Marisa Young and Gabby Manderson turned their after-school job into a fashion destination that women on Sydney’s Northern Beaches can’t get enough of. Today, the sisters behind the brand balance motherhood with their love for fashion, growing their fashion boutique to three stores plus an ever-expanding online presence.
Taking timeout from her busy schedule, Marisa talks all things Splice, Australian Fashion Week and their local, the Northern Beaches.
Q&A with Marisa
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be where you are today?
Having worked for Splice Fashion & Living throughout my high school years, when I left school, my boss at the time asked me if I would be interested in buying the business. I still remember coming home and telling my dad, he was ecstatic for me! My mum Maria and late father David are the reasons we’re where we are today, due to the incredible privilege they gave to us, helping us to open the doors to our very own boutique.
Gabby and I worked at Freshwater for ten years, six days a week, evolving it from the young fashion/ homewares style we inherited into the purely fashion brand it is today. We opened the doors to our second boutique in Newport, in 2012 and last September we opened our third store in Avalon.
How would you describe the range you offer at Splice Boutique?
A carefully selected designer boutique that offers a very curated selection of Australian and international designers. Gabby and I have evolved with the Splice Boutique brand, our taste has obviously changed, however we always still buy with the "younger us" in mind. Pieces we would have worn or wish we could still wear!
Gabby and I also design our own in house brand, éss The Label, which consists of handmade leather sandals and heels, leather or suede handbags and clutches and leather jackets. Our Finn Leather Biker Jacket and Bella Lace Up Sandals were our biggest sellers across all locations last season, which was very exciting for us! We are also about to broaden our collection with a line of linen, cotton and silk essentials, pieces that Gabby and I love to wear on a daily basis.
Owning a successful boutique with a cult like following means you would need to constantly stay on top of trends - how do you do this?
We always buy for our customers while keeping true to our personal style. We keep in mind what will work for our customers’ long term and their need for quality and longevity.
We read magazines, source new labels online and of course, spend hours scrolling through Instagram – we have stumbled across some amazing new talent that way. We also look to inspiring trends, nods to classic pieces that repeat over time, cultural and lifestyle inspiration and world events and travel.
And we of course take feedback from our team and listen to our customers, we have some exciting changes for the “visual” elements of Splice coming soon based on this and we love to mix up the aesthetic of Splice along with the stock and keep it fresh and inspiring!
As a mother of two, how do you maintain a work/life balance?
I'm a Mumma of two beautiful little girls, Sahri 5 and Aylah 3. I just had Sahri when we opened our Newport store and Gabby was pregnant with her little Edie. It was just prior to this that our big sister Lia changed her PR & Marketing role in the city to come on board and join our team and lead the way in running our online store, which we’d launched the year prior.
Lia is another main reason why we are where we are today, taking the reins and helping us in all aspects of the stores and online, so we could be there for our babies as well as the stores. We thank our lucky stars for her.
Plus, we have always run our business as something to be enjoyed and whilst professional, most of our team are family and friends we have known for years; all of whom we consider family, past and present staff included. We wouldn’t be where we are today without this close-knit, loyal and supportive team of amazing girls. Our staff are the faces of our business and we feel very lucky to have such a supportive team behind us.
Are there any expansion plans for Splice?
This year we plan an exciting major update to our multichannel format and as always, have scouted some incredible new labels and brands that we are rolling out from now until Christmas, along with an exciting new campaign shoot and some fun events planned for our customers!
What is on high rotation in your wardrobe right now?
I adore Viktoria & Woods, they make the most beautiful knitwear. My KITX leather leggings, CAMILLA AND MARC Stevie jeans and Neuw Denim high rise jeans worn with my Department of Finery sneakers! These are my staple go-to.
What is your best fashion hack?
EARRINGS! I’ve always had an obsession with earrings. They just make any outfit look complete. Petite Grand would have to be one of my favourites. And I also love a good heel – I have an obscene amount of heels and a lot that have never been worn, but I just had to have!
Your boutiques are located on the Northern Beaches. How has that influenced Splice?
We grew up in Narrabeen and have now settled in Avalon. Each suburb of the beaches has its own unique footprint and fashion, but overall the Northern Beaches has a relaxed vibe, more beach luxurious than anything else. Our history of living in the area, the people we know and its close proximity to the city definitely gives Splice its signature look.
What do you love about the Northern Beaches?
We love the beaches for its laid back, friendly vibe, incredible beaches, amazing restaurants to wine and dine and the fact that it’s always changing, but keeping true to its relaxed vibe.
Where is your favourite place for …
Boathouse Palm Beach for Breakfast or long lunches
Dinners with friends are always a good time at Mexicano Restaurant in Narrabeen.