label. We are all about buying pieces that you are confident to wear season after season.

We are constantly introducing international labels to the Australian market, and for many we are exclusive local stockists. Our customer service is very personalised. We have a relationship with our customers and this will never change.

What criteria do you follow in choosing your stock?
The initial decision is always based on immediate instinct. After this comes fabric, cut and then whether or not the pieces will translate online. Because we are a solely online store, it is really important that our customer can see just how interesting a piece is, so it must have something that translates from physical presence to imagery.

What brand are you especially excited about stocking and why?
I am so excited about Altewai Saome from Sweden. For me, this label is the perfect expression of modern, almost futuristic design initiative, and yet it is still so wearable. The designers also recently won the Max Factor Design Award at the FW12 Stockholm Fashion Week.

What are your top three product picks this season?
The Great Trench Coat by Organic by John Patrick, Barelo White Mirror Oxfords by Dieppa Restrepo and the Tunic Karate Shirt in White by TOME.

pages picks: Lady Duffel Bag by CuvalMix Charm Bracelet by Petite Grande and Slim Contrast Shirt by Thomsen Paris.