Featured Interview: Siobhan Barrett

FEATURED INTERVIEW: SIOBHAN BARRETT
{SWIMSUIT & LINGERIE COUTURIER}

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Hailley Howard
Featuring: Siobhan Barrett
Magazine: Issue #39

Siobhan Barrett

Siobhan Barrett

When did you first decide you wanted to make a career out of creating handmade swimwear and lingerie?
A few years ago. I had been making some swimsuits because a girl friend, Lindsay Heuer, wanted/inspired me to do them for a few years for her. Then one day I cut out one of the one piece swimsuits in lace (in other words I made a lace bodysuit) which happened to be used in a photo shoot when a photographer, Kenny Sweeney, was using my apartment and one of the photos went viral. Even though most of the use of the photo was uncredited illegal re-posting of the photo I got a ton of traffic from it and was able to start selling more and more bodysuits which turned into the small business I have today. 

What’s the hardest and most rewarding part of being your own boss and creating your own pieces?
I get to do whatever I want! This is both the hardest and most rewarding part of being your own boss. There is aways work to do and nothing is ever enough. You're also accountable to yourself so you benefit and are affected by all of your decisions first hand. I also get to be the coolest boss on earth and I can tailor my working hours to accommodate a lifestyle that I truly enjoy. This also means I have to manage, motivate, and move myself alongside my business day after day by myself. Although friends and family play a huge role in this process it is up to you every day to do or not to get your work done.

Do you plan on expanding to other articles in the future? What would those be?
I might expand to make some more accessories. I think a cute beach bag for my swimwear would be fun and I am going to make some pretty silk charmeuse sleep masks to go with the lingerie. I come from a womens/evening wear background and I don't have any intention of making women's clothing for sale again. 

Would you ever like to open up a brick and mortar shop for your swimwear/lingerie?
I would love to! I have worked in retail for forever and would love to offer a warm friendly safe, fun environment for women to come and hangout as well as shop. Swimwear and lingerie can be daunting things to shop for and I'd like to change that as much as possible. 

Where does your style and design inspiration typically come from?
I'm inspired by textures, colors, and landscapes from my surroundings. Lately I've been spending a lot of time in the Catskills in upstate New York and I have really taken a lot from the whimsical qualities of the lush landscape and how they change over the seasons. 

Siobhan Barrett

Siobhan Barrett

What do you consider your brands style to be?
It's almost a whimsical nod to retro styles. I don't do underwires or anything very structured which is where the whimsical comes into play. But I find that there is an "old world" feeling to everything that isn't quite vintage but isn't quite modern either. 

How many different pieces do you have and what are the most popular?
I have about 10 different styles/cuts of lingerie which I make in a number of lace and mesh combinations. My best seller is a bodysuit called the Bride To Be Lace Lingerie Bodysuit. It comes in white lace, black mesh, and a mauve lace which are all super duper sexy. 

What’s been the most successful form of getting your name and brand out there?
Instagram! And collaborating/working with women artists and models via Instagram. My sales go up the more and the better the content I post. I also do my own pop up shops which are super fun and really help people see and interact with the products in person. 

How long does it usually take to complete a product start to finish? How many pieces do you make in an average week?
Oh gosh, I can make 2-5 pieces in a couple of hours. And depending on the week I make anywhere from 10-30 pieces a week. It's hard to balance sewing the product and promoting the product because I can't do them at the same time but they both need my time ; ) So some weeks are production weeks and some are business weeks.

How many prints are there to choose from within each style of swimwear or lingerie?
There are about 2/5 prints for each swimsuit and in the lingerie every style typically comes in two laces and a mesh version. 

What’s on the horizon for you? Any collaborations we need to know about?
Lookbooks are on the horizon! And a more defined seasonal approach to my small "lines" of both lingerie and swimsuits. I'll be collaborating with an artist and photographer/model team for an upcoming lingerie lookbook. I also have some GREAT content collaborations with very talented women writers and artists that will be coming out next year. For the swimwear I'm working on some video content to celebrate active, fun, and real women that like to laugh, dance, yell, and play in their swimsuits!

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Laura Jade Stone

FEATURED INTERVIEW:
LAURA JADE STONE

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Laura Jade Stone
Magazine: Issue #38

Photo by: Laura Jade Stone

Photo by: Laura Jade Stone

How did you first get into Instagram blogging and gain such a large following?
I was uploading for fun in my spare time. I’ve always enjoyed putting together outfits and styling different looks. People started responding well to my photos it just sort of gained a steady traction. 

What inspires your photos? 
Heaps of different things! A certain piece of clothing I fall in love with.. Or a mood/vibe I want to emulate.. Or it may be a particular location I find that I want to shoot in!

Who generally takes pictures of you?
Usually friends or my partner.. Behind every blogger is the “insta boyfriend” haha 

What typically goes in to the production of all your photos? 
I piece together the outfit, do my hair and makeup. Grab coffee and find the location. Then just play around until we have the shot we want! But some photos are completely unplanned and usually they end up being the best shots!

What are some of your favorite clothing brands that you get to promote through your insta/blog?
I have so many faves! I’m loving Rebel & Stone at the moment, they have amazing stuff! And for sure Lee Denim and Tony Bianco!

Photo by: Laura Jade Stone

Photo by: Laura Jade Stone

Describe your typical morning of getting ready?
I’m such an early bird, I like time to relax in the morning before I begin my day. I shower, do my makeup and hair then get dressed. I usually plan my outfit the night before so I don't have to stress about finding something to wear. 

When you’re not taking rad pictures, what do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with my family and friends. I love cooking so on Sunday mornings I like going to the Markets to get fresh food.

Who’s your favorite style icon?
Alexa Chung for sure! I also love Gigi Hadids look! 

What’s your favorite filter?
I use the Aden filter on all my photos. It adds a nice pastel wash and gives my Instagram a consistent feel.

What’s something you wish you’d have known when you first started Instagramming?
That its more than just your mates uploading club photos - that its actually filled with fashion, style and beauty from all corners of the world that we get explore, see and add to!

What’s a piece of advice you’d like to give on style and taking Instagram worthy photos?
Choose a key item that you love and piece your outfit together from there. Don't be afraid to try something a little different from time to time. For your photos - find good lighting, interesting backgrounds and capture a nice warm feel or mood. 

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Joanna Carden

FEATURED INTERVIEW:
JOANNA CARDEN OF CARDEN INTERIORS

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Joanna Carden
Magazine: Issue #38

Photo by: Joanna Carden

Photo by: Joanna Carden

How would you label your interior designing style? Clean, balanced, and inviting. 

What’s your best tip for maximizing a small space? Especially for gallery walls to avoid being overcrowded? I love to visually make the space feel bigger, by ironically using larger furniture, but less furniture. Placing curtains at the top of the ceiling help make that small space seem bigger and finishes off the room. I like to choose at least 7 pieces for a gallery wall to help make it cohesive without making it overwhelming. Using the same style frame for the whole gallery wall can make a statement while also blending in with your space. 

How important is it for your brand to showcase your work on intsagram? Do your followers tend to be more of fans and admirers or do they often turn into clients? It’s SO important. I think people like seeing the face and life behind the ‘brand’. It also gives people a sense of what I can do apart from my own personal style. I love a particular style and really enjoy when my clients want that style, but I also enjoy working on completely different styles that make it challenging and fun. 

What amount of people do you work with in person vs virtually? I would say 80% are local/in person clients and the rest are remote. Remote is new to me and definitely a challenge, but my clients have been so great and patient and it makes the process fun and easy. Usually we don’t have a serious deadline so that helps with the ease of the project especially when you can’t see the space in person. 

Photo by: Joanna Carden

Photo by: Joanna Carden

When did you decide to become an interior designer and begin turning something you love into your career? I was 18 when I decided that I should pursue interior design. I started design school with a correspondence program in NYC. It was put on hold when I got married and we started a family, but my husband encouraged me to start a business on my own and that I didn’t need to wait until our kids were gone to do that. So here I am! 

What was the toughest thing to overcome when you first started creating your brand? The doubt. I didn’t go to a 4 year school for a degree and I am figuring out the process as I go by talking to other big designers in my area and across the country. It’s been so challenging, but also incredibly rewarding knowing that all of my work eventually pays off. 

What piece of advice or wisdom would you give to someone aspiring to become an interior designer as well? You can start from anywhere. It’s never too late to get into interior design, and all of the work is worth it. The biggest help to me has been a strong support system. I have family, friends and designers that continually encourage me and motivate me to keep going. 

Did you go to school for interior design? Like I mentioned before, I started a correspondence program in NYC and put it on hold when I started a family. I don’t have the time or money to go back to school just yet, but will definitely be pursuing a degree in the future. That training is priceless. 

Photo by: Joanna Carden

Photo by: Joanna Carden

What’s something you’ve learned through trial and error? How to manage clients. It was easy when I started out with just a few clients, but as soon as business started picking up, I wanted to say yes to everyone. That’s not possible at this point, especially being the only set of hands behind the brand, and I had to learn to schedule out my clients. I was afraid to tell people there would be a wait. However, they would much rather me be honest with them and wait for a later period, than have me overcommit and not be able to deliver on time. 

Did you know the kind of style you wanted to do from the get go or did you grow into it through experience? I definitely have a particular style that I love, but I know it will evolve over time as I learn and gain more experience. I look forward to the future and seeing how time will affect my style.

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Carley Page Summers

FEATURED INTERVIEW: CARLEY PAGE SUMMERS
{PHOTOGRAPHER. INTERIORS. STYLING}

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Christina Cernik
Featuring: Carley Page Interiors
Magazine: Issue #37

Photo by Christina Cernik Featuring: Carley Page Summers

Photo by Christina Cernik
Featuring: Carley Page Summers

Have you always been interested in interior styling or did you begin developing an eye for it later in life?

Since I was a little girl, I would always rearrange my room, creating little sitting areas and vignettes. I have always had a passion to create a place for others to dwell and to feel at peace. Also, my mother has always had an eye for design, which rubbed off on me. 

What’s your main method of finding inspiration? When are you most creative?

Inspiration usually comes from my travels and the different cultures I am able to immerse myself into. I remember coming home after a six-month mission trip to Haiti, and wanting a more tribal, colorful vibe. When I am able to purchase a piece for my home, it usually comes from somewhere that tells a story. I am most creative when I am able to tell a story through my styling. 

How do you generally connect with people who want your interior designing expertise? 

Most people reach out to me through instagram. Most people have an idea of what they want, but need help pulling their vision together, which is where I come in! I try to advise people not to be impulse buyers and to wait until I can have a look and can cast vision together. 

With such a large instagram fan base, do you ever interact with your followers or take on the task of restyling their homes?

Yes, all the time. I find is so important to connect with my followers. I generally respond to each person who comments or messages me. I will give an occasional styling tip in a post, which generates a response from some followers wanting more help with the finishing touches on their homes. 

What’s your favorite method of shopping for furniture/home decor? (I.E. online, thrift, department, etc.)

I am an avid “craigs-lister” and thriftier. I think it’s important to connect with local vendors as well, in order to help grow and support the people around you. I also love finding new accounts on instagram who sell free trade goods and support a greater casue with their products. 

What do you typically take your photos with? 

As a photographer, I find it so important to have crisp and clean photos, so I shoot with my Canon 6D for the majority of my photos, but sometimes you have to catch the moment with the good ole’ I-phone. 

What one thing do you think is an absolute necessity for every home?

A necessity for every home is a rug. A rug can bring a certain character to a home that nothing else can bring. It’s a type of artwork, and there is usually so much craftsmanship that has gone into making a piece. 

Photo by Carley Page Summers

Photo by Carley Page Summers

What’s a rule of thumb you generally follow when you’re styling a home or room?

I think it is very important to really decide on a specific style for your home first; whether its bohemian, coastal, or modern, or any other style and stick with that. Certain styles look best with certain textiles and I think a room is built off of layers consisting of throws, pillows, rugs and curtains. After that, you can add in the fun little knickknacks. 

What’s something you’ve learned through the progression of building your brand that you wish you knew when you first started?

A crucial lesson I learned through this process is to stop comparing myself to others and their designs. We are all given specific passions and ways to carry them out. It is so important to be true to yourself, and go after your dreams without competing with others. We are in an industry with so much talent. A friend told me once to ‘lift as you climb.” I have really embraced that in my life and it is so important to support those around you while building a business. 

How did you get your interior styling name and brand out there in the beginning? How did you begin gaining your following and what was the most successful thing for you?

Instagram has been an integral tool for building my brand. I think what gained a lot of my following was creating a lux brand for less expensive pricing. Bohemian is very popular right now, but there is a way to make it look more lux instead of dorm room, and I think that was key in building my brand. I also respond to about everyone who comments on my posts. It’s important to stay relatable to a following and be who you would be if they were right in front of you. 

What is one piece of advice you can offer an aspiring interior stylist looking to build their business online?

If I could give one bit of advise, it would be to stay true to what you love. Fads come and go, but there are parts of your aesthetic that should be timeless. Also, stay present online and keep posting your work. Create a vibe that is unlike any other, but at the same time, create magical spaces in which others can imagine themselves.

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Halley Elefante

FEATURED INTERVIEW: HALLEY ELEFANTE
THE_SALTY_BLONDE

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Halley Elefante
Magazine: Issue #36

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

What inspired you to start blogging on Instagram?
My sister, Jess. She was on my case about it for a couple years before I even started this venture, back when I was still living and bartending in NYC. She saw there was this new wave of successful influencers documenting their outfits and lives and thought I would be a great fit because of my shopping problem. I was too scared, embarrassed and afraid of what people might say or think so I just never did it. It wasn't until I moved to Hawaii, with this amazing backdrop and mixing my East Coast pieces with my new found tropical vibe that I saw it could be something. If not, just a great place to showcase where all of my hard earned money went. I started a secret/separate account and kept it from my family and friends because I was embarrassed. I started snapping away on the lanai with my camera timer and found that I loved it and was kind of decent at it. These days I couldn't be prouder of what I've built and no one should not do something because of what others might say. If I didn't put myself out there I would never be here. 

We love your laid back, effortless style - Who was your first style icon?
My mother. Hands down. I would give anything to have her wardrobe from the 70s, 80s and 90s. She was a disco queen and had my Grandma sew her these absurd outfits that I would kill for today. She never cared what other people thought and just rocked these badass outfits around a small town in Upstate NY. My mom always said as I was growing up that we had the same style and I loved hearing that. Now she takes all of my clothes and I send a package home almost weekly..

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

When and how did your popularity really start to grow on Instagram?
I honestly don't really know the exact moment. I just started snapping away with old outfits that I would put together from my closet and tagging the designers and brands in hopes to get reposted. It started happening and my following started to grow. I also think being myself and sometimes brutally honest in my captions was a little bit different to what people were seeing and has helped me along the way. I don't like to take myself too seriously or try and pretend I'm perfect. Far from that!

Who generally takes your photos?
My amazing soon to be husband, Tom. We joke about it all of the time that it's his second job, but I honestly wouldn't have The Salty Blonde without him. He is such a huge support system as well and has helped me through this entire strange process. He's such a man's man and the last person you would think was an "Instagram Husband", but he has gotten pretty into it, which clearly I love. That being said, we still get into hilarious fights on the beach when shooting. Like when I end up with 8 chins in 500 shots or his surf buddies catch him shooting. 

Which Instagram posts typically get the most love? What do you think people like most about them?
The not planned, 100% real me shots. There is something so relaxed and raw about them and I think my audience responds well to that. They prefer the authenticity of them and that's why I love my followers.

Your Instagram is so beachy and tropical— Is that how all your days are? How much work and planning go into all utopic photos?
I wish! I'm not going to lie, I do take work breaks at the beach because that's the only time I can genuinely relax when I'm there. Otherwise there's always something to shoot, I'm changing in the middle of the beach in 85 degree weather, people are around and so on. However, I am NOT complaining. It's a dream job, but it's definitely still a job.

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

Halley Elefante: The_Salty_Blonde

You have such a huge Instagram following - Do you ever interact with them or read their comments? Any “best practices” to share with our readers to help with engagement?
Yes! I try to answer most questions. I also try and be mindful of my phone usage at the same time. As you can imagine, I am constantly on my phone for work, so once I post I try to put it away for awhile. Unfortunately, you can't answer all of the questions you get or else your phone would be glued to your hand all day. That's why I make sure to tag all the labels I'm wearing in every single post so the audience can see. And yes, we see all comments! Especially the shitty ones. Cyber bullies and trolls can beat it..

What’s the greatest benefit of doing what you do?
Working for yourself! The clothes and amazing opportunities don't hurt either..

What piece of advice would you give to someone who’s aspiring to build their brand using Instagram?
Just do it! Be yourself, original and have fun with it. And always remember good lighting is key.

Have any other amazing opportunities come up from being such an Instagram sensation?
Yes! I have traveled to amazing places I thought I would never see in my entire life, hosted rad parties, met awesome people and made new friends along the way. I am so grateful and still a little bit in shock.

Do you have any collaborations or features on the horizon?
Always. Which is a great thing!

Lastly we have to ask, filter or no filter - and if you could only ever just use one, what would it be?
Filter, for sure. I love the moodiness of them and if they blur out wrinkles and make you a little better looking in the process then it's a win/win. I'm a huge fan of VSCO app and pretty much just use their filters, especially Instant. 

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Sajas Minrah

FEATURED INTERVIEW: SAJAS MINRAH
{MODEL, BLOGGER & INSTAGRAM MAVEN}

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Sajas Minrah
Magazine: Issue #34

Model-sajas-minrah

How did you first get into blogging & modeling?
I started modeling at the age of 15, spotted by a model scout in Milan.. traveling around the world for some years was probably the best time of my life so far. Only one year ago I started posting regularly on Instagram, beginning to enjoy stage-managing my own styles and sharing them with others.  

What inspired you to start your blog?
Friends of mine encouraged me to push it a little further and surprisingly soon my account began to prosper.

Who was your first style icon?
Oh that’s so difficult to say.. to be quite honest my very first style icon was probably posh spice, for I was a big fan of the spice girls as a child.

What or who is your current obsession?
I’m obviously totally obsessed with CHANEL, especially the vintage styles.. I just love to combine classy bouclé blazers (many of those inherited from my granny) with modern styles such as leather leggings and fancy boots for example.

How would you describe your personal style?
#vintage #chaneladdict #russianprincess #glamgrunge #preppy

What music track or album do you currently have on repeat?
Janis Joplin (over and over..)

What would you say that is the biggest challenge about fashion blogging (modeling)?
Just do it and don't let other people's opinion make you question what you're going to do.

If you could only wear one fashion line for the rest of your life - who would it be?
CHANEL <3 <3 <3

What would you say that is the greatest satisfaction of being a fashion blogger (model)?
I just LOVE fashion so much, that I’ll always enjoy everything associated to it. The power of fashion has always inspired me, so i’m always very glad and honored if people are interested or even inspired by my styles.

What advice to you have for other fashionistas looking to start their own blog or grow their Instagram accounts?
Always try to develop your very own style, that makes you feel comfortable.. mix and match old and new, casual and glam, casual and luxury according to your current state of mind. For me a great outfit, that makes me feel happy self-confident is the best precondition for a great and successful day.

The Empress Festival

DISCLAIMER:
All images appearing on the Holistic Fashionista web site are the exclusive property of our partnered
photographers and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without
the written permission of the photographers.

Featured Interview: Isabella and Elizabeth {Founders of Spell & the Gypsy Collective}

FEATURED INTERVIEW: ISABELLA AND ELIZABETH
{FOUNDERS OF SPELL & THE GYPSY COLLECTIVE}

Interview by Angel Quintana
Photo Credit: Spell & the Gypsy Collective
Magazine: Issue #33

Isabella and Elizabeth, founders of Spell

Isabella and Elizabeth, founders of Spell

Isabella and Elizabeth are the sister brains behind Spell & the Gypsy Collective; A fashion brand with a bohemian, vintage, and artistic twist. This gypsy inspired brand started when Isabella began selling hand-made jewelry at local markets at Byron Bay. Prior to joining her sister, Elizabeth (with a childhood nickname of Spell) was a film editor. She soon decided to leave that career behind and start a new path in Byron Bay with Isabella. Not long after, their brand transformed and grew into a successful business that began incorporating their image into clothing, accessories, and home-ware. You can learn more about Isabella, Elizabeth, and their knockout fashion brand at SpellDesigns.com

Between the two of you, is one more of the creative mind and one the business mind?
Lizzy: Spelly definitely heads up the design, and has boundless creativity in that realm, but I have a kind of business/creative fusion, I don’t have any kind of head for figures, but I just understand how to communicate a brand. We’ve both said many times, on our own, neither of us had a business, but together we thrived, so it must be some kind of sisterly business/creativity exchange.

What inspired you to choose bohemian style for your brand?
The term ‘bohemian’ is how we communicate the brand, but really Spell is just our style. We never chose it as a style. It was definitely not a business decision or calculated. We literally just started creating things we wanted in our own wardrobes.

Who or what inspires your looks the most?
Spelly: We obviously have a bit of an obsession with the 'folk singer' or the 'gypsy woman of the 70’s – but we’re also in love with all sorts of vintage eras. We once found a stall at LA’s Rose Bowl Markets, that stocked all this lace from the late 1800s and we spent a fortune because we just had to have all of it!

What is the biggest hardship you’ve overcome or lesson you’ve learned since you’ve started your own business? 
Lizzy: One of the recent things I’ve learnt was that while ‘gut feel’ is invaluable in business (I’m lucky to possess a really strong intuition and ‘gut feel’ has always been my compass), data and statistics are equally important. I only recently learnt about SEO and Google Analytics for instance, so it’s all a wonderful new world of spreadsheets and pie charts… But on a personal level, probably the biggest lesson (something I’m still trying to master!) is a work/life balance, especially both being full-time working mums. Dealing with the 'Mum guilts' is the hardest. Taking to other working mums helps a lot. 

What’s the best part about being sisters and business partners? Does is ever complicate things? 
Spelly: The best part is we kind of read each others minds most of the time. From inspiration and mood boards (often we’ll create the same mood boards) to design decisions and styling. And of course we both completely understand the hardships of being working mums and are very flexible with each other.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you would’ve known when you first started your business?
Lizzy: 6 hands are better than four, eight hands are better than six… Don't be afraid to grow your team, having a team around you will allow you to keep doing the things that made you want to get into business in the first place.

What’s the most rewarding part of being self-made women entrepreneurs and essentially working for yourself?
Lizzy: Before I went into business with Spelly I spent so much time trying to find ways to nurture my creativity or to sustain it, or to rediscover it, but now my creativity is literally funnelled into every single thing I do every day at Spell. I think running a business is so creative, even if it’s not a fashion label. Every decision is like a dance with creativity!

What, to you, was the more successful way you gained your following?
We adapted and embraced the online world early (in a sense of other brands and retailers moving from bricks and mortar to online) and we were on Instagram within weeks of it launching, which helped! But really we were very authentic in our business approach, we were just ourselves, and the brand reflects us completely.

What made you decide to leave your career as a film editor and join your sister in the business?
After a rough year in Sydney, my best friends gave me a personal development course as a birthday gift. I don’t remember anything I learnt at the course but the day after the course I had a bit of an epiphany and called Spelly to see if she needed a business partner. She did. So I moved up to Byron within a month! 

Did either of you have training in design/business or are you both self-taught?
Spelly studied fashion design and worked for a fashion label in Melbourne before she moved up to Byron and started hand making jewellery. She still calls on her drawing skills and pattern making skills every day when designing – but a lot of it was pretty intuitive. I had no training in anything… I’m a bit rogue, haha!

When was the first big-break in your business and how did you achieve that?
Lizzy: Embracing the online world is where we felt that we sort of “broke” into a customer base that was global, but notable times that we experienced growth was when US majors Free People and Revolve picked up our label. We also have some beautiful blogger friends who we’ve worked with from their early stages so when they’ve grown, we’ve grown too. 

How has your design aesthetic been influenced over the years? What was the most significant change made?
We design what we want to wear, and of course that’s changed as the years have passed, so our aesthetic has evolved and ebbed and flowed. At the beginning of Spell we were very obsessed with all things leather, turquoise and feathers but over the years we’ve matured and so too have our designs. Our jewellery became a little more refined (though of course it’s still pretty out there) and our garments grew up a bit, as we did. 

What your favorite and least favorite part of the design process?
Spelly:  I LOVE choosing colours, but the decision is hard. If you have ever looked at a pantone swatch book, you would understand that there are so many shades of pink, turquoise, coral, purple and the weight of that decision is sometimes really hard (I know, what an amazing problem to have?), but I’ll literally agonise over a shade of blue for hours. The girls in the design room think I’m mental! The best part is watching it all come to life, once the final samples come in and we just try things on and start choosing which things we’ll be taking home and putting in our wardrobe!

How do you balance your professional and personal life?
Lizzy: It’s so hard. Being a mum and running a business is difficult. Both Spelly and I are lucky to have amazing husbands, and we have daycare too. But some days you just don’t want to leave the kids, there are days I’ve been in tears about it. But we love what we do and try to create a balance by surrounding ourselves with a good team. 

What advice would you give to aspiring self-made clothing designers?
Stay authentic, design what you love. Be inspired by what you love. Be humble and generous of heart, and it will always shine through! 

The Empress Festival

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