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Spotlight: Halcyon Nights

By Kate Vandermeer
on October 11, 2017
With 0 comments

BRAND NAME:  Halcyon Nights
DESIGNER: Kym Purtell
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS:  2 years! This September!
DESCRIBE HALCYON NIGHTS IN 3 WORDS: Playful, Colourful, Emotive

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YOUR BACKGROUND AS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL FOUNDERS OF THE
FAT STORES IS IMPRESSIVE. DID THAT GIVE YOU INSIGHT INTO THE
AUSTRALIAN MARKET FOR HALCYON NIGHTS? OR IS IT A
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BEAST BEING IN THE KIDS INDUSTRY?

Being a retailer / buyer /product developer has given me a huge insight
into how to bring together the collections. Being aware of product
packaging & merchandising from a stores perspective, as to how it will
sit in store has been a great asset. My life partner Reuben works in
events / marketing and IT so together we can be quite the team.
Also being a mum helps! Knowing what products mums need for their
babies and what is useful and what is not. Tying this together with my
background has been wonderful. I have had a lot of fun with it.

 


YOU'VE COLLABORATE WITH LOCAL ARTISTS DEAR PLASTIC, MIN
PIN & SHUH LEE. WAS THIS ALWAYS PART OF YOUR BRAND
IDENTITY?  

Yes definitely. There are so many incredible artists who I find
inspirational. Working with artists adds another element and creates
variety in the design. I am not an artist myself so it makes sense to
outsource this part of the process. I have sourced artists based on what
I love and what I am drawn to. The Dear Plastic Rainbow Mountain piece
I saw years and years ago at Craft Victoria exhibition. I fell in love and
when I started on the collection I got in touch with them.

 


YOU INITIALLY BEGAN WITH BABY / KIDS BEDDING BUT HAVE SINCE
EXPANDED INTO BABY CLOTHING, SWADDLES & HATS. WHAT DROVE
THIS DECISION TO EXPAND SO EARLY ON INTO YOUR BUSINESS?

I think my love for making and creating things. Not having set
boundaries and exploring what works. Also being a mum, my youngest
is 3 now so when I started developing the wraps & clothing I was in that
space and using those types of products. So I was really driven by what I
thought mums would like and need.

YOU HAVE A SMALL FAMILY. HOW HAVE YOU FOUND MANAGING
YOUR TIME SINCE BECOMING A MUM AND GROWING THE BRAND? 

It’s pretty crazy all the time!  I’m a passionate person & I really love
what I do so that certainly helps. You have to be organised and be able
to achieve a lot in small time frames. Being able to switch ‘hats’ quickly
and effectively. It’s definitely challenging at times but absolutely has its
benefits. I can still pick up the kid from school and work around them.

 

THE OUTBACK DREAMERS & FERN GULLY RANGES HAVE BEEN
HUGE FOR US WITH THE "AUSTRALIANA" PRINTS. DID YOU EXPECT
THIS PRINT WOULD EXPLODE OR WAS IT A HAPPY COINCIDENCE? 

I would say a little bit of both but really, I did think it would be or should
be super successful. Having travelled a lot overseas and within
Australia, who hasn’t tried to buy a souvenir and found them incredibly
ugly. It seemed like a big opportunity in the market. Working with Min
Pin and her incredible style lent itself to that so well. I asked her to do
the first Australian print and when I saw it I was amazed. I thought this
has to be a hit!  So drawing from my own experiences helps shape the
collections.


THE KIDS CLOTHING MARKET HAS GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE
LAST 2 YEARS IN PARTICULAR; IN YOUR OPINION WHAT HAS
CONTRIBUTED TO THAT? 

Demand I guess. And the fact that people don’t mind spending their
money on their kids. Babies and children’s tend to grow out of things
quickly hence the need to replace items. But it is an interesting
question. It seems people’s values have turned from spending on
themselves and their homes to their children. I also think children’s
product is generally happy, fun and light hearted. It is nice to buy. Retail
therapy through kids product!

 


WHAT 3 TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE SMALL BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA
ABOUT BEGINNING A START UP IN THE KIDS MARKET? 

1. I think it’s the same for any business you need a clear plan, a vision
and idea of what you are going to create.
2.  It's hard work, be prepared for the ups and the downs. You have to
keep at it.

3. Do your research. Understand what you are creating and how you fit
into the market.

HOW HAVE YOU FOUND INSTAGRAM IN TERMS OF PROMOTING YOUR
BRAND? 

Amazing! We are so fortunate to be growing a business in this
time of enormous surge social media. Incredible.

WHAT OTHER CATEGORIES DO YOU HOPE TO EXPAND INTO?

Will keep you posted BUT some great new Items being added next
season for gorgeous babes.

SHOP THE LATEST RANGE OF HALCYON NIGHTS GOODIES HERE.... 

 

Spotlight: Addition Studios

By Kate Vandermeer
on September 20, 2017
With 0 comments

 

BRAND NAME: Addition Studios

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS:  (between Page Thirty Three & Addition Studios) 7 Years 

DESCRIBE ADDITION STUDIOS IN 3 WORDS: The Modern Utopia 

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1. WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENT BEHIND CREATING ADDITION STUDIOS? 

We wanted to bring together all our loves under one cohesive roof. Our name change from Page Thirty Three to Addition Studio now encompasses all of these in its meaning. We create Designer Wellness themed products, which our plus sign logo, that also resembles a first aid sign, suits perfectly. Addition also refers to adding to a space, which encompasses the Furniture, lighting and object design that we do, while Studio refers to our core grounding as a studio practice that works not only on our own design but also for other clients and projects.

2. YOU STUDIED INDUSTRIAL DESIGN AND HAVE SINCE FORGED A PATH MERGING OBJECTS/ FURNITURE AND PRODUCTS? ITS REFRESHING TO SEE SUCH A HOLISTIC RESPONSE TO WHATEVER DRIVES YOU DESIGN WISE... CAN YOU ELABORATE ABOUT THIS PATH? 

I come from a Fine Arts background, which offers a fairly unique frame of reference for object design. I often  think sculpturally with an eye on function, rather than the other way around.

                 

3. WITH BOTH PAGE THIRTY THREE AND ADDITION STUDIOS, YOU HAVE MADE THE PRODUCTS IN AUSTRALIA? IS THIS A CONSCIOUS CHOICE FROM AN ETHICAL POINT OF VIEW OR MORE ABOUT KEEPING MINIMUMS & TURNAROUND QUICK AND EASY?

We try to create as much as we can in Australia, not only to reduce mileage that each product travels, and therefore reduces its carbon footprint, but also in order to support the Australian manufacturing industry. I musty admit though, that this becomes harder and harder every year, and as time passes we are forced to create more and more parts overseas. This is quite sad and frustrating, but when you have your products appropriated by large corporations for a tenth of the price, it makes it difficult to compete.

4. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ON THE INCREASE OF MINDFULNESS AND PRODUCTS AROUND RITUAL WELLNESS? 

I think it is fantastic. The more mainstream that mindfulness mentality becomes then the more enlightened our society will become. I think this is a great thing.

5. WHAT ARE YOUR OWN PERSONAL RITUALS THAT HELP KEEP YOU FOCUSED AND SANE IN THE SMALL BUSINESS WORLD THAT CAN BE OVERWHELMING!?

I do Vedic Meditation (sometimes called Transcendental Meditation) twice daily, and have done for 7 years now. It is the best way to burn off mind confusion and anxiety. It helps me think clearly and concisely. Apart from that the main thing I do is wake at sunrise and go to work early. I like to have a few hours of quiet and calm in the morning to get through work. The upside of this is that I can then leave early, which I love. That way I can live out the afternoon removed from work commitments.

            

6. YOU HAVE RECENTLY SHOWN THE RANGE IN EUROPE. WHAT WAS THEIR REACTION? IS YOUR HOPE TO MAKE ADDITION STUDIOS A GLOBAL BRAND?

Since our inception in 2010 we have always had a better response internationally than in Australia, especially when it comes to media interest, so it has been cool to actually go and be face to face with our customer. America and England have been great for us, however this year going to Northern Europe was really interesting as the Wellness industry is just a starting to emerge there, so it was very fresh for that market.

7. SUCH A BIG PART OF THE APPEAL OF ADDITION STUDIOS IS THE PACKAGING AND BRANDING. HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT TO YOU AND YOUR DESIGN PROCESS? 

Packaging is everything. Most of my day is devoted to pulling all the components together in a precise and cohesive manner.  I am OCD, so I love it. It really scratches an itch.

8. WE LOVE THE NEW AUSTRALIAN NATIVES RANGE. THEIR IS A REAL SENSE OF EMBRACING AUSTRALIAN NATURAL ESSENCES AND TAPPING INTO THAT WHICH MAKES US AS A COUNTRY UNIQUE. WHAT INSPIRED THIS PART OF YOUR NEW RANGE? 

We have such unique colours and ingredients in Australia, so I think its great to explore these flavours. Its easy to forget that we are really exotic to people in other countries. The things we see everyday become so normal to us. It has been fun to play with everyday Australian flavours but also explore and mix really unique and unknown elements. It has also been a fantastic learning experience reading about all the different uses that indigenous cultures had for so many of the plants.

                

9. YOUR INSTAGRAM IS SO BEAUTIFULLY CURATED... ITS A REAL INSIGHT INTO YOUR DESIGNER MIND AND WHAT INSPIRES AND CALMS YOU. DO YOU FIND THAT THIS FORM OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOURSELF AND CUSTOMERS / RETAILERS LIKE US HELPS CREATE A RELATIONSHIP AND HOW IMPORTANT HAS INSTAGRAM BEEN AS A TOOL TO GROW YOUR BRAND?

I think it is really important because it’s a direct link to the people who are interested in your story. Apart from that its really fun. I love storyboarding brand images, inspiration and lifestyle into a single story, I find it really helps to resolve your own equations on what your brand means.

10. WHAT'S IN THE PIPELINE FOR ADDITION STUDIOS IN THE SHORT TERM? 

Next up we begin work on our new concept store we purchased recently. Once thats open we will start to work on our new furniture collection which we aim to launch in New York next year.

Shop the new range of Addition Studios Ritual Wellness now... 

Spotlight: Bobux Kids Shoes

By Kate Vandermeer
on August 29, 2017
With 0 comments

BRAND NAME: Bobux 

HOW LONG HAS BOBUX BEEN IN BUSINESS: 26 years

DESCRIBE BOBUX IN 3 WORDS: Flexible, Durable, Inspiring. 

WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL INTENT BEHIND CREATING BOBUX? Bobux was originally created in the garage of the Bennett family, with the intent of creating some comfortable, high quality footwear that would stay on a baby. Very soon after their first creation (and rapid sell out at the local markets) Chris discovered the importance of foot health being considered in the design of footwear for children, and the Bobux philosophy was born. 

BOBUX IS SYNONYMOUS WITH KIDS SHOES THAT ARE COOL BUT COMFY AND SUPPORTIVE? NOT AN EASY FEAT. HOW HAS THIS RECOGNITION BEEN ACHIEVED?  The design team has a large research focus, which means that we use each design project as an opportunity to learn as much as we can. We are always talking with parents and children to make sure we are designing the right product, and then putting each shoe through a rigorous fitting and testing process so we know that it will meet the high standards we have for all new products. 

BOBUX IS PODIATRIST ENDORSED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND HOW DID THIS EVENTUATE?  This really eventuated through developing relationships with podiatrists in New Zealand and around the world, and talking to them about what is really important to them when it comes to shoe design and construction. We have then kept them in the design loop so where possible they are helping us verify and validate our designs so we know we are doing the best thing for kids feet.

 

 

  

 

BOBUX IS A NEW ZEALAND BRAND WITH AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE.  WE LOVE HOW NEW ZEALANDERS SUPPORT LOCAL, EMBRACE GOOD DESIGN AND INVEST IN GOOD PRODUCTS.  (NOT BUYING LOTS BUT BUYING WELL)  DESCRIBE THIS CULTURAL IDENTITY AND WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU? There is a lot of stuff in the world, so we think that there needs to be a really good reason for new things to be created. For every new shoe we are making sure there is a problem that is being solved and we are executing the design solution in the best way possible. This means focusing on high quality materials, taking care with our construction and fostering good relationships with our factories. We have found if we focus on these things that we really care about, our customers will see that come through in our products.

KIDS FASHION HAS BECOME A BIG INDUSTRY.  HOW HAVE YOU EMBRACED THIS WITH THE "LOOK" AND APPEAL OF THE DESIGN OF THE SHOES BECOMING AS IMPORTANT AS THE FUNCTION AND COMFORT?  We have worked hard to develop the Bobux design language by simplifying and refining as much as possible. We have been working through a process of identifying what is really important in our shoes, keeping that stuff then getting rid of the rest. This ‘cleaning up’ process naturally modernises the range and starts to create an aesthetic that you would typically see in the kids fashion industry today. We have found that the standard of design in the kids fashion realm has lifted really high, and the great thing is that a lot of these brands have listened to parents and are solving real problems. A good example of this is the use of merino which is a great material that ticks so many boxes in kids fashion.

HOW MUCH SCIENCE GOES INTO EACH SHOE? FROM FABRICATIONS, FITS AND WEAR AND TEAR? The short answer is a lot. We are working closely with research podiatrists to deeply understand the movement of kids feet, so we can use that data to design better shoes. We also prototype lots of shoes and really put them through the ringer before they go into production. We then work really closely with our factories to ensure that everything is executed to the highest level. All of this is tracked and measured so we know with every new shoe, we are constantly improving on the last one.

 

 

HOW HAS BOBUX EMBRACED SOCIAL MEDIA, INFLUENCERS AND DIGITAL MARKETING? GIVE US SOME EXAMPLES?  Bobux’s key marketing focus is on digital rather than more traditional mediums like print. These days it’s so important to be mobile optimised and be able to provide our customers with information whenever and wherever they may need it- which majority of the time is on-the-go on mobile. We utilise social media, our website and blog to help get information across to our customers- whether it be styling tips or information on children’s foot development. We are also lucky enough to have great relationships with bloggers, podiatrists, stylists and groups of mums who also contribute and share their thoughts which are useful to our end customers and retailers alike.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER 1 THING THAT PARENTS GET WRONG WITH TRYING TO FIT KIDS SHOES?  The main thing would be the temptation to get as much wear, size-wise, out of a pair of shoes. This can cause problems with a kid’s gait, causing them to trip or fall when the shoes are too large, then bind up their feet and potentially cause more problems when they are too small. We know this isn’t easy so we are working on some cool solutions to help parents know when the shoes are fitting correctly… Watch this space! 

NORMALLY WE TELL OUR KIDS OFF FOR SCRIBBLING ON THEIR SHOES.... BUT YOU EMBRACED THIS WITH YOUR LIMITED EDITION "CUSTOM" SHOES THAT KIDS COULD COLOUR IN.... WHAT INSPIRED THIS IDEA?  This actually came from the whiteboard leather material itself. We had been developing the material with our leather tannery for a while and thought ‘what can we do with this?!’. At the same we had been working on these cool new characters for the 2018 play range. By combining these two developments together we were able to put together a limited edition shoe that was really fun. 

WHAT'S NEXT IN TECHNOLOGY WITH KIDS SHOES?  There are some really exciting things happening in the wearable technology space, and some great new materials that will allow us to do things we couldn’t dream of before. We can’t talk about much yet, but will have some exciting announcements in the coming months!

Check out the NEW Spring Summer range and shop online / instore today! 

Spotlight: Solid State

By Kate Vandermeer
on August 09, 2017
With 0 comments

BRAND NAME:  Solid State

DESIGNERS/FOUNDER:  Anthony Nasr

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS:  2 and half years

DESCRIBE SOLID STATE IN 3 WORDS: World Proof Grooming

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? Working as a hairdresser gave me a large network of people that I was able to call on for advice in the early stages of development.  I was working as a hairdresser full time and in evenings/weekends I would work on the R&D for the first products release. As soon as R&D was finished I pulled the plug on hairdressing and focused all my energy on Solid State

 

WHAT DROVE YOU TO CREATE SOLID COLOGNE? IT'S DEFINITELY A NICHE MARKET? Working predominately with females for such a long time made me realise how different mens and womens day to day needs were. We thought it was pretty obvious to us that solid grooming products are better suited for the way men operate.

SOLID STATE IS MADE IN AUSTRALIA. WAS THIS A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO STAY LOCAL? We definitely wanted to keep things local. It was the best way we could trace back the raw materials and keep a close eye on quality control.

DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO SOURCE LOCAL MAKERS OF SOLID COLOGNE? Very tough, most people had never heard of it for one and starting out it is very hard to get your foot in the door with MOQ’s and making sure you don’t over commit with stock. 

  

YOU'VE BUILT A STRONG INSTAGRAM FOLLOWING. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 INSTAGRAM TIPS?  Need to be active with comments, likes and replies, insta stories are a must, collaborations, influencer product reviews.

WHAT OTHER CATEGORIES DO YOU HOPE TO EXPAND INTO? We will have hopefully by the end of the year our shampoo and face wash ready for market. These will be truly unique and will be the first of there kind worldwide. Keep an eye out to see whats coming!

Spotlight: Phoenix & The Fox

By Kate Vandermeer
on August 02, 2017
With 0 comments

  

 

BRAND NAME: Phoenix and the Fox

DESIGNER: Jennifer Green

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS: I started studying fashion and textile design when I was 17. I have been in the industry for over 10 years. 

DESCRIBE PHOENIX & THE FOX IN 3 WORDS:  Unique, Comfortable, Fashion

PHOENIX & THE FOX IS ETHICALLY MADE IN CHINA & INDIA, HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? YOU'VE ALSO CHOSEN TO USE ORGANIC COTTON? WAS THIS ALWAYS YOUR MANIFESTO OR A CHOICE THAT EVOLVED? Using organic cotton and having a transparent manufacturing process was important to me from the start. In the beginning of my fashion career I travelled to China and over the years I have seen some pretty poor conditions. Consumer outlooks have changed since then. We are now asking where was this made, and we question when something is too cheap. Seeing jeans in discount department stores priced at $7 scares me! It is now not hard to make sure the factory you chose looks after their employees with fair pay and working conditions.

YOU A TRAINED TEXTILE DESIGNER. WE LOVE HOW YOU CHOOSE THEMES EACH SEASON (GAME OF THRONES, ROMEO & JULIET)  WHILST STILL KEEPING YOUR BEST SELLERS ALIVE.  HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH A THEME?  I’m inspired by everything around me: POP culture, the art world, and probably most of all, my two boys Phoenix and Teddy.  My love of fashion of course comes into it, I’m constantly looking at the latest fashion shows and I have my go to blogs.

The Tokyo Club for example, started with seeing a street shot of a Japanese girl at fashion week holding a lucky cat mobile phone case. The crazy colours and the kitschness went on to inspire a Luck Cat print that evolved to everything Japanese. 

 

  

 

YOU ARE A MUM OF 2 BOYS. HOW HAVE YOU FOUND MANAGING YOUR TIME SINCE BECOMING A MUM AND GROWING THE BRAND? It is very difficult. I am lucky enough to have a very supportive husband and parents who live close by.

WE OFTEN GET ASKED "DOES THIS COME IN ADULT SIZE?" WHEN SHOWING THE RANGE INSTORE. DO YOU EVER PLAN TO DO ADULT SIZING? I get asked this a lot! I would LOVE to venture into adult sizes. Especially for the jackets. I love a bit of matchy dressing with your kids.   Watch this space… 

THE KIDS CLOTHING MARKET HAS GROWN SIGNIFICANTLY IN THE LAST 2 YEARS IN PARTICULAR; IN YOUR OPINION WHAT HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THAT?  

Instagram definitely!  

    

 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN COPIED? THE INDUSTRY IS SUFFERING WITH THE LIKES OF ALI EXPRESS AND BIG CORPORATES BLATANTLY COPYING SMALL BRANDS LIKE YOUR'S. WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT? Yes, my prints are copied all the time. Not exact copies, but I can definitely tell they have been heavily influenced by my prints and ideas. They say that copying is the highest form of flattery, but honestly it really burns me.  So much goes in to designing a collection from the original idea in your head, to seeing it come alive on paper, to the clothing, and then seeing a stranger in the street wearing your label. The design process really takes on a life of it’s own. It’s a real shame when someone tries to copy and paste this with amateur results.  The only way I can combat it is to stay true to my design process and always having something fresh and exciting each season.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR PHOENIX & THE FOX?  To continue being inspired my boys and enjoy creating clothes that kids love to wear.

SHOP PHOENIX & THE FOX RANGE HERE....

 

 

Spotlight on Alchemy Produx

By Kate Vandermeer
on July 27, 2017
With 0 comments

BRAND NAME: Alchemy Produx
DESIGNER: Sara McLelland
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS: 6 years
DESCRIBE ALCHEMY PRODUX IN 3 WORDS: Minimal, Botanical, Androgynous 
 
YOU RUN ALCHEMY PRODUX WITH YOUR HUBBY, TRISTAN. WAS THIS ALWAYS A DESIRE? TO WORK TOGETHOR?  
I would never have dreamed we would end up working together on our own business, I wouldn't say we set out with this objective in mind. We did however, ask our selves, "how can we live better?" so I guess working together was a lifestyle choice, it has also been attributed to moving down the coast and trying to live a slower life. Tristan is good at all the things I am not, so we work well together and don't step on each others toes. 
 
YOUR RESPECTIVE BACKGROUNDS ARE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN... YOU WERE A FASHION DESIGNER & TRISTAN A CHEMIST.  BEFORE WE BEGAN THESUPERCOOL, NOONIE & I SPENT A COUPLE OF YEARS TRYING TO COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR A BUSINESS THAT WOULD COMPLIMENT OUR SKILL SETS. WAS IT CLEAR CUT OR TOOK TIME TO COME UP WITH ALCHEMY
We never began with starting a business in mind, we originally started to make our candles as a hobby and I still laugh when I tell people I make candles for a living. Our backgrounds in fashion design and chemistry defiantly helped shaped our business, even if we weren't aware of it at the time. I didn't grow up dreaming of being a candle-maker; but I have always been creative and as long as I am doing something creative I couldn't be happier. 
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YOU INITIALLY BEGAN SELLING DIRECTLY TO THE CUSTOMER WITH A MARKET STALL AT ROSE ST MARKETS.  WAS THIS HELPFUL IN LEARNING WHAT CUSTOMERS LIKED, WHICH SCENTS WERE MORE POPULAR? REACTIONS TO PACKAGING ETC...  
When we first started, the fragrance Lychee & Black Tea was still our best seller, today it is still our best seller!  Selling at markets is so valuable for us in terms on customer feed back and reactions! Until they invent scratch-n-sniff for instagram and websites its hard for our customs to completely experience our products. Fragrance has such
a psychological effect on people, and seeing reactions to a tangible product is priceless! Fragrance is like food, not ever body has the same palette, and different emotions and memories can be associated with different fragrances. 
HOW DID YOU BEGIN WHOLESALE? ASIDE FROM US BOMBARDING YOU WITH REQUESTS TO DO WHOLESALE BECAUSE WE LOVE YOUR PRODUCT? 
Haha yes, TheSuperCool was our first wholesale account thanks to much nagging, but it was defiantly the persuasion we needed! We did our first trade-show 4 years ago which also really helped launched our brand into the marketplace. We have also been fortunate enough to attend trade shows in New York and London
 
AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR BUSINESS GROWTH, DID YOU REALISE YOU COULDN'T WORK PART TIME ON ALCHEMY ANYMORE WHILST DOING YOUR FULL TIME JOB IN FASHION?  AND WHEN DID TRISTAN JOIN THE BUSINESS FULL TIME?  
Alchemy Produx is now 6 years old, it was just over 4 years ago when I started working on it full time, I didn't make the plunge because of the work load or business growth, I actually work better when super busy! I chose to pursue Alchemy full time as I wasn't happy in my time job in fashion design. Working for your self is the most enjoyable and rewarding thing ever, and I wanted Tristan to enjoy the lifestyle that I had, so he eventually joined the team 2 years ago! As I mentioned before, I didn't grow up dreaming of being a candle maker, but running your own small business is the best job in the world. 
  
 
THERE HAS BEEN SUCH AN EXPLOSION OF CANDLE BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA IN THE LAST 2 YEARS. WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS TOO? 
Candle making is a fun hobby that any one can do at home, I guess this is why there has been a big rise in candle brands. There is actually a lot of "chemistry" involved in making the perfect candle, but with trial-error and some practise anyone can master this craft. 
 
YOU HAVE BEEN COPIED BY A BIG BRAND. HOW FRUSTRATING IS THIS AND WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Yes this is true, it is very frustrating and disappointing. There are many things you can do about it, having a good whinge is usually the first thing I do! We have gone down many paths, including legal action, but we have found the best approach is to put our emotions, money and time into just improving our own business. Somebody also once said to me "You should worry when people aren't copying you!"
WHAT 3 TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE SMALL BRANDS IN AUSTRALIA ABOUT BEGINNING A START UP?
1. Get a mentor; or 10... talking to other makers and small business owners was super important for me, I found it gave me the knowledge and confident to really expand Alchemy Produx. 
2. Be different; have your own identity and stick to it!
3. The power of social media; it is a VERY powerful marketing tool and so important for start-ups and established business.
 
YOU ARE CURRENTLY PREGNANT WITH YOUR FIRST CHILD. WHAT IS ON THE CARDS FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAND GIVEN YOU'LL BE BALANCING MOTHERHOOD AS WELL? 
We have been focusing on developing new products that don't require so much in-house production, we are widening our range of home fragrance to offer other products that we can just "pick-and-pack". Our candles are all hand poured to order, which is very labour intensive but also means we can oversee all quality control, with the new products we are focusing on more ready-to-go products.

The move towards Fairtrade & Handmade Homewares

By Kate Vandermeer
on July 19, 2017
With 0 comments

    

We've been in business for nearly six years and during this time we've seen lots of trends come and go but we've noticed one trend we hope is here to stay; the move towards knowing where and how your products are made. 

We've had both the customer asking questions and the brands promoting their goods origins more and more in the last 12 months in particular.  We're so impressed with how many brands are offering products that are fairtrade yet still at reasonable prices. 

We stock many brands that are handmade, fairtrade, ethically made, sustainable, recyclable or use organic ingredients/ fabrics. 

One such example is The Baba Tree baskets. These incredible baskets are not only works of art designed to infuse your home or space with character and colour but they are made lovingly by artisans in Ghana.  The Baba Tree is a company run by an Aussie expat and based in Ghana where they work with local artisans and photograph each finished piece with its creator. 

     

Not only are they paid fairly for their work, but they get to promote their craft. From tiny shoppers to baby moses baskets, drum baskets to laundry baskets - there is a basket for everyone in this range and they are so bright and colourful. The work that goes into each one is incredible. They are super sturdy and resilient. 

We are super proud to be stocking these SuperCool baskets. Come instore and check them out for yourself. 

  

We also stock a variety of other homewares we've listed their credentials below.

(so you can buy with confidence) 

Click on each brand to see their ranges we have in stock....

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Olli Ella baskets  (Fairtrade and Handmade) 

Fiona Walker Felt Wall Heads (Fairtrade and Handmade) 

Phoenix & The Fox Kids Clothing (Organic cotton & Ethically made)

Kapow Kids Clothing  (Ethically made)

Donsje leather kids accessories (Fairtrade and Handmade)

Carlie Ballard Baby Kids Clothing (Fairtrade)

Missa Made It Bibs (Handmade and Australian Made) Coming Soon.... 

Oomph & Floss Kids clothing (Fairtrade & organic cotton)

Trixie Kids Clothing (Organic cotton)

Alchemy Candles (Handmade and Australian Made)

Damselfly Candles (Handmade and Australian Made)

Fiona Loves (Handmade and Australian made) 

Langdon Ltd Textiles & Accessories (Handmade & ethically made)

Mr Kitly x Decor Self Watering Pots (Australian made) 

Solid State Solid Cologne (Australian made)

The Adventures of Co (Australian made and handmade)

AHD Paper Co (Australian made and handmade)

You, Me & Bones (Australian made and handmade)

Uashmama (Handmade) 

Spotlight: Billy Loves Audrey

By Kate Vandermeer
on July 16, 2017
With 0 comments

 

BRAND NAME:  Billy Loves Audrey

DESIGNER/FOUNDER:  Penny van Schaik is the founder. Designer is Fleur Harris

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS: 
Billy Loves Audrey is a new kid on the block, with one year under the belt.

DESCRIBE BILLY LOVES AUDREY IN 3 WORDS: 
Whimsical. Innocent. Adventurous

WHAT DROVE YOU TO START A KIDS ACCESSORY BRAND?
Billy Loves Audrey was one of those light bulb moments, after a few years
travelling. There was a gap in the market to return to childhood innocence, to
create a world of whimsy and fun, using woodland creatures in little accessories
starting with socks and hats, moving quickly on with the most adorable tights
and hair accessories.

 

HOW DID YOU COME TO COLLABORATE WITH ARTIST FLEUR HARRIS?
Serendipity was a large part of meeting Fleur Harris.  Incredibly I knew exactly the tone and look of the design style for Billy Loves Audrey, which Fleur has in spades. She had worked for a brand who I was associated with in a past life and “ping” once I discovered her talent that was it.

YOU HAVE GROWN YOUR BUSINESS WITH A BANG! TELL US HOW YOUR
INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION IS GOING WITH EXHIBITING AT PLAYTIME PARIS? 
Such an exciting brand to play with, and to see it grow at such an incredible rate
via word of mouth, social media has been such a joy.  Presenting at Playtime
Paris has been a wonderful experience resulting in Billy Loves Audrey now in the
Congo, Belgium, UK, France, The Netherlands, California and even Caribbean.
(We think there’s a store review to be done!)

THE KIDS CLOTHING/ACCESSORY MARKET HAS EXPLODED. WHAT DO YOU
PUT THIS DOWN TOO?
Kids Rule. Parents and Grandparents love to buy cute and adorable accessories
for their little ones and it doesn’t need to be big ticket items, it can be the pair of
socks for under $20 that will bring a smile to everyone’s face.



WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND?
Fashion and Retail Marketing in Melbourne with the likes of Country Road and
London features throughout my career, while more recently I was a co-owner of
a boutique homeware brand which we developed and sold in 2014.

TELL US WHAT'S NEXT? 
Currently writing this at Paris Airport on the way home, so next is to present the
new SS17 Collection in Melbourne with our agent Hello Rain.  Our new Hair Accessories “took off” in Paris and there’s no shortage of pink, sparkles and glitter. Midi length socks for Spring is a new addition to our sock range with a Ballet theme including Swan Lake, Dancer Cat, Panda, Deer and the ever favourite Bunny characters.

An great indication of its popularity is that most European stores are showing the new range for Christmas rather than waiting for the new SS18 season. We are working on an interesting new collaboration and developing Billy Loves Audrey woodland characters into animals with heart and soul. Always exciting and loads of fun.

Shop the current range of Billy Loves Audrey here....

Wanderlust: Our Travel Tips

By Kate Vandermeer
on July 13, 2017
With 0 comments

There is something incredibly satisfying, soul renewing and special about travel. We've noticed a massive movement of late towards people documenting their journey using social media. Some have made video's, some have published books, some have blogged but all are helping others live through them and joining them on their unique journey.

Some of our fave's are listed below.

Gypsea Lust - Lauren, Travel Blogger & Photographer, Australia

Lauren began documenting her journey; her travels to Turkey to stay in the caves and watch the balloon festival in Cappadocia are some of my favourites. She travels full time now with her partner and showcases incredible locations and imagery with a fashion edge.

One Year On a Bike - Martijn, Freelance Graphic Designer & Film-maker from Holland

Martijn travelled from Amsterdam to Singapore and over one year has documented the journey including supplies, gear, the people he met and the route he took. It's incredible and humbling.  You can watch his video here...

 

Captain & The Gypsy Kid,  Sheree and family, Blogger & Photographer, Australia

nostalgic and her super photogenic family have had several impressive trips around the globe. Some of our fave's are through Montana & Amangiri in the USA. 

 

1924us, Christian; Journeyman of Branding, Travelling, Writing & Film 

This guys instagram feed is next level. It's like straight out of a film. He just gets branding. We dig his stripped back photo's, his nostalgic spirit, his appreciation of yesteryear, the storytelling and the incredible travel destinations! 

Somewhere Slower, Courtney Adamo & Family - Blogger & Mama

We've followed this adorable family from London to Byron Bay. They sold everything and took a year off to travel with their young family.  Through North America, South America, New Zealand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Europe and finally settling in Byron Bay, this family of 7 (they recently had a new baby join their tribe) showcase the best possible education for a young family is travel, new experiences and seeing the world!  

WE'RE LOOKING FOR SUPERCOOL STAFF!

By Kate Vandermeer
on July 10, 2017
With 0 comments

1. ARE YOU SUPERCOOL MATERIAL?

If you answer yes to the below... then we're looking for you! 

1. Are you a people person who connects authentically in conversation?

2. Do you like working with SuperCool brands?

3. Are you results driven?

Then check out our multiple job descriptions below for RETAIL STAFF and see if you fit the bill.  We're looking for motivated, positive, SuperCool staff with swag to work with us in our flagship emporium in the South Melbourne Market. 

2. ASSISTANT RETAIL MANAGER

  • Minimum 2 years experience in Retail
  • Ability to manage staff
  • Available to work 3-4 shifts a week (must be available 1 or both weekend days)
  • Positive, friendly, happy demeanour
  • Ability to multi-task  (barcode stock, serve customers and manage staff at same time)
  • Budget focused
  • Ability to connect with customers in an authentic way
  • A desire to work with the SuperCool brands we stock and share their story with customers 
  • Some experience with visual merchandising
  • Have SuperCool personal style

Bonus (but not essential)

  • Understanding of Shopify e-commerce platform
  • Previous experience with adding product listings to e-commerce platforms
  • Gift wrapping experience

Your Role

  • Receive and barcode stock
  • Merchandise it on the floor
  • Manage staff breaks, staff zoning & customer traffic flow
  • Approach, chat with and serve customers
  • Educate staff about brands / products and their story
  • Achieve and exceed budgets provided
  • Gift Wrap
  • Open & Close store depending on the shift
  • Manage packing of online sales
  • Report to Business Owners weekly

3. CASUAL RETAIL SALES 

  • Minimum 1 year experience in Retail
  • Available to work 2-3 shifts a week (must be available 1 /both weekend days)
  • Positive, friendly, happy demeanour
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Budget focused
  • Ability to connect with customers in an authentic way
  • A desire to work with the SuperCool brands we stock and share their story with customers 
  • Have SuperCool personal style

Bonus (but not essential)

  • Understanding of Shopify e-commerce platform
  • Previous experience with adding product listings to e-commerce platforms
  • Gift wrapping experience

Your Role

  • Receive and barcode stock
  • Merchandise it on the floor
  • Approach, chat with and serve customers
  • Achieve and exceed budgets provided
  • Gift Wrap
  • Open & Close store depending on the shift

4. HOW TO APPLY

1. Read the job description above

2. Email hey (at) thesupercool.com ASAP (we are looking for staff NOW) with the below...

a. Up to date Resume  

b. A bit about yourself, what you like, hobbies, random facts, fave brands, anything of relevance.... 

c. A link to your social media - instagram or facebook etc

3. Wait patiently whilst we read all applicants. We will be in touch whether you are successful or not to reach interview stage.

4. After an interview in person, if successful, you'll have a trial in store.

5. If the trial/s are successful, you'll become part of our team! Woot Woot! 

GOOD LUCK. Applications close Sunday 6 August 2017. 

 

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