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The Edit: Kate Dawson – Entrepreneur sharing her love of shoes

Jade Hansen 13 December 2018
Kate Dawson on the velvet couch

“Shoes aren’t my passion – they are my addiction,” Kate Dawson. Photos: Jade Hansen.

The Edit is a series produced by Jade Hansen that features the people behind some of Canberra’s most note-worthy fashion, beauty and health offerings.

This week on The Edit I had the pleasure of catching up with Kate Dawson, founder of Sissa Sorella boutique. Arriving at Kate’s gorgeous store on a Saturday morning for coffee and a chat, it soon became apparent that there is more to this story than just shoes. Kate (a fourth generation Canberran) has had the privilege of growing up in a family with strong, independent female role models; in particular her grandmother Doreen. Kate recalls her grandmother telling her to “… look my best as it ensured I would feel my best.”  Kate follows this advice – both her personal style and boutique are impeccable. When I ask Kate about her passion for shoes she smiles and proudly states, “shoes aren’t my passion, they are my addiction.”

Kate’s journey

Dawson has grown up surrounded by family business. “Business was discussed at home, over the dinner table, over coffee – my grandparents were very entrepreneurial, they had the first car tyre business in Canberra which went on to include multiple retail, retreading, importing and wholesaling businesses. My mother and father both worked for my grandparents. Small family business has always been a part of our life,” she recalls.

Sissa Sorella is a continuum of this family ethos, “I have always wanted to be independent like my grandparents. I am not sure I will ever be as successful as them, but I put in the effort and dedication with my business…” says Kate, and this is evident when you see her interact with her clients. “I like the time when I can sit down with my customers and chat to them as they try on shoes when time affords me. I enjoy hearing of the local ladies’ stories and connections to Canberra. I often find there is someone who knew my grandmother or her family. I love how connected we are in the town,” she says.

Kate Dawson in her boutique.

Kate Dawson in her boutique – her happy place. “I am proud to bring a little touch of Melbourne or Paris to Deakin. My grandmother would be proud of me. I often feel her sitting in the corner with her cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate smiling at me.”

Her grandmother’s advice

“My grandmother always encouraged me to look my best. To be proud of what you put out to the world,” Kate Dawson says.

Sissa Sorella opened one year to the day after her grandmother’s passing – a coincidence? “Not at all,” Dawson says. “My grandmother has influenced me in so many ways and the opening of Sissa Sorella is an extension of this. I have always looked up to her. She was a strong, intelligent, immaculate women. She never left the house without looking perfectly preened.” Kate now has a daughter of her own and is so grateful to be able to show her how important it is to be an “independent woman with a good work ethic”.

The dusty hues and little details make Sissa Sorella a pleasure to visit.

The dusty hues and little details make Sissa Sorella a pleasure to visit.

As for the location of Sissa Sorella, “Deakin is a wonderful part of Canberra, with a balanced blend of professional and retirees. Deakin was a natural fit for me. When the lease became available and I was looking for the next venture I just knew it was perfect. The community has welcomed me with open arms and I couldn’t be happier,” Dawson explains.

Kate on her instagrammable velvet couch "this couch sent my insta account into meltdown" Kate Dawson.

Kate on her Instagrammable velvet couch “this couch sent my Insta account into meltdown” Kate Dawson.

A final word…

“I am proud to bring a little touch of Melbourne or Paris to Deakin. My grandmother would be proud of me. I often feel her sitting in the corner with her cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate smiling at me.”

Sissa Sorella is located at –
Deakin Shopping Centre
Shop 1, 18-36 Duff Pl, Deakin
Canberra, ACT 2600

0407 941 969


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