It's not as if European industrial chic will ever go out of fashion.
New JET store has everything you didn’t know you needed
Jane Egerton has an uncanny ability to see the opportunities often obfuscated by risk.
In the mid 1980s she surprised and potentially dismayed her employer, IBM, when she took a voluntary redundancy package designed to cull some of the company’s dead wood.
Jane is definitely not dead wood, but she saw an opportunity back then to branch out.
Some 30 years later the laconic, confident and vivacious single mother of two has just purchased and renovated Number 188 Sturt Street, known formerly to CityMag readers as House of Donkey. Here, she has launched her third business – Jane Egerton Trading (JET).
The separation from IBM 30 years ago isn’t directly linked to her establishing the city shopfront but it is characteristic of Jane’s approach to business and life, which she grabs onto both with both hands.
“I’d been living by the beach,” says Jane about her move back to the city.
“I love the beach and I’ll probably go back down there. I’ve got two dogs,” she says and we nod – knowing full well the dog + beach = joy formula.
Jane says the decision to buy 188 Sturt Street was based on her own intuition that the South West Corner of the city is on the rise and will yield a handsome return on investment.
“I guess I’ve taken that business knowledge from my IBM days right throughout my life,” says Jane of her entrepreneurial pedigree.
The upstairs-downstairs property has a small four-by-four meter storefront. The large windows on the street reveal a room packed, literally to the rafters, with the most emotive industrial and authentic pieces of vintage design we’ve seen in Adelaide.
“I travelled through France, Belgium and the Netherlands in a van,” says Jane.
“I was on a holiday, previously, and bought some beautiful things at auction. Lucky for me the bed and breakfast where I was staying let me store these things because I’d bought rather too much to fit in any suitcase,” she laughs.
JET, as its emblazoned on her dramatic black and white Paralax-designed business card, is symptomatic of Adelaide’s growing hospitality scene.
Original Jieldé lamps sit in pairs, propped up against Barcelona lounges in Jane’s shop, the same as Studio -Gram specified in Osteria Oggi (those wall lamps on the left above the shelf of wine).
And while it may seem like a long bow to draw between this small shop on Sturt Street and the food and beverage boon to the east, our conversation reveals more and more about Jane’s connection to the hospitality industry here.
“I hired out some pieces that were used up at Fino for Charles and Camilla’s visit,” says Jane referencing the Prince of Wales and Dutchess of Cornwall’s visit to the Barossa Valley in November last year.
Jane’s previous two businesses revolved around food and wine and she sees JET as the natural evolution of her passion for both.
“There are so many new spaces opening up and I just think we could work together,” says Jane.
While her shop on Sturt Street may be minuscule, Jane wants her inventory to spread out and fit out new bars, cafés and restaurants as they open, spreading her wares beyond the walls of her own store.
“Setting up a new bar can cost a lot. I feel I could help out these young businesses with some great pieces for free and, in return, the venues could sell them to interested customers,” she says, “on a consignment sort of basis.”
This innovative idea is symptomatic of Jane’s down-to-earth approach to doing business in Adelaide.
“One of my large canvas posters — the same exact poster — sold at Sotheby’s for $1500,” she says continuing, “I’ve got if for sale for $500.”
“I’ve got some incredible pieces,” says Jane and we can’t help but nod as we look around and fall in love with the rich material culture she’s assembled in her store. Hopefully, we’ll see it around town soon too.