Peter Sakaluk worked for Cornelius Furs, a famous Sydney fur salon, in its later years. In this interview he describes his experiences in fur retailing and in the excerpt below he discusses the introduction of different product lines when fur sales began to decline.
Well, when I first started there, as I said before, the shop was devoted mainly to furs, and then later on we used to sell more leather. We actually had to expand our men’s leather department and our ladies’ leather department, which meant that the fur section actually shrunk, but that was due to the downturn. We used to start selling more sheepskins because we were finding that the Russians and the Japanese were finding the sheepskins cheaper here than at home. That all dwindled away, and then after that we got into accessories. We used to sell a lot of handbags, wallets, key rings, things like that to the tourists, sheepskin rugs – and then they stopped buying that because the [Japanese] yen, actually the value of that was no good; they could buy them cheaper at home. Then we had to go into other things, like wool and cashmere, polyester, just plain cashmere and that actually kept the business going.