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Qi is a family business that began in 1980, selling handmade jewellery through craft markets in Melbourne, Australia. Now in the second generation, Qi Cargill has been designing and making jewellery since 1990, and took over running the business in 1992. Qi opened her first shop in 1998, and since then she has gone on to win numerous awards, including the ‘Leader Business of the Year Award.’ Qi was also the first business ever to be inducted into ‘The Retail Hall of Fame’ for winning the ‘Leader Jewellery and Gift Shop of the Year Award’ three times.
How do you say ‘Qi?’
Born to hippy parents, the original founders– Kaalii & Andrew Cargill; Qi was named after the life-force with the Chinese spelling (‘Chi‘) but with the Japanese pronunciation of ‘Ki.‘ Qi will answer to both pronunciations, but you will hear staff and long-time customers refer to us as ‘Ki Crystals.’
Qi’s Philosophy, Approach & Ethos
Working at Qi
“Having dedicated most of my life to creating and building Qi, my passion for what we do continues to grow. I have always found my business inspiring, creative, exciting, and fun. Now well into my third decade, this continues to be the case.
Qi has grown into so much more than I could have ever imagined. When opening my first shop in 1998, I had a vision of creating a unique specialty shop with a focus on handcrafted semi-precious stone jewellery and crystals. Since then the business has been constantly expanding, and now encompasses complementary areas, such as a new age bookstore, holistic healing centre, and soon-to-open whole food organic cafe. Throughout this, I have worked hard to maintain the focus of the business, and believe that we stock one of the most extensive ranges of crystals and semi-precious stone jewellery available anywhere in Australia.
When first starting out I had no idea that, for me, it would become all about the people. I now have a team of 10 amazing staff who share my passion for delivering award-winning customer service. But more than this, we share a genuine belief that we are having a positive effect on the world. This truly is what drives us. People so often comment on my ability to hire, train, and retain amazing staff, but honestly, we have one of the best jobs in the world! So many of my staff have left, only to come back when they miss all that Qi offers.
Each and every day at work, people tell us how much they love what we do, that we have changed their lives, or that Qi is their favourite place in the whole world. It is not uncommon for people to tell us that the support we offered them when they were at their lowest point is what got them through. Qi has also become a meeting place; a way of bringing like-minded people together; and a place for healing ourselves, each other, and the planet. And I thought we were just opening a crystal shop!
Many of my customers have watched me grow up in my parents’ business, some of whom I have now been serving for over 30 years. Starting out as a young jewellery designer, I did not yet know that I would, as a jeweller, have the privilege of sharing all of life’s big moments with my clients — that my life’s work would be making beautiful and meaningful keepsakes to mark each of life’s milestones, and that people would treasure so dearly the things I brought into being. Nor did I know that when you have a business in one location for so long, you become part of a community. I have now watched many of my customers’ children grow up. At first they would come in with their mums, fascinated by our huge range of crystals and fossils. Now they are coming back to us to buy their engagement rings!
Owning a healing centre and spiritual store, we often get to share the more challenging times with our clients, and this too is a privilege I take very seriously. It has always been clear to me that our role is to act as guides, offering well informed, balanced information to assist people to explore all of their options. Through this our aim is to empower people to take responsibility for their own health and well-being, as they are best situated to know what is right for them. I have never been interested in pushing a particular agenda, nor am I happy perpetuating superstitions and dogma.
Vibrational Medicine, including Crystal Healing, is now a well established, legitimate field, and should always be represented as such. Unfortunately, many in the ‘New Age’ industry continue to be ill informed, and therefore we have to work hard to be taken seriously. By maintaining a balance between the scientific and more metaphysical aspects of our industry, and a sincere and down to earth approach, people have come to appreciate Qi, and recognise it as a well established industry leader.
Having established our healing centre in 2004, some of our founding practitioners are still with us more than 10 years later. I am so proud of our ability to maintain great working relationships, and to offer our practitioners an extraordinary environment and community in which to build their practices. We have established, and continue to build, a vast range of genuine and talented healers, alternative health practitioners, and psychics. There are times when it is obvious that a crystal or product on its own is not going to offer a client all that they are looking for. Having our team of practitioners on board has added so much more depth to the Qi experience.
One of the most rewarding aspects of what we do is to witness the transformation that can occur when so many possibilities open up for our clients. When they come to realise that they have options and genuine alternatives when it comes to their health and well-being. Over the years we have witnessed profound change for so many people. Each and every day we get positive feedback about how we have touched someone’s life. The fact that we get to share life’s journey with each other, and with our clients, makes this something I am proud to continue to spend my life doing.”