I’m often asked how our business started. Well, after 4 previous businesses in Devonport this is number 5. My previous businesses were all very different. First at age 22 was The Soapbox (franchise selling soaps/cleaners), then an operating agent for an airline flying from Moorabin to Devonport (at one stage we had ½ the Devonport terminal). In 1990 I founded Tasmanian Statewide Couriers with the 400th mobile phone in Tasmania costing $4895! Then in 1997 I founded Extreme Entertainment, providing children’s entertainment for private, corporate, church and government functions.
In 2003 I decided to pursue a boyhood dream of becoming an importer, but what to import? I decided I would look at China for a couple of main reasons: everything was “Made in China” and the language barrier would make it difficult for anyone to copy what I might do! I booked a ticket to China and accommodation for 8 weeks, took all the money I had and left my wife and 4 children at home – I told her I would be home when I had spent it…
For 7 weeks I travelled extensively up and down the seaboard of China visiting trade shows , factories and cities. I employed an interpreter for this period who travelled with me and finally decided to do Chinese antiques and French-style wrought iron from numerous factories. I went to many villages buying antiques and then sending them by road to a factory I rented with my interpreter in Guangzhou where he organised restoration and freight. A few weeks later 6 containers were on the way back to Tasmania
Upon arrival back in Australia I had just 8 weeks to find premises and set up in September 2003. The business Ancient Relics started 100 metres from our present site.