Therese Pittari always believed a shop in Bellingen selling preloved boho and retro stuff would do well.
As a volunteer with Hope for the Homeless, she came up with the idea of A Little Bit Gypsy and has been managing it since it opened on Church St in September.
She's also the person who sorts through donations at the Coffs warehouse to find those items she regards as distinctly Bellingen.
"Anything outrageous, anything bright, bold, colourful, different," she said. "Anything 50s, 60s, 70s."
She brings two carloads of fresh things each week and takes those that haven't walked out the door in the last fortnight to try their luck in one of the other stores in South Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Nambucca.
Hope for the Homeless - Coffs Harbour is a local, independent, not-for-profit charity founded by Dean Evers in 2016.
When a woman escaping a domestic violence situation with nothing but the clothes on her back posted a plea on a local Buy Swap Sell site for donations, he stepped in to organise help.
"If someone needed an item and another had the item, I simply became the conduit to collect and deliver. It all steamrolled from there," Dean said.
Donations piled up at his place - at one point he had four 40-foot containers full of furniture waiting to find a home - so he set up a warehouse and began opening shops.
Now there are five shops, including one called Trendy Treasures in Coffs that specialises in ballgowns and suits.
"In four years we've helped thousands of people, whether they've been escaping domestic violence, are homeless, or one cheque away from homelessness," Dean said.
"We happily donate free of charge any items they may need, like clothing, tents, blankets, cooking utensils, etc.
"When someone who has been homeless is fortunate enough to secure housing, we donate any or all items they need to set up home. For those individuals and families, it's like going on a shopping spree for free.
"There's no barriers to jump - we don't ask for official documents for proof. We work on the premise that these people have been through enough already."
Therese said the Gypsy shop in Bellingen has proved popular with both locals and visitors.
"A lot of people come in and don't even realise we're a charity shop," she said. "I like to call it a charity shop, not an op shop."
A Little Bit Gypsy is Therese's first foray into retailing but she's not short on work experience, having run restaurants and a pub, caravan parks and a furniture removal business.
Italian by birth and a chef by trade, she said the skills of food presentation have translated into styling a shop.
"When you're a chef and putting food on a plate you have to make it look good, so there's some artistry there."
She also gives her dedicated group of workers free rein to exercise their creativity in rearranging the displays and refers to them as "the most lovely volunteers in the whole world".
"They are what make this shop. I might be the manager but since I've found all these lovely ladies I'm rarely here."
She wanted their names listed, so here they are: Lizzy Macer, Jeanette Keough, Caroline Tait, Lesley Henning, Linda McCarthy, Natasha Charlton, Fiona Quin, Julie Warwick and Carmeline Leombruni.
The latest initiative of the organisation they're supporting is the Harbourside Housing and Homeless Hub, which focuses on helping families and individuals navigate the barriers they face in gaining affordable housing.
It's not about finding housing for people - groups like Mission Australia do that - it's about advising them, advocating for them, and lending a very practical helping hand.
"We provide what they need in the house," Therese said. "We'll give them a fridge, lounge, washing machine. Sometimes there's a small fee, but that's just to cover having it delivered. We can set up a three-bedroom house for a hundred bucks."