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How Aussie high school sweethearts turned ‘insane’ idea into ‘beautiful’ stationery empire


A couple who met at high school and became sweethearts have revealed how they turned a simple side hustle for a boutique stationery company into a booming business stocked in 2,000 retailers around the world.

Janet Pogorelc and Darrell Kwong, who were born in rural Mount Isa and who now live in Brisbane, had been working in the wedding industry for years making stationery, chalkboards and timber signs for brides and grooms when they decided to introduce their own ready-made line for retailers while they were living in New York.

Their resulting business – Fox & Fallow – is now a multi-million-dollar company.

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It sells in the likes of Myer, The Iconic and Dymocks at home and Anthropologie, Paper Source and Nordstrom abroad.

Thousands love the couple’s pretty, useful designs and thoughtfully-created products that are perfect for turning your dreams into a reality.

Janet Pogorelc and Darrell Kwong met at high school. Credit: Fox & Fallow
Fox & Fallow is now a multi-million-dollar company. Credit: Fox & Fallow

Janet and Darrell were both working in jobs they didn’t feel passionate about when they decided to launch Fox & Fallow.

“In 2014, I was jumping from job to job, but I was never happy,” Janet tells 7Life.

“I kept searching for the ‘dream job’, but I eventually realised that the problem wasn’t the job – it was me. When I started my side hustle I had something to look forward to each day, something I was doing just for me, where I had complete control of my own happiness.”

The couple worked day and night on the launch of the business. Credit: Fox & Fallow
The couple did their own website. Credit: Rebecca Smith/Fox & Fallow

“On a whim”, Janet said she signed herself and Darrell up for the National Stationery Show in New York after seeing “so many beautiful brands there” on her favourite blog.

At the time, she hadn’t even sold a single greeting card.

“To be honest, we didn’t understand what wholesale was, but we felt compelled to go and be amongst it all,” Janet recalls.

“Our parents thought we were insane and frankly we were. But I thought with my experience in graphic design and the pressure and deadlines of advertising, we could scratch together a bit of a collection in a few months and make it work.”

Top-selling items include wedding planners. Credit: Fox & Fallow

The couple worked hard on the launch, operating with limited savings from their jobs and no help.

“We basically had to DIY almost everything,” Janet says.

“We were given a spot on the floor, and then you had to bring your own walls, lighting and furniture and style it into a little pop-up shop that would tell the story of your brand.”

The new side hustle planner is also popular. Credit: Fox & Fallow

The pair designed their own website, did all of the photography, built their trade show booth and hand-painted a mural on the walls.

Janet even hand wrote 25 mini personalised chalkboards for the launch and sent them to key retailers to get them noticed.

“You have to think – do I absolutely have to outsource this, or can I do it myself?” she says.

But the project was a runaway success, and Fox & Fallow is now a multi-million-dollar business.

Fox & Fallow provides an income for our whole family. It was the best thing I’ve ever done,” Janet says.

Many have praised the quality of the merchandise. Credit: Fox & Fallow

Some of the top-selling Fox & Fallow products online include the beautiful Baby Books, the Gratitude Journals and the new Side Hustle Planner which has been designed to help you turn your dreams into a reality.

7NEWS readers have access to a 15 per cent discount when they enter the code HUSTLE15 at the checkout.

Reviews online for Fox & Fallow products are glowing:

“Such beautiful quality and attention to detail. Can’t wait to use it,” one shopper wrote of the baby book.

“So, so helpful, they’ve literally thought of everything!” another wrote of the wedding planner.

For more information about Fox & Fallow, click here.

Source: 7News