Victoria heads into another six weeks of 'lockdown' at midnight tonight, so I've made the tough decision to close our Hampton shop for good this Saturday, 11th July.
It's hard to believe just four months ago, I was excitedly signing our second lease with rainbows and unicorns in my eyes, blissfully unaware of what was to come, looking forward to the next phase of our TFA journey. It's been a wild few months since, and what was set to become our flagship store, will now go down in history as our second pop up instead.
I've loved calling 517 Hampton Street home for the past few months, and I've come to adore my new little local community. I'll be sad to leave our famous pink doors behind too. 'Pink Gin' became a bit of a totem colour for us during COVID, and our locals came to know and love 'that little pink shop'.
It's been an emotional rollercoaster, but I've never been prouder of my community of ethical and sustainable brands, and I've never been more grateful for our supportive customers. In the toughest year we've ever faced together, I've seen the true colours of our brands and our customers; a community that has stood by each other, helped each other, listened to each other, and supported each other when we've all needed it the most. A spare toilet roll, a genuine 'How are you?', or a quick share of an Instagram post; support comes in many forms, and whether it's been a big or small gesture, support has been abundant in our community.
I don't want to get too philosophical about it all, but there's a quote that rings true now more than ever, and one of my most supportive customers (and now friends) shared it with me...
Never forget three types of people in your life: those who helped you in difficult times, those who left you in difficult times, and those who put you in difficult times.
I've faced all three types of people throughout this experience because stress and uncertainty do funny things to people, but I have learnt a hell of a lot about strength, courage, and seeing the silver lining.
We can't control COVID, or anything that happens in life for that matter, but we can control how we react, and my community repeatedly reminds me that during tough times, coming together and supporting each other is the single, most uplifting, most soul-nourishing, most proactive thing any of us can do - to get through what we're faced with.
I'm so proud of what we've built within four walls at 517 Hampton Street, but I've also come to realise that the real value in what we've built isn't within these walls - it's our people, our community, our brands that strive every day for better, and our customers that genuinely understand what we're working towards. No matter where we call our TFA home, our community comes with us, it's an invisible part of us at The Fashion Advocate. What we've built at The Fashion Advocate, is a real, honest, authentic sense of togetherness, and while I've always known it, facing our toughest few months to date has made it all the more pertinent. To everyone who's been a part of our journey these past few months, thank you.
As we close our Hampton chapter with the closing of our pink doors on Saturday, The Fashion Advocate will return to being purely online (for a while), and ride the waves of the next few months with our community.
We're open at 517 Hampton Street, Hampton, Victoria this Thursday from 11am to 4pm, Friday from 11am to 4pm, and Saturday from 10am to 3pm if you're yet to pop in. After that, you'll find our amazing community of ethical and sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle labels online at thefashionadvocate.com.
We're adhering to social distancing, so if our pink pop up sign is out but our door is closed, we are open but you'll just have to wait a few minutes until there's space inside! One in, one out.