Those wandering into Merchant & Sisters might find it a bit hard to define what the store is all about: aside from its selection of casual outfits, denim wear, accessories and bags, the store also houses a small café, a branch of The Tattoo Parlor, and The Burrow barbershop – all within a cosy upstairs shoplot on the corner of Jalan Batai. Co-owner Sunitha Petrus describes M&S (an unintended acronym… we think) as a modern take on the old general store, where people can feel relaxed, meet other people and be a part of a community.
This is a boutique store where people and personalities matter as much as the goods and services sold. While the store features a mélange of goods, they all share a casually cool vibe, which isn’t dissimilar from Sunitha’s own style; the clothes and accessories are personally sourced by Sunitha and her sisters from their travels, and aren’t too elaborate or fussy. Among the brands spotted here are Radio Fiji designer swimwear, basket bags from Australian brand 2 duck, and accessories from France-based Taratata Bijoux. Guys will be pleased to see a corner dedicated to Nama Denim, a Japanese brand that sources its raw selvedge denim from the Okayama Prefecture, which is considered the mecca for denim heads. There’s also a decent selection of men’s hair products from brands like Gonzo, Reuzel and Bona Fide that are selected by Al Siew, the resident barber in The Burrow.
The cosy café is well-thought out, complementing the store’s easy-going atmosphere by offering simple but good selection of popular brunch dishes like eggs Benedict, fruit smoothies and toasted sandwiches in a clean space with black and white tiles and windows that let in plenty of natural light. The bread and coffee are good, having been sourced from the nearby Huckleberry Food & Fare, which is owned by Sunitha’s sister. Fashion boutique, café, barbershop, tattoo parlour, general store – whatever you want to call it, Merchant & Sisters is the kind of place that has a little something for everyone.