Well, this is a post I never imagined I would write (ever).
I am completely humbled – and extremely honoured to have an editorial feature in the current issue (25) of Fête/Life Magazine – the cover story, no less.
In late January, just before I hopped on a plane to Hong Kong, I spent a day with the lovely team, as we captured a ‘day in my life’ on camera, for the print feature – and on video, which I am so excited to share today!
There is nothing quite like the Fête aesthetic: timeless, understated, exquisite, inimitable, and I have long been inspired by Jane and Annabelle. I vividly remember the day I came across the very first issue, fresh out of design school, wide-eyed and eager, fervently emailing Jane to asking about any possible internship opportunities. Who knew this was to come! Thank you so much for sharing the behind the scenes of my life, and the inner workings of my mind, dream and brand.
The issue is twelve pages (twelve!) and yet, still my lengthy interview responses flowed far beyond those pages. So below, I have shared the extra content not shared in the magazine.
Zalie + I starting our day with a breakfast meeting at our local Richmond favourite Reunion & Co.
Next stop – our most beautiful stockist Co.Co in Port Melbourne (love you, Lisa and team)
Our brand new collection – leather travel goods – just launched.
Next stop, our beautiful stockist Say It With Flowers in Malvern, just around the corner from our studio.
Us – working away in the studio!
Ending the day at my favourite place for a date with Charles – Marion Wine Bar in Fitzroy.
All images: credit Jenah Piwanski and Fête/Life Magazine
Who have been the biggest influences in your life, in terms of career and work?
At fifteen, I met Adéle Basheer, the founder of stationery brand, Intrinsic – and this connection was pivotal. Adéle mentored me in the final year of high school and helped me realise that it was entirely possibly to make a living doing what I loved. This led me to switch from studying psychology to design. I jumped into a new creative world because of Adéle and I never looked back. She had a hugely positive impact on my life, professionally and personally.
My partner, Charles has been a seismic influence in my world – personally and for my career. Together, we are the epitome of the quote ‘You keep me safe, I’ll keep you wild’. Where I’m the wildhearted restless, reactive and heart-on-sleeve free-spirit, Charles is the practical, grounded sage – he brings stability into my world. He is the most generous, selfless, humble and enabling human I know. Without him, I probably wouldn’t have taken my business so seriously. He runs his Orbitkey with a quickly growing team and they are a huge inspiration to be working alongside. Charles accepts me and loves me for my best parts, as well as my flaws and works in progress. I’ve never had that in love, before. He constantly inspires me to be a better person.
My parents. They are the undoubtedly the biggest cheerleaders and support of my business and I know for sure I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. My Mum still individually hand-folds every single greeting card, together with her beautiful friend, Pauline (every Wednesday evening, they get together, open a bottle of Champagne and get to work) – and over the past year, this has been more than 50,000 cards! My Dad joins me at design markets and our customers and market neighbours adore him. He delivers them cheese and biscuits and mans the stall so I can take breaks. Beyond business, my parents have always encouraged whatever has called me – whether that be far flung travels, moving overseas, or starting my brand.
My family lineage has influenced me greatly. In 1974, at 23, my dynamo mother resigned from her teaching job, left her hometown in rural South Australia and spent a year hitch-hiking across the world with her best friend. Then there was Florence and Athol, my mum’s two pioneering aunts, who travelled through Europe in the 1940s by scooter, at a time where women travelling alone was almost unheard of. Travel has always been encouraged and a big part of my upbringing, so I feel that this side of me was always meant to be.
What are you most fearful of?
I think my greatest fear has always been not becoming everything I could become. Although, I think lately, the idea of success, and what success means to me has changed a lot. The ‘end point’ doesn’t really matter anymore – So I want to continue to show up, every single day, and give it all I’ve got, with no expectation on myself, or on life. I get scared about tiny, silly things – but when these crop up, I try to use them as a compass. If something feels scary, it’s probably my true north – the direction I’m meant to go towards. I try to remember that fear is only there to keep us ‘safe’ from risk of failure, or embarrassment. But where’s the fun in that!? Because eyeballing fear and leaping regardless – that’s where you discover your grace.
What are your favourite words to live by?
Recently, I scrolled past some words on Instagram that completely stopped me short: “If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive”. I don’t think I’m living by these fully words yet, but I’m certainly inspired to!
Self-doubt, Resistance, Creative Dry Spells. How do you Handle These?
Not so well! I’ve always worked a dogged, not-stopping-until-it’s-done kind of way. If something isn’t flowing, I force it out. I’m trying to be a little gentler on myself when resistance or creative dry spells crop up. I’d like to say: trust and space. Taking a break, and stepping fully away, and trusting that the creative muse will return when it’s ready to.
If you were to hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you go and why?
I’d go back to Turkey. It’s such an exquisite country of colour, texture, kindness and contrast – a place where beauty and ruin coexist. Turkey is a total assault on the senses. I travelled there solo a very pivotal time of transition, between my life in London and relocating to Australia and I remember Turkey with such gratitude and importance. Turkey made me feel vividly uncomfortable – every morning I woke in darkness to the prayer calls, with the most unsettling yet calming melody drifting through the sky. I covered myself in layers of clothing, yet felt more stripped back and vulnerable than ever. I miss feeling uncomfortable, and think there are more lessons waiting for me, when I next return.
I also feel called to take Charles to Montpellier, in the south of France. Many years ago I moved there, without speaking a word of French, and it will always feel like a home to me. Montpellier is such a sunshine-soaked happy place to be. It’s a pedestrian city, so you walk everywhere, it’s close to the sea and not too far from Spain, so there is a blissed out, Mediterranean vibe about it. Everyone stays out of their homes, drinking wine and eating tapas on the streets until all hours. Living the Joie De Vivre is a non-negotiable way of life there – I think it would be good for us to soak some of that up!