To describe Esta Putt as a dedicated retailer could be an understatement. As the manager of Blue Illusion, Esta has seen generations of families come to her store which has been in Glenferrie Road for more than 18 years.
Naturally, her customers come for the French-inspired, stylish fashion. But this business offers more. Three words define Blue Illusion: fashion, lifestyle and community. As part of this ethos, when asked, Esta will help customers declutter their wardrobes, saving precious items while helping her clients part with the rest. She loves working with customers to mix old faves with new items from the regularly changing Blue Illusion stock.
“I really enjoy offering a styling service for ladies who come in and say they need some help,” Esta says. While some come for wedding outfits or something for an anniversary, others simply seek stylish daywear.
She has even been known to demonstrate to customers the art of packing a suitcase for overseas travel.
Blue Illusion is home to a well-known secret item for many women around Malvern – beautifully cut jeans. The skinny and straight leg styles offer a stunning slimline and the elastic waist means they are perfect for travelling. The jeans come from Turkey, a country renowned for the magnificent quality of its cotton. “Women in their twenties, forties, eighties come in for our jeans.”
The store provides a beautiful range of gifts from handbags, tapestries and candles to homewares and jewellery. Not surprisingly, 95 per cent of shoppers are return customers, a testament to the quality of stock and the attentive care provided by Esta and her team. They provide alterations and home deliveries as well as an exchange service when someone changes their mind. “We’re all about an honest, happy relationship with our customers.”
Esta believes her attitude is reflected in the shops all around her along Glenferrie Road. “Being small retailers, we are very focused on the happiness of our customers. We feel a personal connection.
“Some of my older ladies who may not want to buy something still come in, leave their shopping with me and then come back for a chat.”
Blue Illusion has a strong philanthropic focus, regularly collecting donations for a range of causes from breast cancer to an orphanage in Cambodia. The company also supports ‘Dress for Success’, a non-profit organisation promoting economic independence for women by providing professional attire, support and career advice.
And Esta’s hot fashion tip? Lots of faux fur and long, fabulous jackets.
"I really enjoy offering a styling service for ladies who come in and say they need some help."