Our Home Life Series is a weekly sneak peak into the homes and lives of Australia's most creative and inspiring people.
This week on the Home Life Series, we're chatting to good friend and entrepreneur Soph Hopkins, founder of Australian owned intimates brand BITS. On a mission to take the awkwardness out of shopping for undies and intimates, the best-friend duo created a place to shop underwear, but also chat boobs, bums and periods (use KIP&CO15 to get your shop on!)
Soph’s creative heartbeat led her to finding her own safe haven in glorious, eccentric Fitzroy. We take you inside her inner-city abode, and get her recommendations on all the best bits of Fitzroy for an epic weekend.
1. Let’s start with a little bit about you - we’ve chatted before about your incredible business but for the uninitiated, tell us all about BITS?
BITS is all about normalising the conversation around intimates and making shopping lingerie (especially bras) less dreaded and more fun.
2. You live in glorious Fitzroy, just on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD but a world apart in terms of per capita good restaurants, galleries, shops, bars and fun times. What drew you to Fitzroy - what are the best and worst bits of inner city living?
You’re right, Fitzroy truly is glorious. I’ve lived in and around Fitzroy since 2007, although it’s changed a lot since then. Back then, I lived in a share house where I didn’t have a carpark, so I would park my car on Gertrude Street all day and all night, and I never got a ticket. It would cost a fortune to do that now!
The area has really gentrified since then, which has brought great things like a pretty epic food scene, but it’s been sad to see some of the grit, which I love, and some of the arts and creative hubs of Fitzroy – like Eckersley’s – get pushed out.
I think what drew me to Fitzroy was the energy. It’s got a creative heart beat and culture that feels quite international. When I moved into the apartment, part of the appeal was also moving somewhere where everyone wasn’t married and having kids. I wasn’t living the white-picket-fence lifestyle, so I guess I was looking for somewhere where I felt I belonged. And I definitely found it. I love Fitzroy’s eccentricity, and the interesting, eclectic mix of people.
3. What is the sense of community like in Fitzroy and how did that change over Covid?
The sense of community is actually one of my favourite things about Fitzroy, and especially the building I live in. It’s super neighbourly. You can’t grab a coffee or walk the dog without stopping to have a chat to someone you know – or even someone you don’t know. Through COVID, that community spirit was even stronger. We had neighbours dropping off coffees and walking our dog, Winnie, when we were in isolation. Cafes like Falco, that were still trading were selling wines from closed restaurants, like Bar Liberty. So it was really supportive and community-minded, through a pretty tough time for some.
4. Can you tell us about your gorgeous home, how long have you been here and who lives here?
I live here with my partner (fiancé, but I’m not big into that word!) Jacob, and our Cavoodle Winnie. I bought the apartment about 7 years ago. At the time, I’d just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and was looking for a change of scene. I drove past and saw that the building that housed my favourite furniture store, Thonet, was being developed. I reserved the apartment on the spot and thought I’d work out how to pay for it later. It was a pretty crazy decision, but it all turned out in the end!
5. Whats your favourite spot at home and why?
It’s pretty small so there isn’t too many ‘spots’ to escape to, but I just love the light-filled living room. Through summer the sliding doors to the balcony are open 24/7, so it’s really becomes an extension of our living room. The outlook onto Napier Street and the spectacular Plane Tree right out the front is pretty special too. We’re incredibly grateful to have such a beautiful space, albeit a little one, to call our home.
6. Whats your favourite Kip&Co thing in the latest range?
I’ve been a huge Kip fan since day one. I especially love the bedding, the towels and the baby stuff is my gifting go-to for newborns. This season I’ve also discovered the woman's apparel. I’m obsessed with the new cardigans which are super chunky and cosy, plus I’m big into anything brown right now!
7. We’d love to get an inner city guide from you - can you give us a weekend in Fitzroy?
This one is hard as there is so much good stuff to do, and in particular, eat! Here’s my favourites…
Bell Street Coffee – with a walk-up window, perfect for mid-dog walk stops
Burnside – corner shop, full of friendly faces
All Press – café and roastery in one, with a cute courtyard
Napier Quarter – go for the anchovy toast, and stay all day (like, actually)
Alimentari – great little Italian deli-turned restaurant, everything here is good
Terror Twilight – delicious and healthy breakfast bowls and broths
Lune – Melbourne’s famous croissants, be prepared to queue
Cibi – delicious Japanese café housed in an old warehouse and retail space
Marion - for a fancy feed and great people watching
Falco – great bakery with delicious sandwiches
Falafel Place – easy to miss, but definitely worth a stop for a takeaway wrap
Piccolina – simple Italian-style gelato, voted best in Melbourne by me!
Napier Quarter – the ultimate local, our Fitzroy fave with the best wine list
Congress – super unique menu, try the Kangaroo Pastrami
Bar Liberty – a little slice of Euro in Fitzroy
Shop Ramen – cheap, cheerful and authentic ramen
Smith Bistrot – one of Fitzroy’s newest restaurants
The Everleigh – gorgeous speakeasy, voted one of best bars in the world, delicious cocktails, cute old fashioned vibe
Black Pearl – another award-winning bar, head upstairs to The Attic speak easy (knock on the door for entry)
Naked for Satan – great for a drink alongside awesome views of Melbourne
Builder’s Arms – always good, go for an afternoon drink and stay for the burger 😊
Union Club – old school cosy pub, great for a game of pool – especially in winter
Marquis of Lorne – fun crowd and relaxed vibes
Somebuddy Loves You – the best curation of fashion brands, with friendly and helpful service
Happy Valley - my fave store just to have a peruse - great books, records and gifts
Modern Times - for new and vintage European furniture, and great art prints
Handsom – unisex fashion with a simple, utilitarian aesthetic
Arnsdorf – local fashion brand with a strong sustainable focus
Best Jumpers – my favourite basics, designed here in Melbourne
St David Dairy - walk up and have your milk-bottle filled direct from the dairy
Meatsmith – gourmet butcher with the friendliest service
Oceanmade – retail outpost where you can buy direct from where all the best restaurants in Melbourne get their seafood
Morning Market – Gourmet groceries and delicious baked goods - try one of the insanely luxe raspberry tarts
Hinoki Japanese Pantry - Japanese grocery store that also does delicious takeaway sushi freshly made to order
Good Vibes Yoga – yoga in the most incredible gallery-esque space
Good Times Pilates – fun, inclusive reformer pilates with a high energy team Stroll through Edinbrugh, Fitzroy or Carlton gardens
Fitzroy Pool – go for a swim, read or people watch on the steps
NGV – not quite Fitzroy, but always worth the quick tram ride
Read other stories in the Kip&Co Home Life Series.