A Fab Story – Baby Steps

A Fab Story – Baby Steps

It has been 10 years since we started Fab Habitat Australia in Canberra, ACT and at times when I look back at all these years it leaves me humbled and feeling blessed.  One gets to read all the little pieces of wisdom, but nothing prepares you to face the reality in a way living through them does.  Going through the struggles and not knowing when they will end & if they are worth it makes it even more difficult to stay the course.

Fab Habitat started in 2010 Woden, ACT
Fab Habitat started in 2010 Woden, ACT

It was February 2010 when I had to prepare for our very first exhibition in Sydney. Being new to Australia and having no personal income made me aware of the fact that I had to keep my expenses to the very minimum.  So, to save on freight from ACT to Sydney, I packed my Corolla with the samples & drove down to the Showgrounds in Sydney.  I was running a high temperature but the only thought at the time was that the show should be successful.

Lhasa Black & Cream and Venice Black & Cream outdoor rug have been with us since 2010.

The show started and we had a lot of interest, most of it was positive.  Almost everyone who came to our stand was impressed by our designs, quality and the range of our Outdoor Rugs & Mats made from recycled plastic. They were impressed by the fact that one can create such beautiful practical rugs from discarded plastic shopping bags, bottles, jars and other discarded items that would have made to the landfill. Most were impressed by the fact that we offered free shipping as a regular feature of doing business with us.  We had a website www.fabhabitat.com.au where one could go and browse our entire range.

The show finished and we got a few small orders but a lot of inquiries which gave me enough hope to stay the course. We got our first 20ft container of Outdoor Rugs & Mats in March 2010. It was Canberra and it was cold. I come from a warm country and I was not used to chilly Canberra mornings, but I did not want to spend a dollar on emptying the container. So off I went and emptied the first container myself. It took me a 4 hours and by the end, I was almost delirious with exhaustion. I did not want to spend a cent on storage.  Every room in the house was filled with the Outdoor Rugs. Although, I had not lost any of my enthusiasm, orders were not enough to sustain the business. When I was alone, doubts had started crossing my mind if I was in the right business and what does the future hold.  My wife was the rock who kept me going and kept the morale high.

Sydney Showgrounds 2018
Sydney Showgrounds 2018

One of the inquiries from the fair turned out to be from a company with 12 stores. They ordered for 6 shops in Queensland and a few shops in the Central coast and one shop at the Manly Pier. At that time, this felt HUGE and I was super happy. Suddenly, after a few slow soul-sapping months, I had a new hope and something to look forward to. However, it proved to be a false start as the customer went into receivership in 4 months’ time. We were back to counting every order and saving every cent.  

 In the initial years, I did not want to miss an opportunity to show our Outdoor Rugs & Mats. The months passed quickly and before I realised, I had to prepare for the next show in Brisbane which proved to be a turning pointy in my life. 

It has been long 10 years filled with some struggle but more of joys, happiness. Writing the blog gives me an opportunity to share the small stories which have shaped Fab habitat & how we have evolved from one category to multiple categories.  It will be interesting to write about our journey from Outdoor Rugs to becoming a wholesaler of multiple categories of homewares. Every week I will try to recollect such stories and probably help our customers understand more about Fab Habitat and its team. 

I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I am enjoying recollecting and reliving our Fab Story.

Stay blessed.  Stay hopeful.  Life is Fab & everyone of us has so much to be thankful for. See you next week.

Thanks, Ruchin

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