It’s not just a commercial property — it’s a piece of Australian fashion history.
Wheels and Dollbaby founder and head designer Melanie Greensmith is selling the Surry Hills office space that housed the creative headquarters of her iconic clothing label for more than 20 years.
The boutique city fringe property at 1/336-338 Crown Street will go to auction on March 7 as part of Ray White Commercial’s inaugural Quarterly Auction Week.
The office-workspace is footsteps away from the shop formerly tenanted by Wheels and Dollbaby, which was vacated late last year after the WA-based fashion doyenne surprised the world with the announcement she was closing her internationally renowned business.
“The magic happened there in that area — the shop and office have so much history,” Ms Greensmith said this week.
“A lot of famous people came through those doors for fittings … Katy Perry, Dita Von Teese and Debbie Harry, just to name a few. They wouldn’t go into the store of course because they wanted to stay private.
“Everyone loved working there because it was so convenient, near all the cafes, the bars after work, all the fashion boutiques and the hip people.”
At the time she bought the office in the 1990s, Wheels and Dollbaby was making a big impact in London — and the 58sqm space serviced the whole operation.
“We had 10 concession stores in Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges and Kate Moss was wearing our stuff,” she says.
“We were in 60 doors throughout London and I did all the designing and packing in that office.”
While the decision to close her business was difficult for Ms Greensmith, deciding to part with the office was a natural progression.
“It was there for me, it was near my retail store. Now I’m not in Sydney so much, there’s no point in me having it,” she says.
Ray White Commercial NSW agent Samuel Hadgelias, who is marketing the property with co-agents James Peach and Peter Taylor of Ray White Taylor Jones, says Ms Greensmith spent her days at the premises while she was working in Sydney.
“The workspace was the epicentre of Melanie’s creative inspiration and the very place where she and her team came up with Wheels and Dollbaby’s world-famous clothing designs while in Sydney,” Mr Hadgelias says.
“It’s a space with true rock-star credentials. As well as having direct access to Crown Street, the address is on the doorstep of popular restaurants, bars and cafes.”
Ms Greensmith plans to spend less time travelling and more time at her home — a farm outside Perth which she shares with her partner Mark McEntee, guitarist and co-founder of legendary Australian rock band The Divinyls.
As for the future, Ms Greensmith is biding her time but says the Wheels and Dollbaby brand will continue. She’ll also focus on her longtime interest in property investment.
“I’m seeing how I feel in a while and I’m also concentrating on more acquisitions in the property market in England.” she says.
“I’ve always bought property. I started at 21 and just continued.”
Aside from being able to indulge her love of decorating, she agrees property and fashion don’t have much in common.
“I love interiors but other than that they’re pretty different,” says Ms Greensmith, who is pictured below outside the office with Amy Finlayson.
Mr Peach says: “Melanie’s former creative and business space is in a highly coveted city fringe location known to be one of Sydney’s top high-end fashion districts. It’s an opportunity for an astute purchaser to either occupy or invest in a sought-after suburb.
The Wheels and Dollbaby brand was launched in Perth in 1987 with a shop in King Street, pioneering the city’s premier fashion strip. The Sydney shop opened soon after.
Ms Greensmith closed her Perth shop at the end of 2013 to focus on her core retail operation in Sydney.
The property will go to auction on at 10.30am on March 7, 2017, at Ray White Commercial’s head office – Level 17, 135 King Street, Sydney — unless sold prior.