After being in business for almost 9 years, Pigeonhole have recently opened their Perth city flagship store. This retail empire started in Perth back in October 2007 as a teensy shop at the end of Bon Marche Arcade off Barrack Street, and has been expanding ever since.
Read on to hear from Director Johann Kim about his success and the struggles faced along the way, and to check out the new store!
What’s special about the new Murray Street flagship store?
This is our final destination for the Pigeonhole HQ in Perth. We have jumped here and there with pop-up ventures and small and large stores but we feel that Murray street is the right spot for us to put down some roots as a brand in Perth.
The store will house our full range of fashion, gift and lifestyle products and will see the introduction of several new brands, a small selection of international magazines, and a beautiful new fitout designed and built together in collaboration with our good friend Joel Medalia.
The store theme is “botanical” with various shades of green and plant life being featured in store. Central to the store is a large greenhouse structure which grounds the concept and ties it together.
You’re coming up to your 9th birthday in October and you have stores all over the country. Is Perth still the spiritual home of Pigeonhole?
Very much so. We draw our sense of community, creativity and our relaxed around the edges pigeon personality from our beloved west coast lifestyle.
We know that the power of our brand is also in our story and we, for sure, could never have grown to where we are today had we not had the consistent love and loyal support of our local Perth community.
We actually fly new east coast pigeons over to Perth in their first weeks of training to experience the real deal and pigeon life at its best. Perth will always be our home!
What have been the hardest challenges to overcome in your business?
Learning to grow well has been the biggest challenge. There’s not often a path paved before you when you run your own business and sometimes as you grow you start to see the business running you instead of the other way round. During this time it’s been important for me to take stock and constantly check myself, my values and whether I am doing things that give me life or bring me down. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the good and the bad in all the busyness.
Also, learning to be a boss has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I’d never had a job before starting Pigeonhole so everything is new. Hiring, training and working with a team under you is one of the most rewarding yet most challenging parts of owning Pigeonhole. Currently there are around 80 pigeons across the globe, so meeting all their needs and making sure we are all on the same page can be tricky. Thankfully every single one of our team is amazing, unique and a pleasure to work with… but balancing 80 different personalities can really be something else altogether!
What do you love about your job?
I love being responsible for creating something. Be it a store fitout, a product design, or a workflow process, the job is always creative and challenging. I work with people who also believe in me and who are willing to bend over backwards to make the seemingly impossible come to pass. I also love travelling the world, getting inspiration, meeting incredible designers and brands and curating a unique selection for my stores. That part of the job is pretty much the best thing ever.
Where’s your favourite place to grab an after work drink in the city?
I’m quite partial to an aged Riesling and a cheese board at Shadow Bar in Northbridge or a beer outside at PICA Bar. For the CBD I’ve been enjoying spinning the gin wheel at The Flour Factory for a cheeky, post fitout beverage as it’s just around the corner from my new store.
Best way to spend a day off?
On Rottnest island. Riding a bicycle with fishing rod in hand. Johann