“It was all unplanned,” begins Chris Fesdekjian when describing his route into entrepreneurship. “Where I used to work they ran the place into the ground and I saw a need for this type of alternative brand/product and thought ‘If I don’t do it, someone will’. I was taking advantage of an opportunity even if not 100% ready.”
Chris – whose journey has taken him to London and years grafting in traditional surf stores – owns Glass Avenue, which describes itself as a unique blend of surf and street, music, art and culture. Six years of business suggests Chris has got it right, in the process becoming a popular part of the Newport community.
“I’m a pretty straight up kinda guy,” continues Chris. “I always despised traditional retail as it’s not very honest and when you are in a community like this people respect honest. I learnt pretty early that if you are as real as you can be people relate to that.”
Chris lists his three favourite things as his girlfriend, dog and YouTube. His dog, Cuba, is a trusted companion in the store which is a genuine hangout. “It’s a scene for the kids and the young crew to have a little bit of a base in the community. I’m very connected with the boardriders. People will grab something to eat then meet at Glass Avenue.“
“The concept isn’t driven by money,” admits Chris. “I work so much, but it’s a lifestyle choice. I could never be stuck in an office. I am very lucky that it’s been so successful that I can do what I love. It’s an offset of my personality and that’s pretty cool.”
Six years running his own business has taught him many lessons – he lists ‘be cool, neutral and sleep on something before making a decision; steer away from yes people and people who try to pollute you with their thoughts; be leftfield and not mainstream.’ If he could style for anyone – dead or alive – it would be the late, great Jeff Buckley. Himself the antithesis of mainstream.
Bilgola Cafe, North Newport
Address 365 Barrenjoey Road Newport, NSW Australia 2106
Phone 02 9997 8833