ISHKA in Time: Staff Stories
Happy birthday to us! This week marks our 47th birthday, so in the true spirit of ISHKA we’ve been super busy sharing the good vibes and getting into party mode.
47 years is a pretty incredible feat after all. Did you know ISHKA opened our first store, a small craft studio in Glen Iris, in the same year McDonald’s came to Australia? Pretty amazing when you think of it like that!
As we celebrate our birthday, we thought we'd chat to a few of our long-serving staff members to hear all about their colourful journey with ISHKA. Here they tell us some of their favourite stories from over the years, and what they’ve loved most about working under the ISHKA rainbow.
Role: Area Manager (a.k.a High Priestess of Stores)
Time with ISHKA: 11 years
ISHKA in three words: Colourful, passionate, unique.
When did your journey with ISHKA begin?
I started as a Christmas casual at the Knox store in 2007. I eventually became the manager, and within 2 years turned it into a million-dollar store, giving our most popular stores like Fitzroy and Chadstone a run for their money! I then became a dual manager for our Knox and Forest Hill stores, then dual-managed Knox and Chadstone. 5 years later I was promoted to Area Manager, over-seeing 5 stores. These days I over-see 16 stores across 3 states.
What have been some of your favourite moments with ISHKA over the years?
The best memories I have are with our customers. I love hearing their passion for ISHKA. How could your day at work get any better than being surrounded by colourful products, and getting to make friends with customers?
One particular customer that stands out was a 10 year-old girl who loved coming in every Saturday with her Mum. She would spend her pocket money on a different gemstone each week as she loved collecting them. She told me she wanted to work for ISHKA one day, so I said when she was old enough to come and see me. She has now been working for ISHKA for 3 years!
What do you love most about your job?
Our wonderful customers, and of course our beautiful products! I love our furniture, particularly our recycled timber range - you never know what it was before it was a dining table. Now that's unique.
One of the things that ISHKA has brought to my life is the love of travel. Before ISHKA I had actually never been overseas. Seeing our products coming in from places around the world aroused my curiosity. So off I went, coming back from each trip with more information about our products to tell our customers. I continue to travel every year and absolutely love it.
Role: GM of Finance (a.k.a Gatekeeper of the Funds)
Time with ISHKA: 22 years
3 ISHKA products you’d want if stranded on an island: A Balinese handcarved boat, a pair of sunglasses and our spice range - to make the local flora and fauna taste better!
What has been your role with ISHKA over the years?
I have been at ISHKA since 1995. I was at Uni at the time, Monash Caulfield, and the ISHKA warehouse was next door. One day I had a family friend working there who invited me to help unload a container. And it just went from there! After Uni I had many roles with the company; storeman, driver, wholesale salesperson, bookkeeper, IT helpdesk (I just told them to reboot their computer – it worked 95% of the time!), Office Manager, Financial Controller, General Manager, GM Finance and Head of Planning.
What have you loved most about working for ISHKA?
I love our eclectic product range - when I walk through a store there is always something beautiful and exotic to be found. Other times I will see something that makes me think “what the”! One thing you can say about ISHKA is that it is not boring or bland. And of course the people – ISHKA has always attracted an interesting and diverse range of people, especially the store staff who are the heart and soul of ISHKA.
Any memorable moments working for ISHKA over the years?
I have had the great opportunity to travel and meet many of our suppliers overseas. I was once visiting a supplier in Pushkar, India which is a ‘dry area’ (no alcohol allowed) when they suggested we go for a motorbike ride out of town. They took me to a small house where they proudly pulled out some cold beers, and cooked up an amazing dinner which we ate under the stars.
The best memories are really from the staff parties (organised and impromptu) but they will have to remain in the vault! I’ve been sworn to secrecy...
Role: Head Visual Merchandiser (a.k.a Chief Window Fairy)
Time with ISHKA: 10 years
3 words to describe your role: Enjoyable, challenging, exciting.
When did you join the ISHKA family? Has your position changed over the years?
I joined ISHKA as a sales assistant around 10 years ago. I knew after my studies that merchandising was exactly what I wanted to do, so working with ISHKA was the perfect opportunity to begin my journey. Now as the head Visual Merchandiser, my main focus is working with the retail staff to help them present their stores wonderfully. I’ve taken part in the opening of around 35 new stores and I’ve worked with a wide variety of people over this time. I’ve made some great friends along the way.
As a VM, what are your favourite ISHKA products to work with and why?
I enjoy working with all the categories, especially furniture. Both the fashion windows, gift and homewares windows all feature furniture. There’s so much to work with and so many stories to create. My favourite piece would have to be the brass elephant coffee table as I own one myself!
What are some of your best memories with ISHKA?
I have great memories of my time working at the Knox store. My manager, Jannah, also had a strong passion for merchandising. I learnt so much from her on how to display all of our beautiful ISHKA wares. In recent years, opening all our new ISHKA stores has also brought wonderful memories and the opportunity to meet many amazing people.
Come and celebrate 47 years of ISHKA with our huge 50% off birthday sale, online and in-stores now ✌️