Partners in business, partners in crime, Jeremy Edwards and Jason Niaura have been living and working in North Hobart for over half their lives. It’s in their blood. Over numerous bottles of chardy Jeremy and Jason would constantly come up with weird and wonderful concepts. From this they developed The Concept Trust, which is where businesses including Tusk, Fusion Hairdressing (a few doors up from Tusk), and a graphic design studio have evolved. While Jason goes snippety-snip at Fusion, Jeremy can be found tangled in ribbon and wrap at Tusk.
Tell us the background of Tusk?
Tusk started over six years ago. I’d been working in corporate-land for a decade; at the time I worked in Hobart as operations manager at a training and human resources company. We lived above the salon back then and every day I would walk home past this little shop with whimsical dreams of throwing away my suits and living a fun life.
One day from work I rang Jason at the salon. I was having a bad day tangled in red tape. Anyway, I rang with the silly idea of buying this little shop in North Hobart and quitting my job and so on. It was more of a ‘what if’ conversation, as we had just bought a house, so there was the mortgage and everything else. I’m still not sure exactly how we took the plunge (or risk), but a month later we were signing the paperwork to buy Tusk. Six months later we had expanded the store to double the size, hired more team members, and it was taking off so well I actually quit my job for good. The Salvos were most appreciative of all of my suits!
How do you choose the eclectic mix that makes Tusk so colourful and special?
That’s a hard one. We don’t really have a magic formula ... I wish we did. We definitely go for eclectic and colourful. We love quirky, unusual, and tongue in cheek. We love taking risks, and I think people come to us as a result (it doesn’t always work but mostly it does). We aim to keep everything at a reachable price point. We are all involved in the buying, and our customers give us heaps of feedback – so this creates the eclectic flavour of Tusk. We source the weird, wacky and wonderful from all over the globe, but also source amazing products from creative Tasmanians. It’s a nice mix. Like a rainbow cake.
People come to you to purchase gifts for loved ones – is it satisfying when they find the perfect fit?
One fun thing about working at Tusk is the laughter you hear. We have a strong loyalty from our customer base. We always get feedback like ‘I’ve just come in for my fix’. We have created an environment for the customer that’s a kind of pick-me-up for a bad day. We actually have regular customers who come in during their lunch hour to play at Tusk, laugh at the cards, and so on. It’s almost like a little therapy to get them through their day.
Another fun thing to watch is customers who bring in their friends to show them around. They actually love introducing them to Tusk as their own special place – they take a sense of pride and ownership. This is amazing to experience, and makes us feel very proud of what we’re doing. I guess what we are trying to create is an experience. We want the experience and high that the buyer receives to be just as wonderful as the receiver of the gift.
What do you like about living and working in North Hobart?
The people, the atmosphere. Everyone is there for a positive reason. Food, cafés, wine bars, hotels, bookshops, beauty, hair, more food, the cinema. It’s almost like the pamper strip.
Where do you like to spend time in North Hobart?
When not playing at Tusk? I love my Saturday treat; I knock off work, wander up to the Winston, and treat myself to a pint of a different craft beer. It’s friendly, relaxed, there’s personalities to meet, and you get to watch the world go by.
Favourite night out with friends?
We are too spoilt for choice. I love food, and am never disappointed! A sneaky film at the State, a saunter through their bookshop, and a glass of wine is a nice weeknight treat.
Where do you go on a day out of town?
We take Olive and Sid (my niece and nephew) to Richmond. Picnic by the river, ducks to feed, a wander around the town, icecreams, and hunting for pirate treasure ... we call it adventure day.
VISIT: 319 Elizabeth Street, North Hobart