In 2001 a lowly Perth university student named Johann, stumbled across a hidden talent for making earrings out of beads and wire. Armed with a suitcase full of handmade creations, he peddled his wares to willing stores around the country until one day he spread his wings to see what the wide world abroad could offer.
Some original jewellery pieces down at Matilda Bay WA 2001. Photos: Hermoine Kirkpatrick
As he travelled around the globe, his pieces found their way into fashion stores across Northern Europe, UK and Asia and after a year of being inspired by cool stores and products around the world, our weary young traveller finally returned back to the motherland with a dream of one day opening a store of his own.
After discovering a tiny store for rent in an old run down arcade in Perth city, Johann managed to talk the leasing agent into giving him the store for $110 per week, with no deposit or bond, and three months free rent to get set up!
The Bon Marche Building & Arcade. One of Perth's oldest arcades! Pigeonhole's first store was hidden right at the back of this arcade. Turn your head and you'd miss it!
Granted the store was about the size of a bedroom and was so hidden that most people would get lost trying to find it, but the offer was too hard to resist. And so, armed with 2 student credit cards and a host of friends with paintbrushes, drills and hammers, he signed on the dotted line and the age of Pigeonhole began!
Friends model the clothes down a makeshift catwalk to launch the store. Photos Dropstitch
Pulling from the experiences he'd had in those far off lands and the weird and wonderful products that he'd discovered on his travels, this tiny store soon became a mecca for the people of Perth in search of its odd mix of offbeat design found off the beaten track.
Scandinavian homewares sat alongside vintage film cameras, Iocal designer fashion next to European high end brands, and of course, a large range of jewellery creations designed in house filled every nook and cranny in this awkward little store that nobody could find.
The original Pigeonhole store in 2007 in Bon Marche Arcade, Perth Australia
Thankfully, this tiny hidden treasure trove soon became Perth's worst kept secret, and so it was, that one store became two, became three, followed by a little cafe, and then four, five, six... until eventually Perth had no more room for Pigeonholes!
And so... this motely crew of young twenty somethings, now affectionately known as the Pigeons, spread their wings and flew across the country to settle in new and wonderful places along the East Coast of Australia.
Now 10 years older and wiser, you can still find the Pigeons spreading their message of peace, love and good design across the country in 8 locations in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane.
The concept is still the same: A store filled with carefully curated things, both old and new, and from both near and far, all intended to bring joy to your life or to the lives of those you love.
Stay tuned for more adventures ... as the best is still yet to come!