SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
November 23, 2015

A very independent Christmas: Presence

Presence in Adelaide Arcade has established a reputation for their free gift wrapping service, but this independent retailer goes well beyond the realm of pretty paper to define what good gift giving is all about.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  • Words and pictures: Joshua Fanning

Retail requires a knack – a knack for knowing what people want before they know themselves.

In the specific realm of gifts, Presence in Adelaide Arcade has carved out a niche – showing its customers not what they want for themselves but, rather, what they want for other people. How generous of them.


Shop 12 Adelaide Arcade, Adelaide

Presence is a gift shop like no other in the city (or state). Lovingly curated by mother and daughter duo Jayne McRostie and Kate Pardey,for the past five years Presence has been the platform for all the cute, quirky useful and superfluous things between $5 and $500 you could ever imagine.

To our eye, their store operates as a kind of physical magazine. And this is not lost on Kate who, aside from managing the store, also operates her own professional photography business.

“I really love magazines,” says Kate.

“We’re constantly looking beyond Adelaide and Australia to source product from around the world and some of our favourite things we find in the magazines we love,” she says, “but I also have friends all over the world who give us great ideas and leads to follow up on.”

Funnily enough, Presence has no online presence. After their website crashed, in what Kate describes as a “fiery death”, they haven’t bothered replacing it.

Instead, Presence focuses on the in-store experience and making sure that people who come to town looking for something are able to find it.

“The free gift wrapping and stuff no one else has is what works for us,” says Kate.

Happy Socks and Otto and Spike are stand out favourites in “conservative Adelaide”, says Kate. “It’s a way people can be a little bit quirky without being quirky all over – quietly quirky.”

Expect to find amazing books stocked on their shelves that range from beautifully illustrated cook books to instruction books for new dads as well as cards from A Happy Death Paper Co. that feature CityMag favourite – Tristan Kerr.

And if this list isn’t fantastic enough – there’s also a 2m x 2m GIANT inflatable flamingo for sale. Hello summer!

Share —