10 Years in Business: it's our Anniversary!
A Quirk of Fate storefront in 2012 on High Street Northcote, shortly after we opened for the first time
In 2012, at the age of 24 I started AQOF with the goal of developing my own footwear range. It was a bit of an accident ending up with a store, A Quirk Of Fate.
Little did I know that 10 years later AQOF would be one of the lasting businesses of High Street Northcote.
Where it all began for A Quirk of Fate in February 2012, an image of an empty shop that was to become the store it is today on High Street Northcote.
Where it all began, selling primarily footwear, shortly after I opened the doors to the store in February 2012.
Shop window display at A Quirk of Fate, March 2012.
Time has flown and looking back it’s hard to believe how things have progressed and that 10 years later I am still here running AQOF, despite everything the last decade has brought!
Starting during a recession everyone at the time said I was a little crazy, but I was determined and figured if I could make it work then I could make it work any time. I didn’t start with much and worked my butt off to get things off the ground. My first 3 months of business saw me facing my first VCAT experience, accidentally being sued and having to prove my innocence and then to top it off, being held up!
Not one to quit, I kept going and it wasn’t long until I had settled into the supportive Northcote community. With little retail and hands on business experience, I’ve learnt along the way, pushed forward and evolved over time.
A Quirk of Fate shop interior, February 2014
Christmas Shopping at A Quirk of Fate, December 2013.
A Quirk of Fate shopfront in grey and wooden features, December 2014
In 2015 I thought I was up for my next challenge and opened a Pop-Up “sister” store next door to AQOF selling a larger range of homewares. It was a fun experience and was heartwarming to again have such strong support from the local community who wanted me to keep it going, but after working every day for 6 months straight and burning myself out I felt it was best just to go back to focusing on one store, AQOF.
A Quirk of Fate and 'Pop-Up' Kismet store fronts, side by side on High Street Northcote, 2015.
Pop up homewares store KISMET, right next door to A Quirk of Fate, 2015.
Then 2016 saw a little disruption in the world, someone called Donald Trump made some noise and stirred things up, there was also a little thing called Brexit and a hung parliament closer to home. All things combined caused a whole lot of instability and proved to be a bit of a stumbling block. They do say that election years are hard and I can vouch to that. 2016 felt like a big step backwards and was quite a challenge.
Luckily it was a little bump in the road and things started sailing on nicely (and fairly drama free!) between 2017 to 2019!
A Quirk of Fate custom display units came about in July 2017, featuring pine wood peg boards as the interior shop display that are still in use today in 2022!
My companion Ferguson, the chocolate brown Labrador puppy
Shop interior, expanding into Mens & Masc products, November 2018.
Melbourne made local label Kuwaii womenswear is a staple for A Quirk of Fate, showcasing many Australian brands that feature locally made and owned clothing and lifestyle products.
A Quirk of Fate shop interior, featuring quality lifestyle products, gifts and accessories.
Then 2020 served up the biggest challenge yet (and hopefully ever!). You can read about my experience of the last two years on my last blog entry here. In summary, the most challenges I’ve ever faced, working as hard as I ever have before and recovering from a near death experience. It is certainly due to many quirks of fate that me and AQOF are still here today.
We were forced to close our doors for most of 2020, and relied on online orders for Click & Collect or shipping Australia wide. To say it was tough is an understatement. Read my summary of 2020 here.
Over the years I’ve worked with many great makers, creators, staff and business minds in different fields. I’m grateful for all the wonderful people that have helped make AQOF what it is today. For all the people who have allowed me to sell their products and all the people that wanted to be a part of AQOF’s journey along the way.
Needless to say there've been a few “bumps”, but one thing for sure is that I know, without a doubt, A Quirk of Fate would not be here if it were located in any other place. The Northcote community has been there supporting me through the good times and most importantly my toughest.
Being located in the heart of the Northcote community is everything to us!
A Quirk of Fate store interior as of 2021, showcasing quality local brands and products, with a focus on vibrant uplifting and practical gifts, home, fashion, baby and books.
A big shoutout also has to go to my Mum, AQOF would not be here without her mentoring, advice, support, excellent accounting skills and lockdown purchases! Along with the rest of my family and friends who have listened to me, provided advice, been my number one social media “sharers” and helped pitch in when I needed it most — including that time when I almost died 3 weeks out from Christmas after a hell of a year and couldn’t work for months, yep! To everyone that showed up, no questions asked and pitched in in some way to make sure that AQOF made it through the silly season (and beyond!): THANKYOU!
A Quirk of Fate shopfront got a new facelift in early 2021, featuring a colourful hand painted mural by local Melbourne artist Brigid McEncroe Stafford (@its.stripey)
With everything we’ve faced and endured at AQOF in the last 10 years, I am so thankful to have had the experience I have had.
I’m not sure what the future will bring but I hope that AQOF continues to supply “the goods” and the experience it has for the last 10 years and for many years to come.