FK chats to the lovely Kylie about her store A Quirk of Fate, located in Northcote, Melbourne. Starting from a love of shoes, Kylie has bought together a fabulous range of Australian designers in her wonderful one-stop shop!
Tell us a bit about A Quirk of Fate, the history and the product that you stock.
I opened AQOF in 2012. After studying shoe making with the goal of starting my own range of footwear I ended up opening a shop where I’d be able to sell my own range and other locally made products. Going through the shoe making process and dealing with local manufacturers to develop my own product I gained a strong appreciation for local designers and makers who have stuck it out because they’re passionate about their product and believe in making locally. I now stock a large range of products from footwear, clothing and accessories to gift and homewares.
What is your background and what lead you to where you are?
Growing up with parents who both had their own businesses I always had a keen interest in starting my own business. After school I studied short courses including fashion business and shoe making. Through these courses I decided to develop a shoe range for women with larger feet (something I joked about doing when I was younger because I could never find cool shoes that fit my feet!). I signed up to the NEIS scheme straight after finishing my shoe making course at RMIT inspired by Richard Branson’s book “Screw it- let’s do it” and here I am with a shop full of great products!
What labels & product do you stock and what are you always searching for?
I have a large range of products but some of the key labels would be Funkis clogs, UIMI Knitwear, Kuwaii, & Attorney footwear as well as some fashion products such as Kester Black nail polish, Treehorn Design cheeseboards, Able & Game gift cards, OK OK tights to name a few.
I am always searching for locally made product from small businesses that are high quality and unique.
What do you love about your shop and what keeps you inspired?
I love the support I get from the local community, it is great to know people appreciate the effort that goes into making locally and see the value is spending a little more on products that are made here. Every time someone comments that AQOF is their favourite shop or tells me it is their first stop and that they would prefer to shop at AQOF than shopping centre’s it drives me to keep going.
When you are not in your shop, what are you usually doing in Melbourne?
I am usually out exploring a new cafés or restaurants and love catching up with friends when I get the chance. I’ll also take any opportunity to escape whether it be a trip down the coast for a day or to visit family who don’t live in Melbourne. Distance means it is harder for me to “just pop in for 2 minutes and check” on the shop. It is nice to have a break and be able to come back and see things in a new way.
What challenges have you faced running and setting up your own business?
I think I have been pretty lucky, I have had a really strong support network of family and friends and then eventually other local business owners to push me to keep going when it all feels like too much.
I’d have to say one of the biggest things would be “letting go” and trusting staff to run the shop when I am not there. Taking that step back is hard. When you’ve invested so much into it and built a business up you just want everything to be done as you would do it and want staff to care as much as you do.
What new projects are you working on for A Quirk of Fate for the remainder of 2014?
From here on in our thoughts are on Christmas and making sure we’re organised for what is generally quite hectic time of the year at AQOF as we are known as the “one stop gift shop”. We’ve set the bar high so now we have to maintain it!
New projects; Fingers crossed we’ll have a new very, very exciting project launching in 2015. Stay tuned!
All the other specific details:
289 High Street
Northcote VIC 3070
Ph: (03) 9486 7929
Mon – Sat 10am to 5pm