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The story behind ISHKA – amazing!

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In a world saturated with consumerism, mass production and copied designs rehashed into stuff that will last one season, there aren’t too many business that say they have survived across five decades and still providing beautiful handcrafted items.

Michael Sklovsky, one of the four founders and now sole proprietor of ISHKA has a story to tell and it’s not the normal ‘run of the mill’ vignettes that make up his journey.

To fully understand ISHKA and it’s ‘whole being’ and aesthetic, you have to flip open Michael’s head to reveal a man who didn’t comply with social standards and values, who rebelled against mediocrity and travelled the world to find his Chi, exploring Eastern Philosophy.

ISHKA commenced operation in 1971 as a craft studio in St. Kilda, and now has 30 retail locations throughout Australia with a huge online presence. The vision is strong and to the point – ‘helping to change the world one handcrafted item at a time’.

Michael, a Uni dropout in the 1960’s and living in Bryon Bay, later graduated from Melbourne University with an Honours Science Degree in Psychology and Mathematics during which time he created leather products. There came a turning point came in his life whether to chose an academic career or continue work as an artisan doing what he loved. The answer is obvious.

Michael believes ISHKA was ahead of its time, a unique communal treasure among artisans and like-minded people adding, “ISHKA carved out our place in the world and were now leading the market in selling primitive art and village craft. We were the pioneer designers of turning recycled architecture and ox carts into unique and interesting furniture.”

Michael’s door was always open literally. “I wanted my shop to feel like a home. I offered all my customers complimentary coffee and herbal tea, and I would often cook for whoever happened to be around during meal times. This family vibe became synonymous with both the ISHKA shopping experience and employment environment,” Michael says.

It’s those experiences and emotions that move us forward and want to give back to the world with Michael summarizing his journey, “The journey that started many years ago is far from over. We will continue to strive to change the world and see an end to world poverty. In doing so we will offer the most incredible and unique inventory that you will find in any one location. We look forward to what lies around the next bend.”

ISHKA sells handcrafted homewares including pottery, furniture, lighting, doors, clothing and accessories for men and women, jewellery and gifts.

It’s about time you rekindled your love of all things extraordinary, unique and ‘crafty’ and head to ISHKA.

Visit a store in Carlton, St. Kilda, Richmond, Prahran, Knox City, Westfield Doncaster, Fountain Gate, Highpoint, Bayside in Frankston, Forest Hill, Eastland, Northland & Southland and ISHKA’s heart and soul is located at 300 Nicholson Street Fitzroy.



Words Debra Mar

Pictured: What’s in store at ISHKA now!

*ISHKA is the name of a village in Afghanistan and the name of one of the founders Afghan Hound.

Written by: Debra Mar

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