Kate Fonseka is the lovely lady behind brand new Perth boutique Chantille Boutique. The store is absolutely gorgeous, and a welcome addition to the Mt Pleasant area. Ladies, it’s well worth checking out! And, in the meantime, you can check out our chat with Kate below x
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I come from a family where no one is quite like the others. I am half Scottish, a quarter Welsh and a quarter Sri Lankan. I grew up in the UK and my family travelled a lot. When I was 11 my parents decided to trial a move to Australia for a year and we have been here ever since! I have been with my partner since high school however still insist we are not high school sweethearts. I can be very black and white, but kind when it counts.
Can you please tell us about your new Mt Pleasant store – Chantille Boutique? What made you decide to start the business and what kinds of styles does it stock?
I opened Chantille after coming to a turning point in my life where I didn’t know which direction to take. I have always worked in the Art and Fashion industry, however found it hard to gain complete creative satisfaction working for someone else. I wanted to challenge myself. I had previously lived in Applecross for many years and have always loved south of the river – it just made sense to bring beautiful brands and a boutique approach to the area.
Chantille really is an extension of my style. It is refined and classic and always evolving. The stock explores femininity with a unique edge. The majority of brands are new to Perth and aren’t stocked anywhere else. This means along with your favourite cult labels you will always find something that you haven’t seen before from a range of price points.
Chantille is a destination store. It is a place where your mum and daughter duo can both come and find something from casual to cocktail attire. You can park out the front, be called by name and take the time to look around. It is spacious and minimal. The fitting rooms are large and the clothing is displayed so you can see them. The experience you have in store is personal and comfortable – this is paramount.
What was the process like setting up a new fashion business? Was it what you expected?
Opening up Chantille was an absolute whirlwind! Everything happened so fast from getting the space to opening. I honestly don’t think I had time to have expectations.
I knew what I wanted and had a vision for the store but also wanted it to evolve organically. I didn’t want to open and push a style or concept to the area that people wouldn’t respond to. I ask and listen to feedback everyday from my clients and I am constantly working on refining Chantille to make it the best it can be for everyone that walks through the doors.
I can imagine that, when starting a business, a good spot for a strong coffee and a bite is a must! Where are your favourite spots to go for breakfast in Perth?
My partner and I love trying out new places. When we first discovered @breakfastinperth we literally made it our mission to try out a new place every weekend. We still do years later! All time favourites include:
The atmosphere at the Treasury is so ecstatic. I love that Perth has a venue like this! The men in my life are a little too obsessed with coffee and beer so I am a regular accessory at the beer garden. Long Chim is my trade off and the obvious choice for dinner. All the dishes are delicious. The Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli with crunchy pork is a must.
I only went to this restaurant a couple of weeks ago. It is open kitchen style and only has three tables. Located in Leeming it is so unassuming and a total wildcard. But wow. The food is Nobu quality but half the price. They have nightly specials – the night that I went there was beef cheek and it was so delicious. Oh and the gyozas are SO good.
Lately I have been going here after dinner for a nightcap and desserts. It might be the only place in Perth that doesn’t close the kitchen till after 10pm and it is the perfect way to end your night out.
The menu is weird and wonderful. Trust in the combinations that the chefs come up with – they just work. The smoked pork cheek with apple and fermented cabbage is my absolute favourite.
This is often a tough one, but what’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
I have been lucky enough to travel from a very young age. I have visited some amazing countries and experienced so many cultures, which has allowed for some very memorable food memories!
Highlights include Christmas Dinner with my partner at Mercer Kitchen in New York, fighting over turkey leg with my siblings at Disney Land, eating my weight in kettle corn from the farmer’s market Chelsea Village, missing a ferry in Capri for the most incredible Caprese sandwich, and waiting for hours on a step in San Francesco to then be led into a basement speakeasy style to have the best Japanese I have ever had.
However, my fondest meals have always been the ones enjoyed with family and loved ones. From Sri Lankan feasts in Colombo, my Grandma’s shortbread in Wales to my parent’s house, where you will find the best roast potatoes (otherwise known as “crispys”). Narrowing it down to one, I must admit I’m a sucker for a homemade Sunday roast lamb dinner!
Last but not least, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
This question is hard. I am my experiences – I have learned and adapted in every aspect of my life from the things I have gone through and the people I have met.
The last couple of months have been the hardest and most rewarding months of my life. The advice I have lived by is to ‘only worry about things you can control’. Sometimes you really just have to believe in the process and enjoy the journey.