‘Businesses of Banyule’ presents Ritz of Rosanna, Rosanna
Dressed for success, no matter what age or size.
Every woman should be able to walk into a shop and find something that looks gorgeous and fits well, no matter what her age or size.
It’s on this premise that Melissa Bartelt-Siladi has built her successful fashion boutique Ritz of Rosanna, which attracts a loyal and diverse customer base from Banyule and further afield, including regional Victoria. As the fashion category winner in the 2016 Banyule Bestbiz Awards, the boutique attracted much praise for its “great range of clothing for women of every size”, its “exceptional customer service”, and the friendly staff who invest time and effort, and honesty, in helping women find the perfect outfit for every occasion.
While Melissa established the boutique 10 years ago in the Rosanna Shopping Centre, 15 years ago she and her mother took over Cherish, previously called The Forgotten Woman, which had served the local community for 50 years. While Cherish closed in September 2016, its best loved brands will be stocked at Ritz. Before establishing these boutiques, Melissa was an area manager for Australian fashion chains.
What makes Ritz different is that it stocks sizes 8 to 24, where most boutiques concentrate on either smaller sizes or larger sizes, and Melissa buys only Australian fashion made specifically for Australian bodies, and does not buy mass produced garments. This means it’s a more exclusive shopping experience but one that is still cognisant of customer’s budgets. “Women of all ages and sizes should be able to look beautiful,” Melissa says.
The boutique also provides formal-wear for all occasions, such as spring racing, balls, weddings, and mother of the bride or groom, which is often difficult to find, ensuring yet another magnet for customers.
One of the game changers for Melissa is social media. She posts daily to 5,000 Facebook page followers, with customers coming into the boutique because of what they see. “If we did not have Facebook, I can categorically say that we would be out of business because we are not in a big shopping centre and need to give people a reason to come to us.”
Melissa says the main challenges of running her small business are the weather, with both extremes of cold and heat affecting custom, and not being able to compete with department stores or online shopping. However, on the upside, she loves being part of the local community, providing employment to five local women, and getting to know customers on a personal basis.
Ritz of Rosanna is getting the right fit all round.