Come the Evolution | A New Chapter for Retailer Hub Furniture
We sit down with Hub Furniture founder Jacqueline Foti-Lowe on the closing of Hub and what’s to come for the Melbourne retailer.
Jacqueline Foti-Lowe has, in her own words, always loved to run her own race. The Melbourne-based founder of Hub, despite a blossoming architectural career, fell willingly for her latent passion for design objects and interiors and the appeal of supporting elite design through retail led to her establishing what would go on to become one of the most renowned destinations for high-end furniture, design, art and objects in the country.
“The tactility of design at this level was intoxicating; I was free to unearth brands never seen here before, bringing them to a highly- appreciative audience,” says Jaci. “That evolved into art and a more curatorial role, which I found I had a natural aptitude for.”
Over the past 20 years, Foti-Lowe has been responsible for introducing a roll call of designers like Michael Anastassiades and brands like Molteni to the Australian market, well before they were on peoples’ radars. Add Patricia Urquiola to the list, who made her first visit to Australia in 2009 to open the Hub showroom, marking the beginning of an enduring friendship, Jaci says, “By following my innate sense of what is great, great outcomes resulted. If I’m discovering new things, making connections, editing and facilitating design and culture in our local landscape, I’m really at my happiest.”
The introduction of first-in-market designers continued when Foti-Lowe brought Faye Toogood’s studio production to Australia for the first time in 2017 when she opened The Hub General Store in Melbourne’s Collingwood – “A treasure trove where I can express my love for vintage and everyday tools for living well.”
The impact of two years under a global pandemic needs no explaining, but for Foti-Lowe, it provided the impetus for evolution, offering the chance to step back, look critically, reassess, redefine and find the gaps. “I’m a creative. I trust my instincts but I needed to look seriously at how to execute and the pandemic was a fierce moment that made it clear – evolve or die,” she says.
And so for Jaci, the evolution means closing Hub as we know it to create the space to reinvent a more exciting way forward that includes new retail and new content but always with the unique and positive energy that Jaci is known for. “You get a sort of steely resolve when you emerge from adversity. It’s an exciting moment when you realise that treading the same path no longer feels right and no longer needs to hold you back. It is ok to do what you do best, but differently. I’m buoyed by the chance to reshape a new way forward for my career and for the brands I’m committed to. Knowing that I get to do that with 20 years experience under my belt imparts a deep sense of confidence.”
She says she’s learned that bigger doesn’t automatically equal better but rather “I’m more interested in channelling my attention and if I let some things go, I can do what really brings me joy and hold the things I care about in both hands.”