PIKE in the city: the beginning of the famous PIKE windows
I hope you are all well and avoiding the change of season colds and flu and now surprisingly Spring hayfever!
Thank you for your favourable comments over the past months about the topics of my blog – I am happy that I have had the opportunity to tell you about the more personal side of me on these pages. I certainly enjoy sharing my life’s journey with you and sharing the events that have shaped my past, present and future.
During my conversation with clients over the years, one question which has been asked often is ‘Why have you moved around a lot over the past forty plus years?’
The simple answer is, we have been offered the opportunities and had the energy to make it happen. I also believe that the changes have helped to inspire me.
In my previous blogs, I wrote about the first store at 115 Unley Road Unley, and then our first move to Fullarton Village at 374 Fullarton Road, Fullarton. This relocation came about for a few reasons but primarily because the section of Unley Road we were on had difficult parking problems with the introduction of clearways in the mornings and afternoons. Many of our clients who hadn’t remembered the new laws ended up with a substantial fine added to the jewellery they had just purchased. Not so happy!
Fullarton was exciting because it was new and we had off-street parking. The store we chose was part of a beautifully restored house, which we shared with four other traders, and it faced a well-stocked wine store and cooking shop which was adjacent to Colonial Galleries. In the 70s and 80s, Colonial Galleries was a highly successful store stocking the latest overseas trends in furniture, fabrics, fashion, giftware, cookware, antiques and bric-a-brac. They also conducted sewing and cooking classes, and the volume of retail clients visiting the store made the decision to open next door an easy one. It was the second store I designed the interior for, which is something I have always really enjoyed doing. From the funky 70s bright yellow, green silver and white colours used in the Unley Road store, we changed to a more classic style. I furnished Fullarton in rich fabrics and fittings: colours of bronze, grey and jade green with polished timber and leadlight features made it sumptuous. We even burnt an open fire on Thursday nights during winter.
We really loved Fullarton, but after five successful years of trade sadly our decision to move out was forced upon us: we suffered an after-hours robbery which stripped us of all our jewellery stock. Although normally our insurance company would have paid us out, we were in for a shock – our insurance broker proved to be careless and inefficient, which meant our insurance policy was pronounced void. We were in a state of disbelief and very uncertain of our future so we chose to sell the fixtures and fittings to another jeweller, and Helen and I both gained employment. It was a terrible year for us, as we also nearly lost our home at Greenhill during the Ash Wednesday fires. So many friends suffered complete devastation and the suburb of Greenhill was never the same.
I’ve included a photo of Helen’s magnificent azalea garden – this was before the big fire.
We have always possessed resilience and a positive outlook. We have also had a lot of support from family, clients and friends. This allowed us to look forward. I tried working for other jewellers but didn’t find fulfillment, so after two years Helen found another little shop, again on Unley Road, this time with lots of parking and we opened our own doors once more. We shared the premises with an adjacent tenant and I designed the look of our store around an art deco theme using soft greys, mauve, taupe, black and white – it was more contemporary than Fullarton and understated. We established happily there for a couple of years, and then faced one of the biggest decisions of our business life.
We heard that a retail jewellery couple who we had supplied with jewellery for years were closing their store in The Gallerie Shopping Centre in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD, opposite the old David Jones store. They were ready to retire, did not have family to carry on and preferred the idea of closing their business rather than selling it to someone who would not conduct it well and continue its good reputation. They knew that we had just reopened at Unley and didn’t expect that we would be interested, so they didn’t approach us.
The Gallerie had retail shops on the ground and first floors and Adelaide’s first food hall on the lower ground floor. The store they were leaving was located on the ground floor adjacent to the escalators, so it was in a very prominent position. The centre was a very glamorous shopping destination in a good location and represented a lot of the top well-known fashion names and some very clever sole traders.
We grabbed the chance! We were on the move again! It was 1987 and Nicholas Pike Jeweller opened its first and only city store.
This was the store where I began to design my first innovative window displays creating eye-catching concepts, which showcased jewellery in a very different way.
It was also a store that increased awareness of our superior custom making and the quality of our finished product. We continued importing German stock as our predecessors had. It was in this store that I had the fortune of meeting Mrs Judyth Hosking who became a client and was a passionate collector of beautiful pieces featuring innovative design. She became one of my most faithful clients and a true friend. She convinced us to visit the Hong Kong Jewellery Fair, held once a year on Hong Kong Island. Helen and I attended the fair a couple of times with her and we have fond memories of sitting each evening with her in her hotel room, exhausted and excited about the amazing jewellery we had seen during the day, enjoying a G&T or a Scotch on the rocks. She sadly passed away after a long illness and I do miss her and the way she wore her beautiful pieces with such love and the sparkle in her eyes when we launched into a new jewellery design. She also assisted me by allowing me to use one of her most valuable gems which I mounted in an elaborate diamond design. This design won me a coveted De Beers Diamond Award for which I will always be grateful. Thank you Judy xx
I will continue to share more with you in next month’s blog with stories of The Gallerie, our next move, my jewellery awards, jewellery showings and lots of excitement, so until October,
Love to you all
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