Design

This Is What 24hrs Looks Like In The Life Of A Dildo Designer

How many people can say they play with sex toys during their morning meetings? 

January 25, 2017

6 Small Balcony Design Ideas

A small balcony attached onto an apartment or terrace is a great way to bring the party outdoors. With the luxury of light, fresh air and of course the views, decorate this charming outdoor space with a few of our essential design ideas.

RELATED: 5 Interior Design Tips For Winter

Pot plants

Fill the space with fresh pot plants, flowers and herbs (if you’re lucky enough to have the sun shining). If you’re not working with much space, simply place them over the table or on the balcony itself.

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Fairy lights

Adorn the space with fairy lights to make it feel more rustic and homely. If there’s no power point available outside, use an extension cord to easily tether the electricity from inside.

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Patio lounge

A waterproof lounge is a great way to maximise on space and hold a few parties of your own while the weather is warm.

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Candles

A few candles are ideal if your party runs into the evening and the lights are just too bright to turn on. Keep your tea lights in a lantern to keep them burning for longer.

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Rugs

Invest in a dark, waterproof rug which is non-slip for your patio or outdoor area. It will also keep water from entering the bottom of the door into the house.

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Herb planters

To fill up some space on an empty wall, make your own herb planter and position it in a bit of sunlight. This might change depending on the seasons, but it’s a great DIY project to work on!

Small Balcony Design Ideas

Images via Issuu, BluLabel Bungalow, House Beautiful, Flickr, Apartment Therapy, Elle Decor

July 1, 2015

A Day In The Life Of… Sara Caverley

Ever wanted to step into somebody else’s shoes for the day and see what life is like as a magazine editor, a professional sportsperson or corporate high-flyer..? Well, SHESAID is giving you the closest thing to your very own Freaky Friday experience with our A Day In The Life Of… series.

Sara Caverley, director and designer of Sol Sana Shoes

6am: Having just gotten back from a design and sourcing trip in the USA and Europe I am struggling with major jetlag so I get up and head to a Pilates class. I find that getting the brain and body engaged early helps me stay focused throughout the day.

7am: As a designer deciding what you are going to wear is the last thing you want to think about. I am all about simplicity with a textual twist. Today’s outfit is a Helmut Lang skirt and oversized chunky knit with the Sol Sana Bobbie boot. I keep my beauty regime minimal with tinted moisturizer, a touch of mascara and a splash of Botanica by Balenciaga. Breakfast is essential for me, this morning it is a piece of toast as I’m running out the door.

8am: I need coffee stat. I swing by Bourke St Bakery to grab a long black, a favourite eatery and conveniently located right across the road from our office in Alexandria.

8:30am: When I get to the office the first thing I do is check my ccalender to see what meetings I have on and need to prepare for that day. I then respond to emails I have received over night, mainly from international suppliers, buyer and wholesalers. We work with distributors in Japan, New Zealand, Europe and the UK and distribute directly to Canada, USA, UK and Hong Kong. We also have showrooms in London, Vancouver, LA, NYC, Dallas and Atlanta, and operate 3rd party warehouses in Hong Kong, China, LA, New Jersey and Brussels.

9:30am: I call a meeting with the team. There are nine of us across design, production, logistics and sales. We have just wrapped up selling High Summer in Australia and New Zealand so now we need to make sure production is across all aspects before the purchase order is placed with our factories.

10:30am: Once our meeting wraps up our design team and I lock ourselves in our design room and start piecing together all the ideas and inspirations I noted on my trip. We are preparing for Northern Hemispheres Spring collection so it is vital we nut out all the trends, fabrications and silhouettes. I have a huge storyboard I am always updating with images to insure we are on track with the latest trends. I find music really helps me get in the zone when designing, so I blast some Kim Churchill and start developing sketches, mixing and matching fabric swatches, referencing the High Summer mood board which includes notes from runway shows and retails stores as well as street style photographs, all from my recent trip.

1pm: Myself and brand manager, Dannii, meet with our PR agency Tailor Maid Communications to discuss activity on the account and ideas to launch new season. We find this element really fun, as it is another outlet to explore creative ideas and executions. At the moment we are discussing talent for the High Summer campaign, which is really exciting!

2pm: I have a quick lunch at my desk, an oversized salad while scrolling through fashion news across a multiple online fashion portals. This provides me with up to the minute updates across the globe. I never miss a beat.

2:15pm: Our leather swatches have just arrived from the Sol Sana factory in India. I have been waiting with baited breath for these as each season we create our own customised colourways, so it can be quite nerve racking waiting to see the finished product. Alas, all is perfect!

2:30pm: Back to designing.

4:30pm: I have a phone meeting with our factory in China. We have recently developed a small bag line and need to make sure they are adhering to my designs to ensure product sample deadlines are met. I am very detail oriented so everything must be prefect!

5:30pm: I turn my focus to the Sol Sana X Free People exclusive line. This is a collaboration I have been doing for three seasons now and it works really well for the Sol Sana brand and customer. Free People offers beautiful bohemian clothing and accessories, if your not familiar with it you should definitely check out the website.

7:30pm: Dinner out is on the cards tonight. I know if I go home I will fall into a jetlag coma. Queenies in Surry Hills is the restaurant of choice. Great food and the margaritas are out of this world. Think I will have three in an attempt to stay awake!

10:30pm: Walk through the doors of my Erskineville apartment. Home finally. I make a cup of tea and jump into bead and its one last check of the emails for the day and then I’m out like a light.

June 3, 2015

Inspirational Women: Kylie Radford of Morrison

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Lucy Perry

Name and role:

Kylie Radford, creative director at Morrison

Tell us what you do? What do you get up to on a day-to-day basis?

Whilst every day varies, it almost always revolves around my boys, Baxter and Louis. I take them to school and then head straight into the office. A typical day at work involves research, creative sessions with the design team, fabric selection, designing, fitting samples, approving styles and meeting with my management team.

Baxter and Louis have sport every day after school so most weeknights we get home around 7.30pm. This doesn’t leave time for anything else other than homework and dinner. Life is really busy and so we really appreciate weekends where we can chill together and spend time cooking yummy food.

How/when did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career?

My career as a designer was not a conscious decision. I have always adored fabrics and have often been described as tactile. I actually designed a pair of pants that were hugely successful and that was it – that was the start of my career in fashion.  Whilst I didn’t consciously make the decision to become a designer, since the label has taken off, I’ve loved the challenge of designing ranges as well as being part of an incredibly gifted team.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from primarily from the fabrics that we source, my team, my customers, and travel. I am constantly inspired by my diverse and creative colleagues. I also feel blessed to be able to travel extensively as part of my role.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground? Over the years there have been many mentors, some from within our company and also from outside sources.

I have always thought it is invaluable to listen to others who have experience and expertise in any area of a business.  I also think it’s important to remember your own goals and values and only take from others what feels right for you.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

Oh! More than I care to remember. Having two small children and running a growing business will always be my biggest challenge.

The GFC was certainly our biggest stumbling block.  It felt as though our industry, in particular retail, was turned upside down overnight. Whilst it was also my biggest lesson, I do feel that I grew immensely as a business woman having experienced this period.

How did you overcome these?

Every avenue of our business became tighter and every member more accountable. We made tough decisions together as a team. Apart from the changes, we worked very hard with more determination than ever before.

What are your goals for the future?

I would love more work/life balance! Just like everyone else! I want my brand to be admired and respected and looked upon as a brand with integrity.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?  

I always encourage people to follow their dreams. There is so much advice that I could offer but probably the most important is to believe in yourself and work hard to achieve what you want. Be kind to people and motivate people – you have to have a dynamic team surrounding you.

May 29, 2015

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Want to give your home a revamp without breaking the bank?

Try some of these inexpensive ideas which are perfect for every single room of the house, and can even be made at home yourself!

RELATED: Interior Design Trends For Autumn

Wallpaper

Are you renting or just unable to paint the walls of your home? Decals and wallpaper are quick and easy ways to bring dimension and character to any room of the house. You have the option of creating a feature wall, designing the entire room, or simply just a corner of the house.

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Plants

Believe it or not, there are a few different ways to incorporate fake plants into your home (and those which don’t look too tacky!). Simple shrubs often look best, just remember to dust them every now and then.

You can always pick the alternative and purchase a mini-cactus which requires little to no maintenance to look good.

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Candles

Who doesn’t love a delicious candle during the winter time? It’s the perfect way to warm-up any room without spending a small fortune. Vanilla, lavender and fresh linen are all squeaky-clean scents which everyone is bound to enjoy.

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Accent walls

Bring some life to your room with an accent wall made from inexpensive fabric and canvas. It is the perfect DIY project which everyone can partake in, plus it doesn’t take too long to create!

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Photo frames

Hang some of your favourite family photos, holiday snaps, and pieces of art into individual photo frames. This way, you can create an effortless collage on the wall, and even design your work space or desk.

5 Budget Apartment Decorating Ideas

Images via Apartment Therapy, Urban Outfitters, MamaMia, Tumblr

May 26, 2015

Inspirational Women: Becky Jack

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

Name and role:

Becky Jack, designer and founder of peony swimwear.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Georgia Coote

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Peony was born out of my life-long love affair with the beach. I grew up with the ocean in my backyard, so the beach has always been an influential part of my life. As one of four sisters, my fondest memories are those made on summer holidays with my family in Byron or the Sunshine Coast. I created peony in celebration of everything that I love about our relaxed, coastal lifestyle and I named the label after my favourite flower, which blooms at the beginning of summer. To me, the peony flower represents the true philosophy behind the brand – effortless feminine style.

My daily routine varies a lot depending on the time of year. I start the day with some form of exercise, normally yoga, Pilates or a walk along the beach, and I try to be at my office desk before 8am. Then it’s about emails, emails, emails for the first few hours. Once they are done, I attend to that day’s tasks, whether they are designing, overseeing production, packing orders, liaising with our PR team or managing customer service.

How/when did you know this was what you wanted to do as a career?

I have always been passionate about design. As a kid I would sketch garments on notepaper during class and on napkins at restaurants. Swimwear design was particularly appealing to me because it seemed that was all we wore for nine months of the year. Although I had dreamed it, I never imagined that one day I would actually turn my passion it into a career.

After school I studied a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Business (majoring in Marketing and International Business). Following graduation from university, I went on to qualify and work as a lawyer for six months. Although I loved studying law, I found legal practice personally unsatisfying and creatively stifling. I felt a fire in my belly for something more and it didn’t take long for me to realise that it was time to pursue my dream of starting my own swimwear line. Soon after that, I finished working at the law firm and began the daunting but exhilarating journey of starting peony.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration in our relaxed coastal lifestyle and in the simple joys of summer – diving into the ocean, the smell of coconut oil, the taste of a banana Paddle Pop and the feeling of bare feet on the hot tarmac. When I think of an Aussie summer I think of our rugged coastal landscape, frangipani trees, sausage sizzles and bikinis hanging from the hills hoist in the backyard. All the little things that make you feel excited for the warmer months inspire me to create something tangible that embodies the intangible.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

Yes, I had two strong female mentors that helped me get peony off the ground in the beginning and who continue to mentor me today. Both were good family friends and women that I had long admired for their work and family life balance. One runs a successful international marketing company and the other worked in the Australian magazine industry in for 15 years. Both were able to give me advice specific to their area of expertise and I relished every opportunity to sit with them (often over a glass of wine or two) and absorb as much as I could.

In addition to my mentors, my parents are incredibly supportive of everything I do. My dad has a copy of the first newspaper article on peony stuck on the wall of his tearoom at work. My partner Nick is also a pillar of strength and has patience beyond measure. I feel extremely lucky.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

Dealing with disapproval and criticism was a hurdle in the beginning. It seemed everyone had an opinion about what I had chosen to do. The majority of those I told couldn’t understand what has possessed me to abandon a secure career and regular pay cheque for the minuscule possibility of success in one of the most saturated and competitive industries known to man kind. A part of me wondered too. So I had to summon a lot of focus and determination during this time and again I fell back on my family and mentors who provided perspective and encouragement. Being an Australian made brand also has its financial limitations. The industry is full of brands that are mass-produced offshore for a fraction of the price, so in the beginning it was difficult to make ends meet.

How did you overcome these?

I try to approach every obstacle like a challenge. I sit down and come up with options to overcome it, assess the pros and cons of each option and then make a decision that is in the best interests of the brand. In saying that, whilst being methodical and measured is my general approach to problem solving, my heart has the trump card. When in doubt, I always follow my heart.

What are your goals for the future?

Peony is still very much in its infancy as a brand, so I have a lot of goals for the future. I want to see peony reach its full potential and for it to be recognized, nationally and internationally, as an authentic Australian brand with heart and substance. I want my genuine love for what I do to be evident in the final product. In my personal life, I want to continue to surround myself with people that inspire and encourage me so that I can be the best version of myself for the people that I love.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

You are much more likely to succeed in something that you are passionate about. Sit down, write a detailed business plan, find a mentor who is willing to help you and get started. Stay focused on your own goals and just enjoy the journey.

To shop or find out more head to peony swimwear

April 15, 2015

Inspirational Women: Alice McCall

Each week, SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Becky Jack

Tell us about your role? What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

 Being creative director of my label, I’m across everything that’s happening in the label. Normally I’m designing 2 collections at the same time, which also involves sourcing fabrics and deciding on the range of the collection. After that we have to do look book shoots, campaign shoots and sell the collection! At the moment we’re in the lead up to fashion week, so very busy! I’m in the midst of getting the collection ready, styling the show, collaborating on the set and music – lots to do!

inspirational Women Alice McCall

When did you know this is was what you wanted to do as a career? 

When I was about 6 I started designing and making clothes for my dolls, so my love for fashion came from there and evolved!

Alice McCall the label is now over 10 years old, congratulations! How has the brand evolved over the years?

Thank you – it’s still surreal knowing its 10 years! The brand has definitely grown up over the years and evolved into a more sophisticated woman. I’m lucky to have had a loyal customer base that has also grown with the label.

The fashion industry is infamous for being an extremely tough industry to crack. What were the initial stumbling blocks at the beginning of your career and starting your own business?

It is and it’s also very hard to stay in the industry as things are changing all the time. My time styling in London was a challenge as there were so many great people there, but I was lucky to work with some amazing talent and it went from there!

How did you overcome these?

It was mainly through trusting my instinct and knowing that I was onto the right thing. Making great relationships with people you could trust and never becoming complacent even when succeeding.

The fashion business is known for being fast paced and cutthroat. How do you deal with the constant pressure to continually create and impress?

I feel like every season I have something new to say, but it’s not always that easy! It helps a lot to have a great team with people you can rely on. It’s always important to take time to relax and centre yourself so you don’t feel the constant pressure.

As a designer, where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration for me comes from everywhere – music, art and different cities. My collection for MBFWA is very much inspired from music, rhythm and romance.

Who has had the most impact on you as a designer? Do/did you have a mentor?

I would say different eras like the ’60s and ’70s have had a lot of impact on me. And then great icons like Carine Roitfeld and Vanessa Paradis.

What are your goals for the future?

I just want to keep creating pieces that people love to wear. Would love to open more retail stores and grow presence in the US and China.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

It’s important to maintain an aesthetic true to you and trust your instinct.

To shop or find out more head to alice McCALL

April 13, 2015

Inspirational Women: Lisa Messenger

To celebrate 12 months of SHESAID’s Inspirational Women series, this April we will be featuring some of our favourite from the past year. These women are leaders in their chosen field and have shared with us and our readers their expertise, knowledge and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Sarah Timmerman

Name and role: 

Lisa Messenger, founder and editor-in-chief of Renegade Collective and CEO of The Messenger Group

Tell us about your role. What do you do on a day-today basis?

I wouldn’t even know where to begin on what my day entails on a day-to-day basis. I literally wear so many hats but, don’t be fooled, I love every minute of it! One day can range from being on deadline and running around like a mad woman between my editorial, design, marketing, advertising and digital teams, proofreading, changing copy, choosing our cover star shot, Skype meeting here, internal meeting there. I am constantly pulled in so many directions so I always make sure I find a balance between my work life and wellbeing.

How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?

I knew early on that I would never work for anyone but myself. I have had endless dreams and made them a reality, failed and got back up again. I am all about the ‘Call to Action’ – you want something, you go for it. No matter the risk, you have to live in the moment otherwise you lose all purpose. I wanted to surround myself with positive, inspirational people and not to let the naysayers sway my choices. Starting the Collective gave me just that – an opportunity to constantly be reminded about how great people can be when they go out into the world and fight for what they want.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Being an entrepreneur you are constantly inspired by the world around you – daily life choices have such an impact and I am in an industry where nothing is short of inspiration. Our readers, I would have to say, are the people who I constantly find so inspiring and uplifting. If I am having a bad day there is always a reader who switches my mood and puts it all into perspective. I am doing this for a reason and I owe it to myself to keep going. Inspiration stems from positivity.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

There are a lot of people I look up to and for many different reasons. Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Martha Stewart (which was a dream come true of mine having her grace the cover of our one year anniversary issue) just to name a few. But I also think it’s also extremely important to believe in you. At the end of the day, you have to be your biggest supporter and surround yourself by those around you who truly believe you can do anything.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

From the moment I knew I wanted to make a change there were of course many things standing in my way. I am BIG believer in ‘fall down seven times; stand up eight’. You get knocked down and you need to get right back up again. At the end of the day, your failures do not define you, they simply shape you to be the best version of yourself and that really is all that you can give.

How did you overcome these?

From the start, I made a promise to myself not let my failures define me. I knew that I needed to have thick skin from the get go and if I am ever faced with a problem I need to tackle it face on and not coward because something is too difficult. Challenges are what make us into the people we are today.

What are your goals for the future?

To continue to grow in every aspect! From my career to my personal life, I want to make sure I have a happy balance. To watch the Collective continue to grow would be a dream, cover after cover I constantly fall in love with this journey more and more. It’s such a blessing! I have an amazing team and support system behind me so I count how lucky I am every single day.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

Be bold and believe in yourself. If you fail, do not let it define you. You can do anything you set your mind to so make mistakes, learn from them and keep moving forward. The sky is the limit!

April 8, 2015

Inspirational Women: Ford + Harris

To celebrate 12 months of SHESAID’s Inspirational Women series, this April we will be featuring some of our favourite ladies from the past year. These women are leaders in their chosen field and have shared with us and our readers their expertise, knowledge and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.

RELATED: Inspirational Women: Carmela Cerrone

Name and role:

Sharona Harris and Rachel Ford, founders of jewellery label Ford + Harris

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

SH: I am the sales and marketing manager for Ford + Harris, so I look after all the PR, branding, website, social media and retailer liaison, however as a start-up brand you need to roll your sleeves up and also do whatever it takes to get the job done so packing orders, managing customer relations and being the main contact for our factory is also a major part of my job!

On a daily basis, I will fulfil orders and check inventory. I will also respond to any media and stylists requests to loan our products, which we have been very fortunate with as we have built some great relationships with celebrity stylists such as Dale McKie (clients include Montana Cox & Bambi Northwood-Blythe) as well as Marina Didovich (who works with Jennifer Hawkins for Australia’s Next Top Model). I will then also plan our social media such as Instagram and Facebook, and research any up and coming bloggers, photographers, stylists and publications that I think we should be working with. The next major part of my role will be to ensure Ford + Harris will be positioned in premium retail boutiques, so I am currently researching this also.

RF: Sharona and I juggle the entire business between the two of us and our jobs change depending on who has the time for the particular job required. My role for Ford and Harris is mainly to work out the technical elements of our designs, and because I am not trained as a jeweller, sometimes this takes a lot of research and time. However, I feel so overwhelmed with happiness when an idea comes to fruition that it is completely worth all the hard hours of thought. All our designs are little works of art that a person can choose to wear. It is a very satisfactory process when you see customers enjoying your work and creations. Sharona is really good at sensing trends and she sends me inspiration and ideas for designs – then it’s up to me to come up with specifics. So in a nut shell Sharona briefs me – then I go off and research and it works really well.

How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?

SH: It was NEVER something I thought I would be doing but I couldn’t be happier. Rachel comes from a family of jewellers so it’s in her blood, but I sort of joined in and now I can tell you how many microns of plating a jewellery piece has, the cut of a gemstone and all these other weird and wonderful jewellery terms that sounded so foreign to me only 12 months ago!

RF: Art and fashion are both long time loves of mine. I completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Queensland College of Art directly after finishing school and later completed a Diploma of Fashion Design. I didn’t like the fast paced and “throw away nature” of fashion however, and thought that perhaps I could direct my love of aesthetics into jewellery, which I think tends to be loved and treasured a lot longer than clothing.

Where do you find your inspiration?

SH: Of course Instagram, Pinterest and websites such as style.com and street photographers such as Tommy Ton give me sources of inspiration for what’s currently happening but I think real inspiration comes from your passions and personals discoveries and for me that comes from music, movies and books, especially from the 60s, 70s and early 80s era’s, which we then reinvent into something original and modern. I won’t give much away but for our next collection Rachel and I were inspired by Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface, it just shows you that you never know where your next big ‘ah ha!’ moment is going to come from!

RF: I find inspiration every day. Things people say, things people wear, things I hear and things I see. Everything is open to interpretation. I also love history and looking back at era’s and trends. For instance our latest collection was an amalgamation of the Byzantine art era, the 1970’s punk rock music scene, in addition to paying homage to Coco Chanel and her early costume jewellery designs. Nothing is new anymore – it’s all about reinterpretation. One who claims they are creating something totally new is being completely silly. We all depend on each other for innovation.

Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?

SH: I have so many mentors. I am incredibly fortunate to have so many talented friends that range from artists, fashion designers, entrepreneurs, financial planners and musicians and they are all mentors. I try to learn and absorb from people around me as much as possible. It so important to surround yourself by inspiring people, it makes life a much more fulfilling experience.

RF: My mother, Suzanne Bribosia, who has impeccable taste in jewellery, is my main inspiration. She is a hobbyist jeweller – however, if she had pursued a career in the field, she would be very well established and very well known. She still has the most amazing ideas and visions to this day and she continues to help Ford + Harris on this journey with ideas and with technical support.

What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then?

SH: The whole journey has been one big stumbling block! Not in a bad way, just because neither of us had run a business let alone worked in the jewellery industry so we started from absolute ground zero. But I always put one foot in front of the other and believe that things will work out… and so far they have!

RF:  Due to having no technical training in jewellery design, the start of designing our first collection was quite overwhelming for me. At times it felt too much to take on, however having a supportive partner by my side to talk through all the problems, made it possible to deal with. In freak-out times, call Sharona and get some perspective. You learn a lot about who you are when you don’t know what you’re doing. You learn your strengths and you learn your weaknesses too. It feels very satisfying to learn your strengths, and completely horrible to realise your weaknesses. But this is the journey of life, right?

How did you overcome these?

SH: NEVER be afraid to ask for help and open your eyes to the amazing sources of knowledge you have around you. Sometimes I think ‘how am I going to do that on my own?’ but I try to remember not to be too proud to ask for help, as soon as you do things become so much easier and you will be surprised by how willing people are to help someone out… Just always remember to return the favour two-fold.

RF: As I said, be honest and talk the issues out. We have learnt that communication is key, and we have also set boundaries with each other. Being best friends and business partners is hard, but for us – so far – really, really good. Be patient with each other. Be patient with all humans, we all have good days and bad days.

And knowledge is power. Learn all you can. Throw out your television. Read books, listen to Podcasts, talk to people.

What are your goals for the future?

SH: For 2015, I want to position Ford + Harris in the best retailers both here and overseas. In the long term I want Ford + Harris to be positioned world-wide as the answer to tough luxe accessories… I think there is a gap in the market for high-quality jewellery that is seriously cool and still affordable… so here we come!

RF: Sharona and I would like to be able to work full time for Ford and Harris. This is not fashion for me – I’m making people art – and I hope when people wear our items they feel the beauty, strength and love that we put into each and every item.

In the future, I would love to go to a particular town in Vietnam called Sapa, and set up a local jewellery company to support the abandoned women and children of that area. I was given a pair of amazing earrings made from coke cans about ten years ago that I love to death. The people of this area have skills in jewellery making but do not have design vision. I would love to set up an industry for these people. It’s just a matter of time for me. I want to give back somehow.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?

SH: One step at a time! Just focus on the one problem or the one goal at a time and then move onto the next one, everything is achievable when you break it down into bite sized pieces.

RF: If you can’t do it by yourself, find a good partner who believes in you, and just chip away at it. One day at a time. Two minds are always going to be more powerful than one.

And – never think you have to be formally trained to do anything. We live in an era where information is easily accessible. If you want to learn it, you can. You just need the motivation!

April 6, 2015

5 Lessons We Can All Learn From Designers

We engage with the work of designers in almost everything we do. I’m writing this from my desk with a coffee cup to my right, my favourite hand bag to my left, and my computer screen in front of me – all branded and designed for the user. As you read this there will be design all around you too – an ad on the screen, the texture of the seat you’re sitting on, the look and feel of the shoes you’re wearing.

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Our engagement with the work of designers is often unconscious, but if done well the message gets through. So if design is fundamentally about creativity and communication, there are lessons to be learnt for all of us. Here’s five to get you started:

Be curious and engaged

To communicate effectively requires understanding. Become a keen observer of current events and trends – be curious and dive deeper into the issues so you can provide your own unique perspective.

Understand your creative process

While it’s nice to think that a “big idea” will just come to you one day, the reality is that behind every “eureka” moment is a lot of hard work. Discover how you learn and create best – maybe you need to mull over an idea for a few days until it’s sharpened, or you might draw out ideas through brainstorming with others. Whatever your creative process is; understand it, own it, and don’t be afraid to take hold and run with new ideas when they come to you.

Think beyond the people you know

Talking to new people, asking questions, being interested and curious about what they have to say, are all part of the recipe for successful communication. Try starting a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to before, they may offer you a new perspective that leads you to a new idea. Understanding the way different people tick will help you reach new and existing audiences.

Be confident and open to new ideas

Everyone has unique skills to offer, you might not be a designer but what is it that you have to offer that is different to those around you? Don’t be afraid to own the skills you have and the work that you create. However, embracing critique is important too –we are always learning.

Collaboration leads to innovation

The flip side of having unique skills to offer are the things you can’t do so well. Recognise what these are and reach out to those who will compliment your skills. Collaborating with others will help push ideas further, leading to better results.

Images via http://www.rednovalabs.com/designing-for-web/

By Dr Nicki Wragg, program director of design at Swinburne Online and senior lecturer of the design honours program at Swinburne University. She graduated in 1989 and worked in the areas of brand identity and publication design. Nicki completed her doctorate in 2012.

February 12, 2015

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

The industrial design trend has gained popularity over the last few years as a clean and simple style which focuses on the mantra of ‘less is more’.

You probably won’t find an abundance of colour in any of these spaces, but it doesn’t mean that this trend is boring! We show you how to incorporate industrial design into your home or office space with a few of these essentials.

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Chairs

Silver or oxidised chairs are a popular way to incorporate both practically and comfort into one aspect of the room. Chairs which fit this personality are often easy to find, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even a flexible price-range.

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Wall features

Rather than keeping the walls plain and simple, choose a fun feature wall which takes the edge off the rest of the room. Many interior designers love working with the current state of the room, whether this is a natural slate of concrete or even an exposed brick feature wall. It brings an almost urban feel to the room, and is also extremely low maintenance.

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Lights

Experiment with metallics to transform the state of each room, and create a relaxed living space. Copper lights are a fantastic way to bring a pop of colour into any space, even for those who are really indecisive!

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Backsplash

Who would’ve thought that a backsplash could look so good? If you want to stay away from the conventional white-tile look, then choose something like metal instead. Not only does it match the faucet perfectly, but is so easy to clean.

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Stools

They are probably one of the most-used items in the entire home, so it pays to invest in a quality set of stools. Choose a matte finish which looks better with age, and is also easy to maintain. Anything which requires extra polish won’t last the distance in our books.

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Marble

Not only does marble look chic, but it can be used in a variety of different ways. Since this material can often come along with a big price-tag, try investing in a few key accessories to last the distance. A vase, bowl, key-holder, or tray is a great way to incorporate the trend in your home without breaking the bank.

Interior Design Trend: Industrial Design

Image via Bloom Papers, Trends Panarna, Better Homes and Gardens, Bloglovin, Wallabuy, Trendland

February 4, 2015

Australian Design A Winner In The Big Apple

The spotlight is on Australian design after Melbourne-based Adam Cornish won the prestigious 2014 New York Design Awards last week. Adam’s Trinity bowl designed for Italian based company Alessi, received first prize in the homewares category, putting Australian design back on the global map. The Trinity bowl was born from self-initiated research into lightweight structure of the Nautilus shell.

Adam says:

“Each year the Nautilus adds an extra chamber to its shell, a process that eventually forms a beautiful spiralled structure that is strong yet very light in weight. My aim was to create a hybrid product that was not only visually inspired by nature, but also a product that uses the inherent logic of nature.”

In conjunction with New York Design Week held last month, Adam is among top leading industry experts selected to showcase his designs through the “Alessi Research Lab’ initiative, as part of the WantedDesign 2014 exhibition. The workshop displayed a selection of projects that highlight a specific topic and the related research developed around it; ranging from research in the working of metal wire by Pauline Deltour, LED lighting by Giovanni Alessi Anghini through to nature observation based design by Adam Cornish. 

The Trinity bowl is available from selected David Jones stores and Alessi online.

New York, design, homewares, kitchen, designer, Adam Cornish

June 10, 2014

The Charles James Brand Revival

The spotlight is on luxury brand Charles James as of late, after being honoured by the Metropolitan Museum last week at the annual ball rumours circulated that the fashion house would be resurrected. On May 8, Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein confirmed he would relaunch the iconic label.

The movie entrepreneur will work along side his designer wife, Georgina Chapman, who will serve as the brand’s first creative director since the death of James in 1978. Many people are concerned Weinstein will tarnish the reputation and classic look of the brand but hopefully the respect and vision his wife has of Charles James will influence Weinstein’s business decisions.

Harvey Weinstein, Met ball, Charles James, New York, The Weisntein Company, fashion, design

Georgina says:

“Charles James designs and gowns took everyone’s breath away at the Met Ball. He’s long been an inspiration to me and everyone at Marchesa. We’re thrilled to help bring the Met exhibit to museums around the country and to bring the spirit and style of Charles James back into the fashion marketplace.”

The proposal to license the brand was approved by The Weinstein Company with the option to purchase it as well from the late couturier’s estate. The currently featured exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York was opened and celebrated on May 5 2014 and TWC hope to take the exhibition to other major cities, to show off the amazing talent.

Harvey says:

“Charles James was one of the most incredible couturiers in the history of fashion and this label deserves to be a household name in the same ranks as Chanel, Dior and Oscar de la Renta.

“There isn’t a single designer in high fashion who wouldn’t name him as a major influence. We are beyond thrilled to be spearheading the revival of this brand and bringing it back to the world’s finest retailers.”

Let’s hope we see some fresh and glamorous pieces at Australian retailers in the near future. I know I can’t wait to get hands on a Charles James! Stay tuned for more information.

Image via telegraph.co.uk and pinsndls.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/charles-james1.jpg

By Amy Miller

May 14, 2014

Milan Shows – Black and Tunic are Back


It looks like black is the colour to wear in winter. Anything stream-lined, practical and subtle in black is what you should be purchasing. At the recent Milan shows every design house had some black. Ferragamo, Gucci, Fendi and Prada brought back the Courreges look. Courreges was a French designer who created the early 60’s tunic dresses and pod hats that everyone thought were very futuristic back then.

August 1, 2000