‘Evening Brilliants’ and the Burnside Village era
Hello to you all.
It’s Saturday and I have just come inside after sitting in our back garden having a most relaxing brunch. After the last few weeks of extremely wild wet weather and many flooded areas it seems a bit surreal to be safe in my own space whilst so many are suffering – my heart goes out to those who have lost so much.
In my September blog, I left you all at our shop in The Gallerie in Adelaide’s CBD and before I leave there I want to tell you about some of the events I organised for our business whilst we were in the city.
One of the functions I named ‘Evening Brilliants’ and it was a resounding success. Directly behind our store in North Terrace there was a restaurant called The Promenade which was in a two story building opposite the State Library. I booked the entire restaurant for an evening and arranged a display of jewellery in the upstairs space. I wanted to give the night some WOW factor, so I decided to buy myself a very shiny evening suit and chose as my company, six of Adelaide’s top female models. We were all to arrive in a white stretch limousine which would park out front in a cordoned off area of North Terrace.
Once we were all together we would head up the ‘diamond’ covered spiral staircase to the waiting crowd.
It worked wonderfully. The girls were dressed in black evening gowns over which they wore full length black mink coats (courtesy of David Jones), white head scarves and black sunglasses. Surrounded by a multitude of camera flashes, the arrival of six mysterious beauties created quite a stir on North Terrace. Amongst them was the stunning Adrianna Xenides who became better known later in her life for her guest appearances on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and for her local and interstate modelling. She and all the other girls looked so glamorous and accompanied by great applause from the crowd, I unveiled them one by one revealing their gorgeous jewels.
We had so much fun! I also had a magician working the crowd which became a little nerve wracking for some as he kept asking the guests for their jewellery and then ‘disappearing it’ – luckily not for long! The champagne flowed all night and at around midnight after all the models and guests had left and the jewellery had been safely returned to our store, the night was over – ending as a truly ‘Brilliant’ event.
Another of my promotions was a luncheon parade at the Hyatt Hotel in North Terrace (now the Intercontinental). The hotel had just opened and after lengthy discussions with management I convinced them to let me use Waves Nightclub which was located on the ground floor. The night club had been completed, awaiting its grand opening, so nobody had seen inside. The response to our invitation was a staggering 95% acceptance and needless to say the function was a fantastic success. Again, I hired models and designed and made their headdresses in conjunction with Margie Heysen who was the Hyatt’s head floral artist. Slinky stretch metallic body tubes on the models showed off our jewellery and watches perfectly. The brand of watches we featured was an international brand created in France called Emile Pequignet and the owner and head designer flew to Adelaide to be present at the event. The event commenced at 11am and from memory the last guest left some time into the early evening. It was no surprise that many clients sported new jewellery and EP watches after the event. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the luncheon as the French photographer who filmed the event had a fire in his studio in Paris and a lot of his negatives were destroyed leaving only a few:
During the ‘80s, Nicholas Pike Jeweller at the Gallerie continued to flourish, but on the horizon was the building of the new Myer complex in Rundle Mall. A lot of the tenants of the Gallerie had signed up and were intending to move in as soon as it was completed, so rather than join the rush we thought long and hard and decided to head back to the suburbs. Having the store in the city had certainly put us on the map and because we had become better known, we felt confident about our decision to move to Dulwich.
We moved into a completely new shop built by Peter Hignett which was adjacent to the Dulwich Precinct Shops on the corner of Stuart Road and Dulwich Avenue. Some people thought we were a bit crazy leaving the city, but once we had moved we proved them wrong as our trade figures continued to rise and increased every year.
A few years later, our advertisement in the Adelaide Review announced another change of address. It stated ‘If you are looking for Nicholas Pike, turn around, he’s just across the road’. Dr Colin Moore, a well-known eye surgeon, purchased the building we were renting and moved us into his old rooms across the road.
It was a little cottage, which he renovated and we loved it there, but the building was set back from the road and sales figures began to drop. We now know through comments made years later that clients felt like they were visiting our private home and found it a bit intimidating. Even with the introduction of Helen’s gift store as part of our space, figures didn’t improve. Time to move again!!!!
This was the big one! For years we had loved the Burnside Village area and through the Adcock family who owned retail property at Glenside, we secured a tenancy on Greenhill Road on the fringe of the Burnside Village.
Through the generosity of a private investor, the assistance of the architect Paul Gillett and the help of Paul Hamra – PR and marketing guru – we opened Nicholas Pike at Glenside. We experienced a rebirth in every facet of our business, and it was hard to keep up with the changes. To begin with, the entire shop space was stripped bare as it had been a butcher shop, and a beautiful, innovative and modern gallery was created thanks to Paul Gillett.
Both Pauls agreed that the reason our jewellery brand stood apart was because the pieces were works of art as well as functional jewellery items. Hence, we wanted the store to reflect the prominence of the art of each piece by the way it was showcased. A series of alcoves were created with the jewellery sitting on floating glass.
The space was very light and airy with neutral colours and raw textures. This was also the first space where my window displays were the major street focus and each month when I changed them I would approach the window area as a blank canvas. I will end now by leaving you with a few images of the windows I’ve created.
These windows allowed me to win a Design Institute of Australia Award for Creative Merchandising. Added to this Paul Gillett won a Royal Institute of Architects Award for the interior of the Nicholas Pike Gallery. Success all around!!
So until next month,
Ohh! and just a reminder to look for our Christmas Collection for 2016 – have a look at it here.
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