Woodend General, a carefully curated lifestyle store with a strong focus on high quality, functional and ethically made goods for the home, garden and family. Run by Louise and Angela Pannell (Lou and Ange), Woodend General is a place where you can find a “gift for everyone”, with an ever evolving collection of items for the home including basketware, ceramics, home fragrance, textiles and linens, quality garden tools and accessories, baby and children’s clothing as well as mens and ladies accessories and body products.
Sisters, Lou and Ange always dreamed of opening a shop together and would play shops together as kids. Growing up, their parents also ran a business, giving them the role models they needed to know it was possible.
Woodend General—How It All Started
As a Woodend local, Lou could see a gap in the market for the shop they envisioned; somewhere for locals to find everyday quality items for their home, garden and gifting, and particularly quality baby and children’s collections. There wasn’t anywhere else to buy these types of goods in town.
In late 2019 a site became available in Woodend, but despite desperately wanting to get started, they knew that timing wasn’t great; Ange was about to give birth to her first baby, and Lou was juggling three children and an intense job in Melbourne. So, they made plans to open a shop within the next 2-5 years.
When the site was still available a few months later, they decided to pounce before someone else did. After a quick “family conversation” (to the horror of Lou’s husband who was not excited by the prospect of another business), they seized the moment.
They now run a successful and well-known business, and relish living and working locally in Regional Victoria. They run all aspects of Woodend General themselves, with help from their parents, as well as a local friend, Anna, who works with them.
Get to know Lou + Ange from Woodend General
Lou lives in Woodend with her three daughters and husband, and is a Visual Merchandiser by trade and has worked most of her career in Visual Merchandising for fashion, accessories and beauty brands in Australia and the UK. She also had a brief period running a fashion label with her best friend when her first two daughters were first born.
Ange lives in Castlemaine with her husband and 18 month old son, and has a background in retail, managing both physical and online stores as well as working for wholesale brands. She is naturally a creative person, and pre-baby was always sewing, crafting and gardening.
With so many complementary skills, Lou and Ange were the perfect team.
We asked them some questions about work, life, and what it’s like stocking GGCo. products; check out the answers below.
Why does Woodend General exist and what is it about the store that you’re passionate about?
We opened Woodend General to provide the type of store that we would love to shop at. We only stock quality brands and makers that Ange and I would wish to buy ourselves, have in our homes, or gift to our friends and family.
We are passionate about supporting local, handmade, Australian-made and female-lead businesses, and we love our range of products on offer; many of which have been designed and created by the most fabulous individuals. We really admire their bravery, determination and drive to create something unique, and to put it out into the world.
Curating the store is a joy and a job that is never done. We are always on the lookout for high quality, beautiful products to bring to our customers.
We are also mindful of over consumption in a world and time when we really need to be looking at reducing everything we consume on all levels in order to combat climate change and ongoing environmental destruction. It’s for this reason that we only stock quality items made to last—we always try to encourage our customers to ‘buy once and buy well’.
Meeting and getting to know the local community and forging relationships with our clients is the best thing about running Woodend General.
We love providing a high level of customer service and are all about our customers! Our customers are our “why” and what gets us up in the morning.
What is it that you love about stocking The Grampians Goods Co. products?
The Grampians Goods Co. is such a fabulous brand; the heritage feel, the name, and the regional Australian success story that is GGco.
We absolutely love that the business itself is located in the Grampians, and that many of the ingredients have been sourced locally, and many of the products are made locally.
Visitors to Woodend General love GGCo. products; whether they are locals or visitors from Melbourne, Sydney or Cairns, they are looking for “local” Australian made products and love that about GGCo.
The blankets and candles are two of our best selling items and sell for us all year around. People love the nostalgia of the blankets and quite often tell stories of how their Grandma was from Scotland and had that exact same tartan blanket. Or, they tell you which Clan their family descends from and which is their family tartan!
Our customers love the quality of the blankets and I think the price point is in a good sweet spot for a 100% wool blanket. They are a keepsake that you will have forever and are often bought to be given as wedding presents.
People also love the leather blanket carrier and the new All Weather Adventure blankets have also been a hit! We can’t wait to get the Paddock Pillows in and have already had customers requesting them.
Likewise, the candles are divine, and are a firm favourite for gifts or “gifts to self”. They just smell so good! So subtle, but calming and relaxing and customers love the long burn time. The essential oil base is also a winner, as lots of customers do not want any synthetic fragrances in their candles.
The travel candles were a hit at Christmas as people added them to hampers or stockings and we loved the Christmas Candle – Frankincense and Myrrh – our customers loved to experience that scent of Christmas time in-store.
Connect with Lou & Ange at Woodend General!
Visit Woodend General’s website for all their beautiful products, or say hi over at Instagram or Facebook, or phone 03 5427 1695. Or, if you’re in Woodend, pop into the store at 100 High Street Woodend in Regional Victoria.