Port Stephens stylist Maret Larnarch turns her love for design and vintage flair into a growing styling and visual merchandise business

Style me up: “My own style is quirky. Anything with contrasting patterns and lots of colour,” says Maret Larnarch.In the ever-growing market of property styling, vintage lover and thrift maven Maret Larnarch avoids what she dubs the cookie-cutter approach she says others take.

“On Instagram I use the hashtag ‘notsamesame’,” she says. “There seem to be more stylists every day who are doing a great job and there is room for everyone but I don’t want to be ‘same same’.

“Things have to be on trend and I need to appeal to the masses but there’s a way of adding colour and quirkjust so you stand out.”

Ms Larnarch launched her eponymous business in Port Stephens 18 months ago, offering styling in property staging, visual merchandising, interior designand weddings.

Raised in Sydney, her design sensibilitywas nurtured by her “very stylish” mother, who used to take her offspring to trash and treasure sales. Leaving school at 15, Ms Larnarch worked as an office junior before marrying, having two children and buying her first home at 22.

Moving to Port Stephens, she co-foundedthe residential cleaning business Home Peacebefore becoming retail manager of the Salamander Recycling Centre.

“I was there two days a fortnight and I said ‘Oh my gosh, I need to be here more and then I was working five days a week, and I was there until I launched my own business last year.”

Ms Larnarch still works about five hours a week at the centre,valuing the charity’s approach to working with and for the community.

The move to start her own business was inspired by her friends insisting she go solo and a desire to do what she is most passionate about.

“When Istarted I thought maybe in 12 months I’ll get a gig but a couple of weeks later the phone rang and I haven’t stopped since,” she says.

Many clients are real estate agents in Port Stephens, othersviaword of mouth. Her satisfaction comes from the feedback she receives from customers, many of them repeat clients.

“It can be a very emotional time for some,” she says. “On my first property styling job my client had raised her children there and after said ‘You’ve made my house look beautiful and like a home’ and that’s what I want to do.”