The former prison nurse on the road with western store

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

ME­LANIE Well­steed carts her cloth­ing com­pany up and down the east coast of Aus­tralia in a re­vamped mo­bile li­brary.

Ru­ral Weekly caught up with Ms Well­steed in her shop truck at Far­mFest.

She be­gan her la­bel, Hitch­ley and Har­row, when she strug­gled to buy a shirt that had enough length in the body and sleeve, with­out los­ing the shape.

“His­tor­i­cally you needed to go up size to get the ex­tra length and then the shirt was over­sized and baggy,” she said.

“So we did this lit­tle pi­lot range and it went from there.

“A longer line body and longer line sleeve is our trade­mark de­sign fea­ture that all of our gar­ments have.”

In March 2014 Ms Well­steed de­cided to take her gar­ments to the road when she bought a truck at an auc­tion in NSW.

“When we first kicked off we were operating out of a

3x3 mar­quee and the then it went to a 3x6 then it was two

3x6 mar­quees joined to­gether,” she said.

“We were lucky enough to se­cure the or­ange truck at an auc­tion in Maxville, it used to be a mo­bile class­room.

“We stum­bled across it on­line and picked it up from NSW. We stripped it out and started from scratch and made it into a shop.

“It was a very lucky find. A case of the right place at the right time. It was a big project to get it to look how it does now.”

In June last year Hitch­ley and Har­row got an­other up­grade af­ter Ms Well­steed bought a 19m-long sin­gle trailer.

Ms Well­steed got her HV li­cense and drives the truck.

“It was a mo­bile li­brary that we got sec­ond hand and turned into an even big­ger shop,” she said. “It’s a sin­gle semi-trailer size, it needs a prime mover to tow it.

“It did its first show at War­wick rodeo in Oc­to­ber.”

Ms Well­steed said her cloth­ing de­signs were based on her per­sonal style and what she liked.

“I ac­tu­ally have a back­ground in nurs­ing. I was a nurse in the prison sys­tem for 10 years which is very dif­fer­ent to what I do now,” she said.

“But I grew up on a lucerne farm in Tam­worth and I’ve al­ways had com­pe­ti­tion horses, so I’ve al­ways had that coun­try style and eques­trian in­flu­ence in my per­sonal style.

“But I’ve had no fash­ion or de­sign ex­pe­ri­ence or train­ing, it’s just been wing­ing it.

“I just make what I like. There’s a lot of per­sonal in­flu­ence in the de­sign and the fab­ric se­lec­tion.”

Ms Well­steed said she had taken her busi­ness as far north as Nor­man­ton and as far south as Mel­bourne.

“There’s a lot of coun­try to cover,” she said. “We do a num­ber of key events through the year, we do the Bris­bane Royal, the Syd­ney Royal, and ev­ery sec­ond year we go down as far south as Mel­bourne for Equi­tana. “We also do field days and big­ger camp drafts dot­ted in around there.

“Our busy time is sort of from June un­til De­cem­ber. The first half of the year is con­stant but it’s not busy-busy.

“We have the shop in Toowoomba on the War­rego High­way in Charleton.”

PHOTO: CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER

TRAV­EL­LING STORE: Me­lanie Well­steed with a line of cloth­ing from her brand Hitch­ley and Har­row.

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