In 2020 we opened a new store - COVID had subsumed our world, international tourism had collapsed and we were all stuck at home.
We missed the human connection, and the fun of playing with people and fitting hats. Having lived in the Dandenong Ranges for 25 years, it was deeply apparent that we needed to do something special in our hometown.
Seasoned by opening 30 stores across the world, we wanted to bring it all home and play with our friends and family. Then a hidden gem appeared in Olinda. Terribly unloved, layered with the detritus of a hundred years of neglect, but magnificent deep in its bones.
Combining three stores, wrapping around a window filled corner block, this is my favourite store in the world. Old dark timber floors, a hidden room under the floor, magnificent white oak tree, brass framed windows and 220 degree views.
Living in the Hills can be a little arduous - with the most volatile weather on Earth, generally chilly conditions, regular power outages, crazy roads, wildlife everywhere and quirky inhabitants. But we love it - we looked all over the world, to find a new home, and in the end knew that this is home.
So our store is rapidly evolving - we have added in felts from across the world, and a rich array of beanies, scarves, caps, newsboys and other woolies. There is our famous animal light collections, bizarre wind up toys and a selection of weird and wonderful gifts.
Who knows where all this will go - but it will be an extraordinary ride.