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The Ultimate Novelty Store: Fatboye Group

In the last couple years, starting a venture has become very much en vogue. A double degree, a social conscience and a job with a corporate giant no longer cuts it. Just ask Fatboye Group’s Nikki Diaz, Kristina Iantchev and Jane Lu, high school friends who saw a missing link in a market now dominated by street style and decided to go ahead and start a new concept store. Now stocking more than 50 emerging designers and artists, Fatboye connects those looking for something fresh with those who create something fresh and has become a breath of fresh air in a market saturated by the pop-fashion heavyweights. Fatboye is located at the Arthouse Hotel and is best described as a designer novelty store, with everything from underwear to artwork to quirky books and designer dog biscuits. We caught up with Jane to find out what it is that drives them forward and how the young entrepreneurs make it happen…

How did the idea come about?
Basically, we found a market gap from both the consumer and designers end. For consumers, we found there was a monotony and complacency in retail today and we wanted to provide a unique shopping experience that would radiate through our store and products. For designers, we found so many that were incredibly talented and commercially viable. They’re a step above selling at the markets, but not quite ready for conventional retail, so we offer them a platform to gain exposure for their label and reach the consumer market.

Stocking new designers must be challenging as their names are not established in the market – how has it been so far?
That’s true, it’s not the same as Myer, where the designers themselves draw customers in. However, we believe the concept of our store is really appealing to today’s market, as we represent fresh ideas from up and coming designers that cannot be found anywhere else.

How do you decide who to stock?
Very strict guidelines and protocol! Just kidding. We basically pick only what we like and what we believe is commercially viable and fairly priced.

How do you manage to juggle full time work and running a business?
At the moment, it’s quite difficult to balance my job as a business analyst with running my own business. The hours are long for both and sleep is reserved for Sundays only. But I guess it just takes drive and resilience to get through some early mornings and late nights.

Any advice for people out there looking to start their own venture?
Do it! Do the research, speak to the right people, plan it out. Get honest opinions from those you trust and experts about your idea – but at the end of the day, if you genuinely believe in your idea, if you have the perseverance and dedication to implement your idea, then it will be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.

What’s the hardest thing about FBG?
I guess what might be daunting is the risks involved and the fact that it’s an unfamiliar path. Unlike in corporate, where there are specific methodologies, someone above you to review and sign off your work, being your own boss means full responsibility and consequences for your actions. Then again, this is also the most rewarding part about being a business owner.

What makes you get up in the morning?
Every day has been so exciting – I’m so eager to see how the day unfolds! Maybe there’s an email in my inbox from a funky new designer approaching us, or the media’s written something about Fatboye, or perhaps Nikki or Kristina has an exciting new idea to introduce. I actually feel that I’m making an impact every day!

Did you have any experience in running a business? What was the first thing you had to learn and how did you go about it?
No, this is the first attempt at running a business for all of us. And while it’s been extremely hard work, the success, even so far, has been so worth it. It has been a great change from corporate – no performance reviews, no timesheets, no dress codes and I definitely like everyone at work function drinks!

What inspires you?
Lately, it’s been fellow entrepreneurs. Flicking through BRW and meeting other successful business owners is so inspiring! For Kristina and I who came from corporate backgrounds, starting your own business really seemed like a far stretch and unrealistic at the start. But as we build momentum and are offered guidance by some really amazing entrepreneurs, we’re so motivated and haven’t looked back once!

What’s next for FBG?
There’ll be more events to come and we’re constantly looking for new designers. Soon we’re going to open our second store, with plans to roll out more stores in Sydney, interstate, and who knows... The world is Fatboye’s oyster!

words and photos: Liya Dashkina


October 14, 2016 at 11:04 PM define essay said...

This is a place of my dream, so many fancy clothes, such colors, I love it. Follow the link if you want some more photos of beautiful things.

December 27, 2016 at 5:49 PM custom writings said...

Such a beautiful place! This is some kind of a shop, I don't really understand. But nevertheless, the decoration and design are great.

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