Situated in Leederville, the store mantra for On A Whim is something along the lines of “We like clever things made by people,” says Kate Wilks, co-designer and co-owner with Erin Vanhaeften.
She describes On A Whim as a fashion and lifestyle store housed inside a collaborative space called 324 Oxford. “Inside the space you’ll find Virgil Coffee (serving up coffee and eats), and a shared studio space, home to photographer Natasja Kremers, graphic designer Melissa Soraya, and stationery designers Mitchell and Dent.
“The On A Whim store stocks our own womenswear and menswear clothing lines, as well as a variety of unique homewares, accessories, and skincare from all over Australia.”
What made Wilks and Vanhaeften expand from a design focus, to an online store and retail outlet? “We’ve always loved selling our own product, initially at markets, then pop up shops and collaborative efforts, so the next step was to open our own retail space. Since we moved into front of house at 324 Oxford we embraced the opportunity to stock other local creatives.”
She says when sourcing stock for the store, “We love a good story so we choose products and brands that appeal to us on that level. All our own products are made locally in Perth and we’re very proud of that fact, so we’re always on the hunt for unique items whose creators absolutely love what they do and create.”
All aspects of On A Whim are a shared endeavour. “We both design, construct, and create our products as well as sell them on the floor,” says Wilks. The pair also offer bridal bespoke through their studio, as well as a custom order service. “We enjoy this side of the business because we’re constantly learning and creating items to fit all different shapes and sizes.
“In fashion you usually have a collection ready months prior to it being released onto the shop floor, and it’s not uncommon to get sick of the sight of it, so by having the custom side of our business it’s keeps everything fresh and exciting, which is one of the driving forces of what keeps us motivated.”
As for the menswear collection, “On A Him actually started off as a joke but has since become not only a great play on words, but the starting ground for our menswear line. We’d dabbled in menswear over the past few months, making custom pieces for our friends, and decided to just jump in. So we introduced the On A Him line when we re-opened our store in May. The collection is still very fresh, housing button down shirts and cotton jersey tees, with plans to extend the line in the near distant future.”
Speaking of the future, plans for On A Whim include world domination. Wait, did she say world domination? “Jokes, our plan is to continually learn, create, and develop our label/brand in all areas,” says Wilks. “We absolutely love our store so we intend on staying put for the foreseeable future.”