When Parlour X opened its doors 19 years ago, Director and Buyer Eva Galambos wanted it to be a fashion boutique reminiscent of an art gallery. Her vision was to showcase beautiful works of art with meanings that would resonate with the people viewing and touching them. The boutique was first housed in a Victorian terrace in Sydney’s upscale neighbourhood of Paddington with this vision in mind.
“I always wanted to create a space and a feeling of openness where people, no matter who they are or what their background is, can visit and be emotionally moved by what they see.”
Parlour X has developed into a destination. Now located on Oxford Street in Paddington, housed in the oldest church in the area, the boutique’s home makes for a unique shopping experience. “It’s a beautiful space with magnificent multi-coloured stained-glass windows,” Eva describes.
“It has been architecturally designed, which means you walk into this beautiful space, which makes you feel good, and you think, ‘I want to be here and I want to indulge.’”
It is Australia’s only multi-brand luxury boutique that is also an ecommerce platform. “We have won the major awards that there are to win in Australia for best boutique so I’m proud of its progress,” Eva beams. “I started with a dream that was small, and it turned into something incredible.”
Eva carries a distinct buying style that is different from others in the industry. “My unique style has contributed to what sets Parlour X apart,” she explains. “My career history in fashion has enabled me to have a viewpoint that I’ve never deviated from in the 19 years of having this business.
“My unique style has contributed to what sets Parlour X aside.”
“I am focused on the client and the client’s taste,” she continues. “What’s interesting about that is I have the most varied clientele you could imagine. Not just in age demographics, but right through to style and taste. There’s so much noise in the world today. Because of the global market, everything feels limitless and there are so many options. What I am trying to do is break down that noise.”
When a customer enters Parlour X, Eva will do the selecting for them. They can trust the selection she offers, and it eradicates some of that aforementioned noise. “After so many years working with other retailers, I have watched them try to navigate change in difficult ways,” she reflects.
“I stay true to what I do, and I’ve always had the same client in mind; I haven’t tried to change that client. “The clientele has grown with me, and of course I have new clients in addition to that clientele, but I haven’t tried to chop and change with fear about what is going on around me,” she continues.
“Don’t get me wrong, the noise is there, and it sometimes affects me, but I am pretty good at warding it off. I think that is part of what has enabled me to persevere and have a successful business in the face of a difficult moment in history.”
Eva made a decision more than 10 years ago that was paramount to the success of her business. Alert to the global market, she could see that it was vital for the future of any company in fashion to have an online presence. “I started with an online presence many years ago, but it wasn’t ecommerce at the beginning,” she recalls.
“I was growing a bricks-and-mortar business, so all my capital was going into that, but I reserved a small amount for the online presence. It was trial and error. Looking back now, I’m so glad I had the foresight to do that, because if anyone was starting today and trying to break into the ecommerce space, I think they would find it challenging.”
As the business grew and she could contribute more capital to it, she was able to align the online presence with the physical boutique. “The website wasn’t aligned with the brand at the very beginning,” she shares. “It was cookie-cutter because I didn’t have the resources, so I didn’t promote it for a long time until I reached the point where I had sufficient resources to put into it.”
Eva believes that in any business, you must take calculated risks. “To progress, you don’t have a choice but to take risks,” she says. “Part of that is through trial-and-error, and when you have success or failure you need to keep them in perspective. When I try something, and it doesn’t work out, I gain perspective and look at what didn’t work. I take that knowledge and apply it to the next venture.”
“To progress, you don’t have a choice but to take risks.”
She tries to learn from her decisions and turn the next one into a win. “If I make mistakes or things don’t work out my way, I don’t dwell on it; I move forward very quickly,” she explains. “If there is a problem, my first reaction is to remain solution-focused and not dwell on the issue.”
Parlour X works with a few Australian designers, and Eva is set on supporting the local industry as much as she can. She also wants to bring in more niche market brands that aren’t over-exposed in the market to cultivate her clientele’s need for uniqueness and variety.
“Evolving and fine-tuning our collections or our brand portfolio is something that I am always focused on doing and providing the clientele with new brands, styles, visions, and perspectives so that they can constantly feel inspired and invigorated,” she shares.
Parlour X offers a lifestyle element through its online journal called X Files, where people in the fashion industry and related industries such as art and design share city guides and industry interviews. “We bring people that we are connected with together,” Eva says. “Sometimes they are clients or friends or people we work with. We have this lifestyle section on our website that we are going to focus more on this year.”
The brand also shares a series of talks, where prominent people from the industry are invited to share their perspectives through an open panel discussion. “It has been really exciting,” Eva says. “We will continue doing that this year and have greater topics and more meaningful discussions in the plans that will inspire people.”
After almost two decades, Eva still loves what she does and the industry she’s in. She believes that as long as the brand continues to inspire and exude creativity that is received well, it is successful.
“It is important to feel fulfilled and successful,” she explains. “Success looks different to different people, but to me, being successful is feeling fulfilled. As long as we can help people on their journey to feel fulfilled, then we can feel successful in what we do.”