Category Archives: fly the coop

La Luna Rose

An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio HomeRosie Shelton and I first met through mutual friends in Auckland. I vividly remember the sparky, tanned little human glowing in a white dress and a vibrant, beaded statement necklace …. she was a breath of fresh air in the sea of black on Ponsonby Road! We chatted a lot that night about her jewellery brand La Luna Rose and continued that chat over months before suddenly (it felt like suddenly!) we were face to face again but this time in her Bali villa!

Over the 3 weeks I was knocking around in Canggu I spent a lot of time with Rosie, gaining an insight into her La Luna Rose world. There was plenty of sunshine, amazing food, scooter adventures (not for the faint hearted!), sunset drinks and did I mention the food? But contrary to belief and the level of distraction, there was a hell of a lot of work being done too. Still “on the clock” myself, I would often scoot over to the La Luna / Salt Gypsy HQ, assume position on a sofa, give Squeak the cat a couple of squeezes then get down to the nitty gritty of daily business. Sure everyone powering their own enterprise has a greater incentive to put in the hours but what I saw over that time were a collection of people grabbing the opportunity they had created with both hands and throwing themselves in with a level of gusto that was new to me!

On one particular day, I put my scooting skills to the test and followed Rosie on her emerald green Vespa way way wayyyy across Denpasar to visit her silversmiths. Her lipstick pink helmet was like my shining beacon in the chaos and there was NO way I was losing sight of it!
I loitered around watching her jewellery being bought to life while Rosie met with her team to discuss orders and some new samples. Following this she was off to another corner of the sprawling city to sit down with her beading artisans while I opted to retrace my route and zip back to the relative calm of Canggu.
She strapped on her helmet, gunned her scooter to life and whipped out the gates like any young woman on a mission to boost her business should! I remember thinking at the time how outrageously different her life looked at this moment compared to just even 5 years earlier as a young school leaver in Christchurch, NZ. To be honest – I kind of raised an eyebrow at my own unexpected life moment as I pretty much held my breath for 45 minutes back through traffic mayhem!

I’ve since spent a lot of time with the young La Luna Rose in both Auckland and Christchurch before she headed back on over to work on her next gorgeous collection. She is unwavering in her focus on producing quality jewellery for the zesty, colour loving girls out there and I cannot wait to see what she has been simmering up ready for September!

Rosie has shared an awesome insight into the beginnings of her brand and life in Bali below.

An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio HomeAn interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio HomeAn interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home An interview with Rosie Shelton of La Luna Rose jewellery // Bali 2014 // photography by Julia Atkinson fro Studio Home

Where were you and what stage in your life were you at when the seed for your business first sprouted in your brain ?

I was living and working in Torquay (just south of Melbourne) for a global surf company in the Men’s Design department, semi-actively seeking my next challenge. I was open to anything really as I loved working there but there was limited career progression. As a true believer in that everything happens for a reason and post putting these ‘vibes’ out into the atmosphere, things started snowballing into action! I went back to New Zealand for Christmas and was completely motivated and inspired by all the awesome talent coming out of there. I had also recently been on a game show (!) and won some money with my best friend and we promised that we would get ourselves some jewellery as a memory of the (totally random!) experience.
That began the search for something that I couldn’t find – a ring that was good quality sterling silver but mixed with something bright, some colour! I didn’t want crystals or semi precious stones and then I just thought BAM!!, there is a market here and this gap needs to be filled…
I headed straight back to our holiday house we were staying in and started sketching my designs and ideas. And then it began….

What was it about Bali that attracted you to its shore’s to follow your dream ? 

During my time working for the surf company I had begun surfing which I completely fell in love with. In fact many lunchtimes we were basically booted out of the office to go and get in the ocean! With that said, I was adamant my next step was not going to take me away from the beach! The previous year I had been on holiday to Bali with a couple of girlfriends and we all fell in love with the place. The people, the culture, food, energy, beaches and general island vibes. I was also blown away with insane amount of craftsmanship here on the island and the creativity all around. From stone carvings, to beautifully carved wooden doors, to their tiling, paintings and silversmith work. In Bali you are constantly surrounded by the creative energy of the locals and it can’t help but feed back into your own creative flow, so it seemed like a no-brainer next step to start up La Luna Rose based there! (Not to mention my love of travel and Bali’s location to explore the rest of Asia from!)

Of course there is no such thing as a typical work week but what would some of the tasks, jobs, activities be that you might experience over a week ?

Running a business out of Bali, a developing country, throws a few more curve balls into a general day than when I am based back in NZ or Australia. Therefore, a ‘typical day’ is not a sentence that I think I would ever hear someone mention here in Bali as everything is so scrambled and always very different!
One day you will have the best day of your life and things going smoothly with suppliers, catching up with friends in the sunshine, a great yoga class and finishing the day with an epic sunset….and then the next day could contain all the same activities only the yoga class was cancelled, your supplier didn’t show up just because, your food took 2 hours to arrive at lunch when you had a million other places to be, the power is out for 12 hours in your area and the closest internet is a 30 minute scoot ride away. Oh and throw in some torrential rain….
But obviously the good outweighs the bad of course – its just a constant up/down battle that you have to learn to find the medium pulse in the middle !

Generally I wake up and do some exercise to set the mind in a good headspace for the day, post on social media and I am at my computer by 9am. This can entail anything form doing accounts, marketing strategies, sales to stores, organizing any orders I have received the night before, planning the next week/month in advance, researching and organizing photoshoots, researching new pathways and working on new collaborations. Then in the afternoon I will go and visit suppliers or pick up stock, organize packaging/orders, organize FEDEX for the day (a seriously time-consuming process!) jump on social media, general household admin and its almost time for a sunset coconut!
I design my new ranges for about 6 weeks of the year, so when that time comes around, all the other stuff gets put on the back burner…which is nice 😉

If you could share some advice with anyone else looking to kickstart their own small business what would it be…?

Talk!
Talk to people, network with others who have already done it, meet up with people you look up to, research everything and anyone and then just DO IT! If you have the determination and passion for it, it won’t fail. There will be cross roads and hardships but nothing that you can’t get through if you have the strength to push on and not let others get you down!
That and be prepared to be poor.
For a number of years.
Building your own empire (unless you have large financial backing) is hard slog and no matter what you think it will cost you, triple it! Or do as I have done and lived off $2 warung meals most days for the past 2 years! I am not complaining at all, just be prepared!

Some secret, off the beaten track spots in Bali that you love and why

Just go and get lost!
The coolest things I have come across have been in random little villages on my travels around the island, which I can’t even tell you where because I don’t even know! Bali is getting very populated with tourism in many main spots but if you just get on a scooter or hire a car and drive North/West I promise you wont be disappointed! For those less inclined for that… I love Geger beach at low tide for a beautiful cave-like golden sand dip (that’s where our ‘Sticks and Stones’ range was shot!) and also the cute Ashram up in Candi Dasa. Situated right on the beach, yoga twice a day and delicious vegetarian meals included! Mmmm, I’m hungry thinking about that place.

La Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Sophia Chan Andreassand // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down UnderLa Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Gabi Mulder // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down Under La Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Sophia Chan Andreassand // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down Under La Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Gabi Mulder // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down UnderLa Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Gabi Mulder // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down Under La Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Sophia Chan Andreassand // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down Under La Luna Rose jewellery // available online // Photography by  Gabi Mulder // as featiured on Studio Home : Creative Talent from the Lands Down UnderImagery courtesy of La Luna Rose
Flat lays by Sophie Chan Andreassend
Campaign shots by Gabi Mulder
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WHAT I LEARNT FROM ROSIE SHELTON:

If you are going to give your dream a good go – then commit to giving it 110% of your time, energy, assets and brainpower.
Don’t let it slide away just because you haven’t been strategic or brave enough.

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Read more of our Fly the Coop : Bali series here.

Check out Bali Under the Radar here.

Posted in emerging designer, fly the coop, jewellery, new zealand | 1 Comment

Salt Gypsy

Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

Danielle Clayton is a kiwi girl who spotted, then filled the gap for a female focused surf blog providing a spotlight on independent surf brands for girls that rip! Since her launch in 2011 she has inadvertently found herself running a thriving indie label herself, harbouring a work ethic you would relate to someone executing their life long business dreams!

Danny has this terrific energy around her – you know, one of those people that you hope you might be able to rein into your circle of friends!
Over my 3 weeks in Bali we swapped many stories about our own weaving paths that led us to businesses that weren’t even close to being on our radar when we left school (or in Danny’s case – post a design degree!). But what really caught my attention was her very real business and strategy focused curiosity. She had buckets of it and as much to share in return!
This might sound dry (trust me the convo was far from it) but when you are absorbed up to your eyeballs in an enterprise that you have long since passed the point of no return … you rightfully should become super interested in the ideas and practice of others!
I learnt a lot from Danny (and the rest of her Canggu based “Fresh Folk” expat crew who included La Luna Rose, Indosole, Rue Stiic, Seawolf, BNVVT among just a few ) and it was all about sharing opinions, networks, knowledge and skills making for what I can only call their own little Bali incubator! Yes, I took home some actual tips on organising my inbox, email templates and a ton about the challenges of production in Bali but ultimately I walked away with an entirely new attitude on the sharing and movement of knowledge. That being open and transparent on everything (as bloody scary that can be!) actually empowers a business and industry.

You may scoff but this was learnt from a girl who created a brand as a direct result of her OWN surfing needs, grew from made-to-order operating on an empty bank account to being directly copied by one of the biggest surf brands in the world (and watched them back down after such a public backlash in her favour!) AND be courted to now produce exclusive lines for Urban Outfitters.
Not bad for a waterbaby from Auckland with a heart condition, the humblest of attitudes, widest of smiles and savviest of brains to shape her business exactly how she wants it to be.

Danny shares some golden insights in her Q+A below – I highly recommend taking some time to read it and click on through to explore the female online surf mecca that is Salt Gypsy!

Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomeDanielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home Danielle Clayton - Salt Gypsy // photographed in Bali by Julia Atkinson for Studio HomePhotography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
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Where were you and what stage in your life were you at when the seed for your business first sprouted in your brain ?

I began a personal blog, Salt Gypsy, in 2012 which was my third year living and working as a surf guide in the Maldives. I wanted to create a platform that had two main goals:

1) to showcase women’s indie surf labels who made slick surf gear (rash guards, surf bikinis etc) that me and my friends wanted to wear in the surf (as opposed to the stale status quo of the global mainstream brands at that time)

2) to connect with like-minded female surfers around the world and share their story of how they live their surf-centric lifestyles.

Halfway through that year, I had some lycra leggings made for myself to wear in the surf and cover up from the sun. Simply put – there was nothing on the market that either suited my taste or was within my surf guide budget. In fact, there were only two surf companies that had 1 product each categorised as a surf legging and neither had any marketing behind their products.

In July of 2012, after testing my samples in the surf for a month and blogging the images we were shooting, there were 2 boat loads of female surfers hanging around the same region I was in. Of course, everyone was getting fried by the sun in their bikinis within the first couple of days.What really planted the seed was a comment from one of the girls in the surf: “If you had stock on board you’d be sold out – we’re all sunburnt!”

Exactly.

A couple of months later, through my blog and Facebook page, I generated about 20 orders for customised surf leggings. I was paid upfront, made my way to Bali, had the designs made, shipped them out a month later and voila – here I am today as a fully self-funded indie start up exporting surf leggings predominantly to the US, but also Dubai, UK, Australia, and Japan. I’m pretty stoked (though a little burnt out!) considering this time two years ago I was literally broke and stuck in Bali (long story 😉 without enough money to afford a flight home.

There is nothing like not knowing how you are going to pay next month’s rent, or feed yourself – to light a fire under your ass, think outside the box, and HUSTLE.
What was it about Bali that attracted you to its shore’s to follow your dream ?

My first surf trip to Bali in 2006 surprised me – it wasn’t so much the waves that captured my attention (though they were epic) – it was the energy of the place. It felt like anything was possible and, as a maker of things, the inspiration and accessibility to create and make tangible products here really blew me away.

Fast forward several years and being personally in the market for some surf leggings, I was able to have a couple of sample pairs made in Bali to my design and the rest is history. Boutique manufacturing (though not smooth sailing at the best of times!) is definitely the advantage to producing in Bali and I would not have been able to get myself (almost literally) off the ground with zero capital and have the indie label I have today, were it not for the ease of bespoke production and low minimums.
That, and the waves are pretty sick.
And it’s warm!

These days, there is a great creative hub in the area of Canggu where we live. I have met some really awesome, talented and driven humans in the same boat as me which is so reassuring when you have, “When are you coming home and getting a real job?” echoing across the oceans.

Of course there is no such thing as a typical work week but what would some of the tasks, jobs, activities be that you might experience over a week ?

Managing production sucks up the majority of my time! I started selling bespoke surf leggings with everything made-to-order then suddenly found myself with a growing wholesale business as the Salt Gypsy brand has evolved from my personal blog to a full-blown indie surf wear label. So the transition from selling direct to online customers, to creating a range and selling wholesale has been a long work-in-progress for me as I chip away at building capital through my sales. I visit my boutique production teams up to several times a week and organise the packing & shipping of all wholesale and direct online orders.

Currently, I design everything (swing tags, care labels, product line, POS, lookbooks etc), do all my own social media marketing, organise photoshoots, pay bills, invoice accounts, surf test new gear, product development, meeting up with crew in Bali (networking !)
I wear all the hats and each week continues to be pretty hectic! Aside from managing the production in person, everything else I do is manageable online so now I can be on the boat visiting my fiancé in the Maldives and doing some product R & D and still have things ticking over. All of which is pretty rad!

If you could share some advice with anyone else looking to kickstart their own small business what would it be…?

Be authentic.
Be prepared to work your ass off.
The pace is relentless and you have to be tenacious.
And importantly – you must really know what value you are offering to the world. What differentiates you from the competition? I mean, seriously, there really is so much stuff in this world.
Tell your story, do it well, and always think outside the box.
Be of service to your customers/audience.
Focus on the product.
Read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

And in the words of Robert Collis:
“Work with legends and don’t get drained by the kooks.”
That’s been my mantra for the month.

Some secret, off the beaten track spots in Bali that you love and why

The beach between Padang Padang and Uluwatu. No-one there, it’s gold 😉

Danielle Clayton of Salt Gypsy by  Carly BrownDanielle Clayton by Carly Brown
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Danielle Clayton of Salt Gypsy by  Carly Brown Danielle Clayton of Salt Gypsy by  Carly Brown Salty sea maidens wear Salt Gypsy // photo by Carlos Ehlert on a female surf trip on Carpe Diem in Indonesia: http://saltgypsy.com/2014/10/04/east-indonesia-boat-trip/ Salty sea maidens wear Salt Gypsy
Photo by Carlos Ehlert on a female surf trip on Carpe Diem in Indonesia
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Danielle Clayton of Salt Gypsy by  Richard Kotch

Danielle Clayton by Richard Kotch
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Danielle Clayton of Salt Gypsy by  Richard Kotch Danielle Clayton by Richard Kotch
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Female surfers in the Mentawais wearing Salt Gypsy by  Richard Kotch salt_gypsy-36Jessica Rosheen x Salt Gypsy collaboration
Photography : Will Hartl
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Flavia Eberhard wearing Salt Gypsy by Pepe ArcosFreediver : Flavia Eberhard
Photography : Pepe Arcos
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WHAT I LEARNT FROM DANIELLE CLAYTON:

A passion really can become a business, but be prepared for things to change from IT nourishing you to YOU nourishing it.

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Check out more Bali based businesses and our off the beaten guide to Bali here. 

Posted in emerging designer, fashion, fly the coop, new zealand | 4 Comments

SUKU HOME

SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home.

It was one of my favourite days of my 3 week trip to Bali when Christine Lafian scooped me up and proceeded to give me an incredible peek behind the scenes of not only the manufacturing process of her brand SUKU Home, but also the life of her Indonesian family and friends.

With one foot in Melbourne and the other in Bali, Chrissy has spent much time relentlessly researching and building partnerships with skilled makers in her homeland to bring to life the dreamy style of homeware that reflects her own aesthetic. She has the ability to design and curate a collection that is bang on in terms of current popular style and vibe but brings a super super fresh angle to a market that is bulging with options! I feel lucky to have met SUKU in its youth, as I see only great things for its future with Chrissy at the helm!

Armed with a van vs. the immense (and intense!) scooter population, we negotiated narrow “gangs” (alleys) and bustling streets to visit some of SUKU’s valued team.
First up was the family owned business that use traditional batik dying methods to transform silky bamboo rayon into the highly recognisable SUKU fabric finishes.
As I learnt very quickly on visiting many workshops and small factories in Bali –  places of manufacture so near the equator have much work happening outdoors in yards or very basic buildings. A totally different environment to what you would find down under but nonetheless run by skilled and successful business owners and makers.

This was a beautiful and fascinating process! The colours were rich and the witnessing the deft skill of the dyers creating the SUKU “look” by hand was super interesting and a lesson in their knowledge of their artform.
After a delish lunch with family and friends we then headed to the factory to check out the finishing of the SUKU bedlinen. There was a lively, bustling atmosphere there with a large team of sewers, expert ironers and folders – these are the last hands that prepare the products before they arrive at homes around the the world.

Before setting off for a quick trip with friends to explore Ubud, we stopped back in at Chrissy’s Bali base, the home of her grandmother, a savvy local businesswoman. This was another side of Bali I felt so lucky to see – a beautiful large home filled to the brim with family and co-workers all involved in the business.

Chrissy’s life in Bali, while a tad more exotic to look at than most, really was no different to the day to day of most small and ambitious brands I come across. She is entirely hands on in the management and shape of SUKU, choosing and forming relationships with her makers, sourcing further artisan products to compliment and bringing these handmade products to a modern, savvy and largely internet based market.

I could have spent a week with this sunny soul and still not have had enough!!

Take some time to explore our day together in the imagery below, Chrissy’s own thoughts on her brand SUKU and the latest imagery from her collection.

SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home.SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. SUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. 090514_241 copySUKU HOME - an interview and feature with designer Christina Lafian and her makers based in Bali // Shop Suku Home online // photographs and words by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home. 090514_233 copy

Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home

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Where were you and what stage in your life were you at, when the seed for your business first sprouted in your brain ?

That one summer when I first moved into my own place and had my own decent income. I was so excited to put together my room but couldn’t find a good bedding for it ! So I though, why not start my own homeware brand.

What was it about Bali that attracted you to its shore’s to follow your dream ?

I was born in Indonesia and it seemed the natural thing to go back to where I came from to start this great venture. I wanted to work and support the local community. Bali is not just a pretty face, when you get to know it, there’s so much hidden talent here.

Of course there is no such thing as a typical work week but what would some of the tasks, jobs, activities be that you might experience over a week ?

A  working week for SUKU may consist of flying to Bali, meeting with a few local batik craftsmen (this is what we call our print makers, they work mostly with dye and wax), get stuck in traffic, spend time in the studio (where all magic happens), get stuck in traffic again, have coffee in between, catch up with friends, swim, read book, then back to meetings and studio sessions all over again.

It’s normally a very packed schedule. It’s not easy trying to do work in a tropical climate environment when the beach is calling!

If you could share some advice with anyone else looking to kickstart their own small business what would it be…?

Work and learn from a similar minded brand before you start your own brand. You can even start your business using the savings from your day job – or working at both at the same time. A lot of people these days mistakenly jump into a new business without any prior knowledge of how to build a brand because they think the creative bits is all you need!
Wrong.
You need a viable way to sell your product to justify your idea. So that’s when business skills come in handy. Unless you have some extra savings to pay for a sales agent, you need to learn all the business side of things yourself. And remember not to rush into things, take  ‘baby steps’ – because all good things take time!

Some secret, off the beaten track spots in Bali that you love ?

Nung Nung waterfall, secretly hidden up the mountains but it’s my fave waterfall in Bali surrounded with this lush green forest.

SUKU HOME : Lucidity Collection // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio Home SUKU HOME : Lucidity Collection // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME : Lucidity Collection // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME : Lucidity Collection // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME : Lucidity Collection // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME  // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME  // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME  // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME  // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio HomeSUKU HOME  // available online // Photography by Charlie Brophy // as featured on Studio Home

Imagery courtesy of SUKU Home
Photography by Charlie Brophy
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WHAT I LEARNT FROM CHRISSY LAFIAN:

You can be ambitious, innovative and business savvy while still being friendly, smiley and relateable!

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Revisit the highlights of my Bali trip here.

Posted in australia, emerging designer, fly the coop, for the home | Comments Off on SUKU HOME

Bon Vivant

Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014

For the majority of my 3 weeks in Bali, I was kindly given residence at “Villa a la Bon Vivant” – the airy HQ of Stuart Musgrave and his leather accessories brand; BNVVT. 
Being a newbie to tropical Indonesia, waking up to this white-washed, open living house with a pool practically in the kitchen and terraced rice fields over the back fence was downright exotic!
I had been following Stu and BNVVT for about a year and while I am sure he appreciated the posts, he was certainly wasn’t obliged to put me up, arrange a scooter for me, scoot me around to various sunset drink spots and keep me safe, fed, watered and entertained!!
After leaving behind a career in finance, travelling, some soul searching and recognising an empty niche, Stu has channeled his personal aesthetic into a growing collection of hardy, beautiful, functional AND affordable leather bags, accessories and now shoes. Bon Vivant: [French] literally, “one who lives well” is aimed at like minded souls keen on some adventure with a bit of style!

On one particular day I was lucky to be his passenger, headed inland for about an hour from his Canggu base to visit some of his makers. Hanging off the back of a scooter is a sure fire way to feel directly connected to Bali and its swirling mix of life/living, work/working and spirituality.
I was warmly welcomed by the team of 4 men based in a studio attached to the owner’s family home. They worked swiftly and with deliberate skill when it came to the measuring, cutting, embossing then construction of the leather BNVVT backpacks. Conversation was light and joking, made easier by Stu, who holds a good grasp of the Indonesian language. This was creating “by hand” in the truest sense of the word and while the workshop could have done with a sweep, the vibe and outcome was the same as any skilled leather craftsman in a shared space the world over.

During the rest of my stay I watched Stu come and go from visiting his carefully selected crew of makers and suppliers. They would in turn drop by with completed orders which would then be bounced out the gate again with the friendly, chatty postie who visited regularly.
Life was the see-sawing balance of managing and growing his business while making the most of his special location, being part of a community (both local and expat) and remaining diligent and focused when the situation called for it.
For many I think it’s hard to imagine living the dream on a tropical island AND still sitting in front of that screen answering emails, shipping orders, social media cultivation, engaging influencers, media mentions, making sales! ….the same day by day requirements of any small business. In fact if anything – it requires a WHOLE lot more dedication!

Stu has kindly answered some questions in depth below. I’d love you to take the time to check out my snaps of his Bali life, his story and ideas on business and the awesome latest editions to the BNVVT collection!
Those shoes!!

Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014
Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014bnvt Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014 Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home // Bali 2014

Where were you and what stage in your life were you at when the seed for your business first sprouted in your brain ?

I was 27, had recently finished working in Financial Advice and was looking to change things up so set off for six months travel and discovery, meeting up with friends along the way. Whilst I was visiting my brother and sister in London during the 2012 Olympics a friend of his had recommended I read the “4 hour work week by Tim Ferriss”. I had heard of it before however never got round to it, and seeing as I was spending lots of time on trains planes and buses thought it would be best to give it a try! The ideas and advice resonated with me and I started jotting down different things that I could do as an alternative to my previous path.
As part of my initial plan I had decided on Bali to be the place I wanted to spend a month mapping out my next moves. While I had been travelling I noticed there weren’t too many affordable products that catered to my desire for quality, simplicity,and timeless style. I had purchased a beautiful leather bag that had been made in Morrocco several years earlier that had gone everywhere with me including on this trip and I was always complimented on it – this got me thinking that potentially an opportunity existed for something in this space.

As part of my beach based contemplation and good fortune, the host who I had first stayed with when I came to Bali had a connection to a leather worker in Ubud and I decided to get some samples made. I was very happy with his work and what had come of it and decided to plunge head first into things.

What was it about Bali that attracted you to its shore’s to follow your dream ?

When I was travelling I was initially tossing up between trying to base myself in Berlin, NYC or Bali. However once I had decided to pursue Bon Vivant, Bali was the obvious choice.
For me right now, Bali is the perfect mix. Big enough and eclectic enough to have amazing food, architecture and things to do, as well as a whole hive of creative people to feed off. However it also has the nature, sunshine and waves to further my very basic surf skills.

More than all these things, is the people! Bali and Indonesia are brimming with amazingly talented people! Especially in handcrafts and traditional trades, things are still done the old way, by hand. I am continually amazed at what people are able to achieve with the simplest of tools and the quality supplies. It definitely isn’t what people imagine when you say you live in Bali but the quality of life is pretty amazing and that is a major reason and founding principles behind Bon Vivant.

Living in Bali is a riddle, things are never as they seem, and I don’t think I wil ever quite get to the bottom of it!

Of course there is no such thing as a typical work week but what would some of the tasks, jobs, activities be that you might experience over a week ?

It is definitely one of the challenges and advantages of basing yourself out of Bali is that there really isn’t a typical week, it really depends on what stage of things you are at as to what needs doing. For example, during a period of sapling or production there is a huge amount of time spent on the bike visiting different suppliers, sourcing bits and bobs and running them to the workshop. If the production is under control it is a lot of time staring at the laptop.
I like to start my day getting in the ocean as I find this leads to the most productive and focused of work days and I usually like to take a bit of time for lunch away from the screen to defrag a little. I usually like to end the day having dinner with friends.

If you could share some advice with anyone else looking to kickstart their own small business what would it be…?

Nothing that I do is all that unique or special – anyone can follow their dreams!
Probably the most important thing I did was made a decision to try!
Carpe Diem, Nothing ventured Nothing Gained etc etc.

In terms of practical advice, everything takes longer than you anticipate! Everything and especially here! What I am still learning is that there are some things that you learn best through doing and others that it is important to understand the fundamentals first THEN outsource to someone who either has greater knowledge skill or interest in that particular area. One of the most coolest things for me is knowing that I am making decisions about my life, I love seeking counsel, asking advice but at the end of the day, right or wrong, it is my decision and there is something rewarding in that.

Some secret, off the beaten track spots in Bali that you love and why?

Bali has so many different sides and faces, one of my favourite things to do is to go exploring, never been down that street before wonder where it leads. Sometimes it’s a beautiful vista, sometimes a insight to life as it’s been for thousands of years. My two favourite times of the day are sunrise and sunset. In the morning the light has this pastel effect and you can see the Indonesian people going about their business unfettered. In the afternoon watching the sunset from the beach with a cold beer or a young coconut seeing if the sun will kiss the ocean is a great way to finish the day.

Stuart Musgrave of BNVVT - interviewed and photographed by Todd Geasland // Bali 2014 // as featured on Studio Home : Fly the Coop seriesPhoto of Stu by Todd Geasland
……
BNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio HomeBNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio HomeBNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio Home BNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio HomeBNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio HomeBNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio Home BNVVT - Bon Vivant // leather goods and shoes // available online, shipping worldwide // as featured on Studio HomeShoes and bags by BNVVT
…….

WHAT I LEARNT FROM STU MUSGRAVE:

Cultivate patience.
It comes in handy in every aspect of your life and business, allowing you to dodge frustration and meet your own expectations in a realistic time frame!

Revisit the highlights of my Bali trip here.

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Sue Paul – Gold Coast

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul is a long way removed from her Invercargill roots. An orginal U-shaped 70’s home in the warm suburbs of Queenslands; Palm Beach seems worlds away from the deep south of NZ. The morning I arrived for a visit I was virtually sweating from my eyeballs until I stepped inside the cool air conditioned interior of her home. This would take some getting used to!

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeAlong with partner Robbie, Sue first arrived in southern Queensland in 1996 in search of the balmy surfers lifestyle. For a few years they skipped between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, chasing work opportunities before a move to the Currumbin Valley in the Gold Coast hinterland in 2000. It was 2003 when they finally put their roots down in the seaside suburbs of Palm Beach.  Recently they lucked out in getting their hands on one of the extremely sort after original 70’s homes of the area and are respectfully renovating it to reflect the awesome retro glam of its era. U-Shaped housing …definitely the way of the future!

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio Home

Despite being a creative soul since childhood and now fully immersed in her own project, Sue – like most of us, took some time to realise her passion. She has studied across law, graphic design and has a degree in Zoology while her work history spans from being a travel agent to accounts administration. She held her most recent full time role from 2000 -2010 as part of the accounts department at Morrison Media (the publishers of Frankie and Smith Journal).

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio Home

In 2009 she could no longer ignore the itch to get creating. It was a random visit to a local op shop that essentially opened the doors on what is now her own small business. She took home a boxy leather jacket, picked not for its cut but the beautiful softness and quality of the material. It received some serious treatment from a pair of scissors and a sewing machine and was reborn as a supple and roomy handbag. The bag was a hit in the Morrison Media staff room and it wasn’t long before Sue found herself scouring secondhand stores to fill bag orders from her workmates and friends.

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio Home

Her small domestic sewing machine died a quick (and to be expected) death tackling the thick leathers so she bit the bullet and bought herself an industrial model – immediately reaping the rewards with a faster and easier turnaround of construction. Despite having always been a sewer, she began to feel frustrated and limited at her lack of pattern-making skills. While the bags were an unexpected project, she was enjoying the challenge so much that it was time for some serious decisions and a rejig of priorities needed to be made.

She initially took long service leave from Morrison Media and enrolled in Fashion Design  at TAFE. This became all consuming and led to her total resignation so she could fully meet the demands of the 18 month intensive course. During that time she also launched her Etsy store and continued to sell her bags…now to a global customer base.

Sue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio HomeSue Paul - Studio Home

In September 2012 Sue completed her training and has spent much time researching the future of her brand. Currently selling under the name onceworn twiceloved – following my visit she has been working through a re-branding process, developing and positioning products, and launching a website and online store. In short, she is transforming her hobby into a business and I have no doubt that she has the wheels and grit to give it momentum.

Sue Paul - Studio Home

 All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
 

WHAT I LEARNT FROM SUE:
Passion is the fire starter but if you don’t have the right tools or the skills – you need to make the effort to go and get the best ones.

Fly the Coop: Brisbane + Gold Coast was made possible by the support of Mondegreen.  
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Sue Davis- Mt Tamborine

Sue Davis - Studio Home

My visit to Kitty’s Vintage Kitsch + The Shop Time Forgot was purely coincidental.  My sister’s little cottage was just 100 metres down the road and on that particular day of my trip we had decided to stay local on Mt Tamborine. Thunderstorms were once again creeping in by the time we had finished up at a farmers market, and I was just about to pull the pin on any more adventuring – but she insisted that we stop in at just one last place which was her favourite second hand store …well…in the world!

There was SO much to see as we threaded our way between the rooms of the old house, filled to the hilt with rare collections of immaculately restored furniture, homewares and clothing. It wasn’t until we got chatting to the woman behind the counter that we realised she was also a New Zealander! We had stumbled across Sue Davis and I hoped, a willing inclusion to my Fly the Coop feature! (Willing but a little shy so you won’t spot her in the photos)

Sue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeAt 26 years old Sue left her native Hamilton for the Gold Coast where she continued her work in the horse racing industry as a bloodstock consultant. The region became her home and despite regular trips back to NZ to visit family, she has now lived in Australia for 24 years – even inheriting a little of the accent…

Over the years she cultivated her love for art deco and retro finds to the point that she began sourcing, restoring and then selling on eBay. Moving from the coast up to the lush “mountain” (as in high, amazing, rainforest plateau rather than sharp peaks and snow!) 15 years ago, she had struck up a friendship with another local eBay trader; Celia Bonica who specialised in vintage fashion.

Sue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeThen in 2011 an opportunity rose its head. An established store premises on a great main route became available and was offered to Sue. Decisions needed to be made almost immediately, so she brainstormed with Celia and they decided that they would take it on together. In 6 months they were able to amass enough quality stock to open their MOST amazing emporium!

Sue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeBy combining their specific but in-depth knowledge of their respective era’s, the women were able to, and continue to curate a collection of real quality.  But this is no easy task! Sue explained that buying missions often meant 2-3 am starts with a great deal of travel often resulting in them returning with just a few items. Much time is spent cleaning and restoring their finds to their former glory which in a way gives their store an almost museum like quality. Something that can be a problem when visitors spend the whole time trying to take photos!

Sue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio Home

The women have also developed an enviable grasp of social media. When I visited over Easter this year they had 3895 Facebook followers. Today they have 5881. Their page has become an international virtual meeting spot for all vintage & retro lovers. They maintain a fantastic level of engagement which has resulted in them shipping product all over the world. For their non-cyber audience they have hosted vintage shopping tours, authentic hair and make up instructional days in store and are super active in the regional vintage fairs and events.

And as if I hadn’t thought I’d struck it lucky finding the shop! – Sue then took me for a quick visit to her house where I shot the pics below in her kitchen. She is living her dream in every way possible!

Sue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio HomeSue Davis - Studio Home

WHAT I LEARNT FROM SUE:
A passion taken seriously can really become a business.
What you don’t know, simply get out there and make it your business to learn.

Fly the Coop: Brisbane + Gold Coast was made possible by the support of Mondegreen. 

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Posted in australia, fly the coop, new zealand, shops | 1 Comment