posted on 02 Aug 21 | by

Nicola Lay's creative flair and eye for the eccentric has helped her carve a niche for herself in Castlemaine through her vibrant Merchants of Mostyn retail space.  A self confessed gypsy, lover of the Arts and kind soul, her cool collection is very much an expression of her personality and will set your imagination wild! When she's not hanging with her grandchild, walking her dog Billy or fossicking at swap meets, you'll find her here at her shop, with a warm smile and rocking good tunes to welcome you for a truly unique shopping experience. 

Merchants of Mostyn is open weekends, Mon, Thu & Fri. For opening hours and more details visit her website

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Tell us about yourself....

I have led quite the gypsy lifestyle living in many places in the UK before returning to Australia about 17 years ago.  Our little family of 4 landed in Perth and lived there for a few years, moving to Melbourne after falling in love with the city on a weekend away.  Being passionate about the arts, music and all things creative, Melbourne immediately felt like home to me.  I’m a Mother of two and very happy to now be a Grandparent. 


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It's apparent that you have a passion for collecting...

For a lot of years I have been collecting, buying and selling unusual antique and vintage wares.  I was also making my own art works and home wares which I sold at various markets and fairs.  So as soon as the opportunity arose to lease this beautiful building in Castlemaine I just had to go for it .  My vision was to create a space where I could utilise my own skills and interests which in turn would create opportunities for other artists & makers by providing a commercial platform for them.  At the heart of it all M.o.M wants to be a business that adds something positive to the environment and to the Castlemaine community.  We are looking forward to growing and being in the position to offer employment & training opportunities to those in need of them. 

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What kinds of interesting pieces can people find in your shop?

At our Merchants of Mostyn store you will find the gorgeous hand-made clothing label Opus Belle, which is made right here in Castlemaine, alongside magnificent jewellery created by Castlemaine local Justin Boehme.  Art books and journals sit amongst Crystals and cards that can help you explore your esoteric side.  All of our skincare and beauty products are made here in Australia, and contain only the most gorgeous natural ingredients.  We are particularly proud of our shop sculptures “Cerberus” and “Edvard Munch” which have to be seen to be believed!   
At M.o.M you will find an eclectic mix of old and new wares.  There is always something new and unusual to discover.  Doesn’t everyone need more Gold Rhino Sculptures in their life? 

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What made you move to the area?

I worked for an Arts Organisation in Perth that sold the work of a ceramicist that lived in Castlemaine, he mentioned what an amazing place Castlemaine was to live – full of  artists and creativity and it had always stuck with me, as it sounded like a place that I’d like to be.  Anyway…we drove to Castlemaine that weekend looked at lots of houses and the same the following weekend, but most places were too similar to the home we had sold in Preston, and we really wanted to be somewhere that was different.  We decided we wanted a complete “tree-change” and our real estate agent suggested a place in Taradale.  The drive to Taradale was beautiful, with big blue skies and lush green fields we loved it straight away – as soon as we stepped into the cute little log cabin we were sold! We still cant believe that we live where we do and feel so lucky to have found it. 

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Tell us about the retail scene in Castlemaine, Maldon & Surrounds

We are so lucky in this region to have so many awesome independent retail premises all with their own strong sense of style. What I enjoy most are the beautiful and thoughtful shop fit outs.  It’s a great way for the owners to show off their individuality and style.  Also, that warm and fuzzy feeling you get while supporting small businesses is priceless and something that we can all get behind.