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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rachel Corbett, Angie Fox, Fiona MacDonald, Sarah Marinos, Ian Lloyd Neubauer, Sarah Owen, Hannah Pronesti, Che-Marie Trigg
CONTRIBUTING CREATIVE TEAM Abby Mortensen, Alexander Grabchilev, Branden Harvey, Charise Ash, Christian Gideon, Damian Sanchez, Daniel Knott, David Jackson, Deen Van Meer, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Emma Mcilroy, Felix Forest, Jessy Almaquer, Joan Marcus, Joep Niesink, Kristian Taylor-Wood, Lana Jones, Lauren Naefe, Leander Nardin, Leandro Crespi, Lisa Callus, Louisa Seton, Maree Spagnol, Maria Marie, Marija Brkljac, Matthew Rolston, Micky Wiswedel, Naomi Steer, Peter Lindberg, Ranita Cowled, Rebecca Riegger, Rhiannon Taylor, Sandy Rogulic, Scott Ehler, Sean Locke, Simone Becchetti, Sonja Lekovic, Sophie Blachford, Srdjan Kirtic, Tess Leopold, Thomas Whiteside, Veronique Beranger, Victoria Beattie, Wassim Bazzi
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WELCOME TO ISSUE 24! 014 EDITOR’S LETTER the power of community 016 COLLECTIVE LETTERBOX we love your mail (keep it comin’) 030 WHY YOU NEED... A LEAFIER WORKSPACE & other cool ideas 037 LOVIN’ IT what’s trending right now 032 ISSUE 23 COVER TAKEOVER is your story there?
IMAGES COURTESY OF DVF, PHOTO BY THOMAS WHITESIDE / NORDSTROM, INC. / KRISTIAN TAYLOR-WOOD / KATHERINE SABBATH
MEET & GREET 022 HANNAH BRONFMAN the dj & lifestyle blogger with sage advice 024 STELLA MARIA BAER the artist with a cosmic twist 026 PAIGE ELENSON the yoga instructor creating a movement 028 EEMAAL a table for one THE COLLECTIVE 044 DIANE VON FURSTENBERG on struggling to call herself a designer 048 SARA BLAKELY on life after her overnight success 052 MARIANNE WILLIAMSON says there are no short-cuts FEATURES 058 #IRL how we now meet strangers in parks 062 THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is quiet best? 088 LIGHTBULB MOMENTS from women at the top
THE NEW CLASS 066 HIGH SCROLLERS these feeds are guaranteed to make you smile – DJ TIGERLILY half dj, half mermaid – CHILI PHILLY he crochets things for his head – THE THROTTLE DOLLS girls with bikes – PENGUIN he’s really a magpie – ONE HUNGRY MAMI a pescatarian foodie from the jungle COVER STORY 072 IF THE SHOE FITS business lessons from sarah jessica parker COVET 082 084 086 087
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY: BJORN IOOSS
INNOVATORS OF THE BEAUTY SET ready to meet you UNDER THE SHEETS lifestyle tips from creative rhiannon taylor THE MOODBOARD inspo for your workspace HOW TO... AVOID DESK CHAOS with an organised life
STYLE MAKERS 094 ART MONEY the initiative making art more accessible 100 BAKING THE WORLD BETTER the teacher-turned cake master 104 FASHION-MISTAS strateas.carlucci have just made fashion history 107 CALLING ALL FASHION LABELS here’s how to get stocked 110 CHARLES BILLICH the artist not conforming to dogma 113 LOCATION SHOOT BTS with tess leopold HABITAT 118 WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF inside the parisian store, repetto
MOVERS & SHAKERS 125 IN GOOD SPIRITS from wild pig’s p*ss to being held at arrow point 128 FROM SEED TO SKIN an iconic brands turns 30 130 EARTH SHAKERS smart ideas to change your perspective 131 ALL THINGS BEAUTY how a simple bottle has captured pop culture TECH FEED 134 ROOM ON THE FLY the company proving you don’t need a website
LIFE 138 141
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME why they’re giving $100 to strangers HEAR ME ROAR why a musical changed its stripes
NOMAD 144 NEXT STOP... EXOTIC INDIA tips, inspo and insights 154 A GIFT FROM THE GODS foodie talk with Jonathan Barthelmess 156 LITTLE ITALY why simple is best COMMENT 158 NO MORE EXCUSES! says lisa messenger
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I CAN’T START MY DAY WITHOUT… a walk along beautiful Manly Beach to the ferry (picking up an obligatory flat white on the way). MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS… I could watch Beyoncé sing and dance alllll day! I CAN’T START MY DAY WITHOUT… a strong latte, aka my best friend. MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS… letting my dog Pickle snuggle in bed with me (despite how much my husband objects). THIS YEAR, I’M DETERMINED TO… make sure every person in Australia knows of The Collective.
THE COOLEST THING ABOUT WORKING FOR THE COLLECTIVE IS… connecting with so many people and brands I’ve followed and admired for years. Cindy Gallop, Spell Designs, The Backpacker Intern, Patagonia… it’s like a professional and personal wish list come true. THIS YEAR, I’M DETERMINED TO… play at least one tune (well) on the ukulele. THIS MONTH I… talked miracles, forgiveness and general spiritual enlightenment with Marianne Williamson over Skype. It was both surreal and awesome.
I CAN’T START MY DAY WITHOUT… Instagram, Bloglovin’ and food. I give major side-eye to people who claim they “don’t like eating breakfast”. MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS… really bad reality television. THE COOLEST THING I’VE DONE FOR THE COLLECTIVE IS… covering this year’s MBFWA. THIS YEAR, I’M DETERMINED TO… save enough to go on another overseas trip. My bucket list needs a serious tending-to. THIS MONTH I… worked on the print and online stories on Stella Maria Baer – her artwork is nothing short of amazing.
I CAN’T START MY DAY WITHOUT… a Barre Body class followed by a serious caffeine hit! MY GUILTY PLEASURE IS… watching BBQ Pitmasters! It’s reality TV meets BBQ and with teams like BareKnuckles BBQ, Fatback’s BBQ & Rib Shack and Peg Leg Porker, what’s not to love?
OCCASIONAL IN-HOUSE POOCH
THE CRAZIEST/COOLEST THING I’VE DONE FOR THE COLLECTIVE IS… Only four issues in, Lisa and I attended the annual global distribution conference (Distripress) in Toronto where we met with over 20 of our global distributors in two days of meetings. It was both crazy and cool that all these countries were so engaged and excited about the brand so early into the journey. And it hasn’t stopped ever since.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT COLLECTIVE HQ? I love it when my pal Benny is in the ofﬁce too – we play and play and annoy the team while they’re working. WHEN JESS (AKA MUM) IS AT THE OFFICE, WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO AT HOME…? I get into my night robe, lay by the heater and sleep all day. WE KNOW YOU ATE LISA’S LUNCH… ON TWO OCCASIONS. ANYTHING TO SAY FOR YOURSELF? Nope. *stretches, ﬁnds couch and lays down*
THIS YEAR, I’M DETERMINED TO… get my hands dirty by mastering the art of ceramics (inspired by a recent trip to Japan).
THIS MONTH… I got The Collective in front of a new audience by securing us a position on the shelves of Big W!
How banking can be
EDITOR’S LETTER Issue 24
to keep you kicking arse, on purpose and being the world changer you are meant to be. Back in Daylesford, to say I have fallen more in love with this community is an understatement. My love affair with it began right at the beginning of this journey because someone who has since become a dear friend of mine, Larissa Wolf-Tasker, stumbled across Issue 1 of The Collective and jumped on a plane the very next day to seek me out and proactively instigate a long partnership with us. While I was there this time, I met the effervescent artist David Bromley and his partner and fashion designer, Yuge Bromley. I have been a massive fan of David’s work for years and was thrilled to meet him, let alone bond so much that a beautiful collaboration would come to be underway. More on that later. (I am also now the proud owner of a beautiful
Any growth – for a business or a COMMUNITY organisation – is always because of the people in it and their POWER to work together.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SCOTT EHLER
’m writing to you from the beautiful Lake House in Daylesford, Victoria, where last night I had the most amazing evening with 60 local business owners. I was asked to speak on the power of collaboration, engagement and community. Well, that was a no-brainer as it’s one of my all-time fave topics and largely how we have grown The Collective community in such a short space of time. I bring this up because no matter how big and busy life can become, I personally love more than anything to spend time with groups of people in a single community who are inspiring and supporting each other to do extraordinary things. I have always been a big believer in the power of community, be that geographical or otherwise, and how we are truly better when we work together. Any growth – for a business or an organisation – is always because of the people in it and their power to work together for results far greater than they would achieve on their own. We can share collective wisdom, be accountable to each other, borrow motivation from each other, whip each other into line when we need it, share fresh perspectives, offer new ideas and be the people that support one another on those really terrible days. There is nothing like a supportive community around you
while, but also because it’s a reminder that we should never be afraid to be ourselves, follow our gut and do something that we believe in. So why Sarah Jessica Parker this time? Our plan is to shake things up all over the place and be freer with our cover choices and content generally. No more restrictions! So it might be a celeb this month and perhaps it will be a chair or a parrot next month. You’ll just have to wait and see. I promise to be quirkily unexpected and will rebel a little – or perhaps a lot! Sometimes we will be mainstream but what the hell, other times we won’t be (trust me, we have a few surprises up our sleeves for the next few months). Do you like the vertical cover lines on this issue?! I’m loving that we have SJP on this month’s cover (who wasn’t a Sex and the City fan back in the day?) for many reasons, and most of all because of the story. It explores one of the biggest decisions every business owner will make – should they partner with someone and if so, whom? Personally, I love SJP’s strength and independence on and off the screen and maybe that is why I’m drawn to her.
To mess with your MIND though, I thought the COVER lines should at least run vertical.
Bromley that is taking absolute pride of place in my home). Now, I just have to talk about last month’s cover – where we swapped a ‘household name’ for the image of a woman’s back just two days before going to print. Yeah, that one. That cover where I decided to say, “To hell with tradition” and do something different to shake things up, mess with people’s heads and challenge ourselves. Well, it was a huge risk and it could have backfired big time. But it didn’t. You loved it. The media loved it. And we love that you all did. We bucked tradition, subverted the status quo, challenged our own internal thinking, rebelled, got a little crazy and… made it all about you. We received so many of your very own cover stories and they were just as incredible, passionate and lifealtering as we expected. THANK YOU! See page 32 for some of our favourites. We had something like 450 shares of our cover, 8000 likes and more than 500 comments across social media within the first 24 hours. Our website crashed multiple times in the two days after launch from all the extra traffic and we were all left laughing at that – certainly a good problem to have. I loved it. I bloody loved it. Perhaps because it’s something I had wanted to do for a
Inside this issue we talk with the incredible thought leader Marianne Williamson (I especially loved her quote that there are no short-cuts to enlightenment); the world’s first self-made female billionaire, Sara Blakely, on the rise and rise of Spanx and where one goes after your business is an overnight success; Diane von Furstenberg on the process of seeing herself as a designer and businesswoman; and one of Australia’s most prominent living artists, Charles Billich. We talk lightbulb moments with businesswomen at the top of their game, discuss disruption with the co-founder of new hotel app HotelTonight and right at the end, there’s a piece from me about getting over yourself! That’s something I’ve learned the hard way but also feel I am qualified to talk about – no more excuses, it’s time to get out there and live that crazy, inspired life you were designed for. Until next time,
Founder + Editor-in-Chief
> COLLECTIVE LETTERBOX
Keep the comments coming. We love hearing how The Collective is affecting each of you every month and the stories you love best and why. So tweet, text, type away and let us know your thoughts.
This is just a little note of appreciation from a girl who has been reading The Collective since the beginning, and just landed her dream job thanks to the inspiration inside the pages. My mum passed the first issue on to me when I arrived to meet her on a holiday in Bali. She said she’d read it cover-to-cover on the plane and thought it would give me the inspiration I needed to make my next move. My second day into the holiday, it was raining so heavily that we were forced to stay indoors, so I started to read this so-called beacon of inspiration and hope – and before I knew it, three hours (and the pouring rain) had passed. I have re-read that magazine cover-to-cover so many times that it has started to fall apart – but it never ceases to give me a renewed sense of hope and certainty in myself. I have, of course, bought every issue since as well – but nothing quite compares to that moment when you find something that you truly love. Brittany Hendriks
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I loved Issue 23 of The Collective the moment I saw the front cover. I’ve been through some tough times lately and have managed to lose sight of my dreams. On the blank pages you supplied, I began to write. Not about my day or how I was feeling, but about my dreams. I managed to scribble down three pages of pure dreams. Things I wanted to accomplish, people I wanted to meet, places I wanted to go and the business I one day want to start, which I’m hoping won’t be too far away. I am only 17 years old but an inspiring little magazine called The Collective taught me that it’s always the right time to follow my dreams. Ruby Stuart
This month MOR are giving away a gift pack valued at AU$211.65, including: Correspondence Triple-Milled Soap 170g, Hand Cream 100mL, Hand & Body Wash 350mL, Body Cream 350mL, Soy Candle 250g, and Reed Diffuser 180mL in Kashmir Petals with a Destination Rome StandUp Case. To view the full Mor range visit morboutique.com or follow @mor_australia
Here is a new collectivehub magazine with #followmeto picture! Hope you will like it. @followmetraveller
Sitting in the Qantas Club looking forward to a mini-break to celebrate turning the big 4-0, I stumbled across The Collective. I immediately realised I had to buy a copy of this magazine. With imminent boarding, my priority was to buy my own copy, which I did. With my recent redundancy and soul searching, was I really happy working as a lawyer? Was it fulfilling me? I was mesmerised and inspired by each article I read – I was hungry to read more! Thank you, universe, for giving me The Collective at this time of my life. Bev Bennett Believe it or not, The Collective is the first mag I have read and gone through page-topage! I am in the midst of a start-up and this is just a perfect mag for inspiration. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly believe entrepreneurship is not just about finding a solution to a problem and turning it into an enterprise, but also a means to make a positive and powerful difference in the world. Vishal Patel
MY STORY | My story starts with a yellow trailer. I was nine. That’s my most vivid memory of where my journey of creativity began. It’s a funny tale of a girl who was a little awkward but loved to make things. When the corporate world didn’t let her make the things she wanted, she said sod that and did it on her own. @rainy_sunday_ Loving the new issue of the @collectivehub especially the read on @followmetraveller. @samanthakencisphotography
SPOTLIGHT: JACKI-LEE MUNCKTON OF JACK LEE AUSTRALIA WAS INSPIRED TO TAKE HER FASHION LABEL TO NEW HEIGHTS BY THESE VERY PAGES… The Collective is the only publication that inspires and enriches my life every edition. By making small, incremental changes to my professional and personal life, in its essence it makes me a better person. In my office, I have a 2015 inspirational mood board and a separate goal chart which outlines at a glance where my business is heading for the year and what I want to achieve. Both of these were suggestions that came directly from Lisa Messenger. Essentially, I love the inspirational attitude of what I read and I thrive on being a part of the entrepreneurial community. jackleeaustralia.com
Love this cover so much! I understand celeb covers sell issues but this one is just so beautiful! Lisa Godlee Absolutely loved the new issue. Great work for sticking to your guns and not putting a big-name celeb on the front cover and keeping the cover simple. Grabbed my attention immediately. The cover really lived up to what your mag is all about. Lauren Jones
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LISTEN UP! HANNAH BRONFMAN, DJ and founder of HBfit.com, is a serial ENTREPRENEUR who, at age 27, already has some sage advice for all women in business. WORDS TARA FRANCIS
HOW DID YOU START EACH VENTURE? Something that really helped me has been to set goals and timelines. I set aside three months to really understand each industry and do a full competitive analysis. It allowed me to assess whether that particular venture would make sense financially and be worth the year-and-a-half of my time, hard work, and dedication that I was about to put in. WHAT’S YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN WANTING TO BE ENTREPRENEURS? Don’t discuss your business plans with just anyone, be mindful of who you share your information with. Also, don’t go into business with just anyone. Just because someone shared the same idea as you for the venture doesn’t mean that you necessarily need that person. Don’t ever think you’re not capable. YOU FIRST DJ’D FOR CLINIQUE AND NOW YOU’RE AN AMBASSADOR FOR THEIR #FACEFORWARD CAMPAIGN. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE? d I’m hoping that the advice given through the #faceforward campaign will resonate with young women everywhere to be a more fearless version of themselves. YOU’RE NEVER IDLE LONG, WHAT NEXT? I’ve just started a non-profit called Seed Street which involves vertical hydro farms built in recycled shipping containers and we’re putting them in food deserts. We’ll have a curriculum to accompany the units to teach people about the importance of nutrition and will be emphasising the positive relationship you need to have with yourself and food.
FAVOURITE HOTEL? Hotel Monteﬁore in Tel Aviv
CURRENT BOOK ON THE NIGHTSTAND? Lean In [by Sheryl Sandberg]
BEST NEW APP YOU’VE USED? Wine ’n Dine
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OUT OF THIS WORLD
WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
Ten years ago, New Mexico-native Stella Maria Baer was feeling restless. “For some reason I felt compelled to make a painting of a tree planted in the sea,” shrugs the artist now shacked up in New Haven, Connecticut, with husband Seth and Fox, the sheepdog. She hadn’t painted before, but nevertheless drove to an art store and then home again hauling an easel, canvas and oil paints. “It was a terrible painting and I’m not sure where it is now,” she laughs. “But that was the first time I painted something.” And it wouldn’t be the last. A stint assisting contemporary artist Titus Kaphar (“The lessons I learned from Titus are endless, but the greatest one I think was the idea that work is something sacred”), a series of quirky animal paintings and backto-back commissions later, she’s now focused her attention upwards – with the sky proving anything but a limit. “During the years when I was painting animals, I was often ‘distracted’ by things that happened by accident… the colours bleeding into one another, the movement of paint in the water,” she says. Despite this, Stella forced herself to concentrate on the subject at hand. “As time went on, I decided I needed to explore the things I had dismissed as distractions – the moments in my painting that felt out of control and more like play than anything else.”
Then a photograph of a lunar eclipse changed Stella’s course, catapulting her into a realm of meticulously detailed moons, planets and celestial bodies. “In the sphere I found a balance of limitation and freedom, a way I could experiment with colour and bleeds within a space that felt both infinite and finite,” she says. This new subject matter was also reminiscent of scenes from her childhood in Santa Fe. “Painting moons and planets was a way to bleed out my memory of the desert while still moving into another place. There was a mythology of the desert that overlapped with the cosmology of space.” Back on the ground, her days begin early with a walk for Fox, followed by tea and yoga before hitting her light-filled, linseed oilscented (and bone and skull-scattered) studio. “I try to spend the morning and early afternoon painting, as that’s when I do my best work. Late afternoon I spend on the business side of things – shipping out prints and paintings, drawing up invoices [and] answering emails.” Things wind down with Seth playing guitar (serenading Fox) and cooking Stella’s favourites – of late that’s green-chilli stew and blue cornbread. While it sounds like something of a dream, Stella likens her craft – and her life – to “wrestling”. “A couple years ago I had a painting professor named Robert Reed who used to say that every painting is a struggle between what you want it to be and what the painting wants to be…” she says. “But every once in a while, something strange and unexpected happens, something beyond what I’ve planned or intended. In those moments, painting is like falling in love.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: STELLA MARIA BAER BY ABBY MORTENSEN OF LOVE ROOTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Seeking some ESCAPISM? We meet the ARTIST who’s PAINTED a path to the STARS.
F A S H I O N ,
S U R F ,
H E A L T H , A W A R E N E S S
C U L T U R E ,
S O C I A L
B E T T E R
B O H E M I A N
W A N D E R L U S T ,
C O N N E C T I O N , L I V I N G S O U L .
D F S M A G . C O M
D I S F U N K S H I O N M A G D I S F U N K S H I O N _ D I S F U N K S H I O N M A G
F O R
T H E
When we think of AID to Africa, MONEY is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This time, however, it’s YOGA and handstands – not handouts – that’s HELPING. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
It all started in 2006, when yoga teacher Paige Elenson was on safari in Kenya and came across a group of local acrobats doing handstands. Her knee-jerk reaction was to join them – a brief connection that would forever change her life. The acrobats invited her back to Kenya to teach them yoga and, after two trips, she decided to spread her yoga sessions further – to Kenyan youth – and create a movement that would last longer than a single lesson. Now there are 100 yoga teachers (the majority from under-developed areas in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and beyond), 300 free classes each week and 250,000 people saying a collective ‘namaste’ each year as a result of the Africa Yoga Project (AYP). SO, WHERE DO CLASSES HAPPEN? We give free yoga classes to youth groups (football teams, girls’ empowerment groups, arts groups), schools, orphanages, hospitals, jails, detention centres, special needs schools, HIV/AIDS support groups, rural Masai villages and many more. The majority of the populations we serve live off less than US$1 to US$2 a day. DOES THE COMMUNITY ITSELF INFLUENCE THE YOGA? Yes! Yoga brings people together. The word yoga literally means to yoke or come together or [have] community. We incorporate dance, business team building, recovery
WHAT ELSE HAPPENS BEYOND THE SUN SALUTATIONS? AYP supports an international mentoring program for all teachers, training in yoga teaching and other wellness skills, business skills training (finance, communications, etc), service opportunities, travel opportunities, camps, retreats and community building. HOW HAS HAVING YOGA IMPACTED THESE COMMUNITIES? We have seen an evolution in young people who participate. They find their excitement and passion through yoga. They also share their skills with their peers, which begins to change their communities and fosters a life of service and community building. Youth that are drawn to AYP are dynamic and creative young leaders, who sense there’s more available to them personally and professionally than the current status quo. Some young people came from informal settlements, where their way of life consisted of carjacking and robbing on a daily basis to feed their families. Others come from rural Rwanda, where they have been traumatised [from the genocide] and are still facing sleepless nights. And some young people are drawn to AYP in the hope of relieving back pain, sleeping better at night or losing weight. Yoga helps with all of these things but through AYP’s full range of programs, they also gain a greater sense of purpose, productivity and inner peacefulness.
IMAGES COURTESY OF AFRICA YOGA PROJECT
from trauma, children’s yoga, and many, many other community requests and styles… the AYP community has created its own sense of joy and fun, while based on the principles of Baptiste yoga.
In a world of constant CONNECTIVITY with social pressure to have friends – and lots of them – a Dutch restaurant is celebrating fine dining for ONE. WORDS TARA FRANCIS
PHOTOGRAPHY: JOEP NIESINK
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Every solo traveller knows the tone. It’s often one of pure shock, mixed with concern and a pinch of sadness thrown in for good measure. “A table for one?!” the maître d’ asks, face puzzled. If you somehow make it past the gatekeeper and, shock horror, to a table of your own, too often you’re treated not just to your meal but also an array of sympathetic looks from fellow diners who constantly glance over, thinking your companion must be stuck in one hell of a traffic jam. But there’s no shame in getting your grub on alone according to Dutch initiative EENMAAL, which has created the world’s first one-person restaurant. “Most people do not like [eating alone], sometimes they feel embarrassed or other diners are staring at you,” says EENMAAL founder Marina van Goor. “And restaurants are not fond of it – mostly they put you next to the toilet. A lot of businesspeople who are travelling alone prefer to stay in their hotel room and have dinner there to avoid the uncomfortable situation. “I chose to set up a restaurant because eating alone is the most
extreme form of feeling disconnected in our culture. It is socially not accepted since ‘dinner’ usually is one of the most extreme forms of togetherness,” she says. “I want to show that a moment of disconnection, by eating out alone, sitting alone, can be attractive, especially in our hyper-connected society. I am convinced that by breaking the taboo of eating out alone it’ll be easier to go out alone.” Initially created as a two-day pop-up restaurant, EENMAAL, set in a 17th-century canal house on the banks of Amsterdam, has had full tables for 18 months and its success seems far from waning. The simple, industrial-chic design with just 20 single-person tables doesn’t just host those travelling on their own, but locals wanting to escape the hassle of sharing meals, splitting bills or the incessant chatter from nearby diners that can so easily ruin a fine meal. Plus, with only one option of a luscious four-course meal, there’s no chance for food envy to creep in. And with a new line of champagne, chocolates and tea – all created in single servings – EENMAAL has mastered the moment of disconnection and the unapologetic joy of eating alone.
FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
THE COLLECTIVE x XERO invite you to Lennons Pool Terrace to join Australian experts in their field.
OCTOBER 1 2015 3 - 5pm
Join us at the trendiest poolside bar in Brisbane, to hear candid business lessons from some of the most admired minds in Australia. Our panel of prominent thought leaders will discuss challenges that small business owners are facing, sharing marketing advice based on their experience and learn how understanding your ďŹ gures is an essential skill for a successful small business owner.
FOR TICKETS VISIT COLLECTIVEHUB.COM
Lennons Pool Terrace & Bar Level 4 NEXT Hotel Brisbane 72 Queen Street, Brisbane Qld
PANELISTS: Lisa Messenger Editor-in-Chief, The Collective Declan Lee Owner, Gelato Messina Daniel Flynn Managing Director + Co-founder, Thankyou Group
DETAILS AU$49 per person
MC: Andy Lark CMO, Xero
WHY YOU NEED… A LEAFIER WORKSPACE WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
“There are so many benefits of ‘plantifying’ your workspace – I know plantify isn’t a word, but it should be,” says Tess Robinson, creative director and founder of Sydney-based design and brand agency, Smack Bang Designs. “Plants not only add visual charm to your environment, they’re known to spruce your psychological wellbeing and creative performance as well.” Tess’ five reasons to go green: PRODUCTIVITY PLUS Scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK conducted a series of experiments that proved plants improve creativity by 45 per cent and overall wellbeing by 47 per cent. The same study also showed that plants boost your ability to concentrate and focus, spurring further productivity. SAYONARA STRESS Increasing your leaf levels means decreasing your cortisol levels. Working surrounded by an indoor rainforest creates a peaceful, inspiring atmosphere that lifts moods and bolsters potential. It doesn’t take a genius to know that when a person is less stressed, they’re better able to handle their workplace duties. Less stress + more plants = increased employee productivity and job satisfaction.
30% of workers actually land their dream job, so says LinkedIn. Keen to join them?
TRY THESE TIPS: 1. Be passionate, above all else. 2. Plug your knowledge gaps. 3. Sell yourself, not your skills. 4. Try and ﬁnd the back door because one deﬁnitely exists. 5. Enlist a mentor for personal development, but one who’ll also have strong connections to help you with point 4.
QUALITY CONTROL The clean, green plant machines constantly work to purify the air around you. They absorb nasty pollutants and provide clean air, circulating fresh oxygen inside the office. Plants that go the extra mile to create a healthier workspace are English ivy, spider plant, bamboo palm, philodendron, weeping fig and dracaena. COMFORT ZONE Plants add moisture to the air and lower the temperature slightly. According to a study from Washington State University, plants can change the humidity level of an office environment to match the recommended comfort range of 30 to 60 per cent. ECO EARTH Taking care of your green friends on a regular basis reminds you of how important it is to care for Mother Earth. Unsure of where to start? Try bird of paradise, peace lilies or fiddle leaf figs. These indoor plants are super hardy and loyal, and they won’t die if you sometimes (always) forget to water them.
8 HOURS AND 41 MINUTES – how much time we spend on media devices every single day. Hmmm... that’s a bit more than we’re likely to sleep. Need help? No phone Saturdays. Switch off at dinner. Turn off your email notiﬁcations. Delete Candy Crush.
T R A D I T I O N A L LY U N C O N V E N T I O N A L France isn’t just a country; it’s a state of mind. An attitude, a style, a culture. Uniquely crafted from grapes, realised through ten botanicals – including the rare vine ﬂower – G’Vine gin is the quintessential expression of unconventional thinking, from grape to glass.
For Australian distribution visit HMHBeverages.com or call +61 412 610 473 Drink Responsibly
> COVER STORY / YOU
Last issue we asked you for YOUR STORIES. We were OVERWHELMED at your COURAGE and AUTHENTICITY. So let the cover story TAKEOVER begin...
> THIS IS YOUR MOMENT
WITH PHOTO JOURNALIST SARAH MCCOMB-TELFORD It all started when… My cousin and I were having lunch together at my parents’ house and without her looking at me, I took a photo of her with a strawberry in her mouth. It looked really cool and she actually loved the photo. Fiona then said to me, ‘Sar, you have always had a natural gift taking photos; you should do a course or something’. The next day I took her advice and did something about it; six months later I finished the course with high distinctions and was given the opportunity to stay at a friends’ house in a place called Calgary in Canada for a holiday, where a festival called the Calgary Stampede was to take place (chuck wagon races, live bands, rides and just an awesome week full of activities). As we walked through the front gates, I noticed a huge stage to the right of me where they were setting up for all the live music, so I ran down with my camera and pushed my way through the crowd and finally got myself to the front of the stage. I looked up and read the headlining act of the day – it was INXS. My heart started pounding because not only was I on my own in a sea of Canadian locals, but I was about to photograph one of my favourite Aussie bands, that I had listened to since I was a little girl. It was the most overwhelming experience… in my heart and soul I knew that this was the exact thing that I was supposed to be doing with my life, because it came so naturally to me and it made me feel so alive. Six months later, it was time to buy the equipment I needed and I was given the opportunity to freelance for New Idea magazine. Ten years later, I have now
It was the most overwhelming EXPERIENCE… in my HEART and SOUL I knew that this was the exact thing that I was supposed to be doing with MY LIFE.
freelanced for a number of magazines, photographed over 50 international live acts such as Beyoncé, U2, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Bon Jovi, One Direction, Elton John, Mötley Crüe, Billy Idol, Rihanna, Journey, PINK, Fashion Runway, red carpet premieres and the list goes on. Every time I photograph an artist or a live show it’s the biggest adrenaline rush and I just love what I do and am so lucky, but all I can say is that if you really do have a passion for something, and you know that you have been put on this earth for a reason, please don’t hesitate to follow your dream because I promise you, it was the best thing I ever did. Life is a huge journey of experiences but whatever you do, don’t rush it because it will lead you to what you should be doing. I’m living proof…
> JUST GET STARTED
> COVER STORY / YOU
WITH SWIMMING ARCHITECT, KARLIE PRICE
At the start of this year I put it out there to launch my first shop by year’s end. I have been selling my own label of shirts and dresses online for four years now and it was about time I got my brand out there in front of more women. How or when, I had no idea – I just knew it was my intention to grow the business. Eight weeks ago, changes occurred with my husband’s job, which gave us the freedom to move back to Sydney from Perth where we were living. I thought this was my opportunity to start my store, to move across country and set up shop. We found a place in Sydney and secured a shop not knowing if this was the right thing or the right time or the right price. Sometimes you feel the fear and you do it anyway. Against other people’s concerns that retail is down and it’s a bad idea to open your own store, that it’s risky, that it may not work – I’ve put myself out there, followed my dreams and I’m giving it a go. It’s been a complete shake up to my little old life in Perth. Sydney’s faster, bigger, louder and prouder and you have to keep moving or you’ll get crushed. Feeling completely overwhelmed with the massive task ahead of fit out, design, set up etc, I was feeling defeated, as though I’d made a mistake; that this wasn’t the right move. I was doubting my capability. I then stumbled upon a newsagency and saw Issue 23 [of The Collective] beaming at me. It’s so refreshing to know you are not alone and it’s people like us that shake the system, break the rules and make magic happen. By the time your next issue comes out, the shop in Balmain will be open.
> BE THE STORY-TELLER
WITH JENNIE GEISKER
Channel swimming is arguable the most unglamorous sport in the world. We purposefully gain weight in order to achieve our goal and prevent death due to hypothermia. It is also a lonely sport. Hundreds of hours are spent swimming alone in pools, lakes and oceans in order to prepare the body and mind for spending up to 16 hours alone in the Channel. Few swimmers have media coverage or sponsorship. For most of us, like myself, it is a personal accomplishment that drives us forward and motivates us to achieve the impossible. I am a married mum of four awesome kids aged 4, 8, 10 and 12. I am a self-employed architect and I have to find time to swim 30km to 40km a week. I set out to swim the English Channel in August 2014. It is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and the water is between 14 and 16 degrees Celsius. The swim is 34km in a straight line. Two years of training, hard work and sacrifices – not to mention 14kg of intentional weight gain. The day of the swim arrived and I was mentally and physically prepared. However, the Channel had different plans that day. The wind increasingly got worse and after 11 hours and 16 minutes of swimming, my boat pilot made the decision to abort the swim. It was dark at night and they could not see me between waves crashing over the boat. The wind was blowing 30 knots and safety of the swimmer always comes first. Due to tides and currents, I had swum 42km and I was only three miles from France. Life always give you another chance. I will have my day. I flew back to Australia and had surgery on my shoulder from injuries caused from swimming in rough conditions for those 11 hours. Two weeks later, I booked my next attempt to swim the Channel in August 2016. That is my story, until August 2016, when I will crawl up the beach in France, look back across the Channel to Dover and smile. >
> THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
> COVER STORY / YOU
A JOURNEY OF FOCUS, EDUCATION, PASSION AND DRIVE WITH NAT CROKER 2011: I was sitting in my Year 12 math class with no motivation to do my studies, no desires and a major F on my forehead. The only thing I dreamed about was being a part of the fashion industry. I wasn't sure why or how, but I knew that I wanted it. Forever scrolling through imagery on tumblr, forever dashboard reloading on Blogspot, I was lost and couldn't seem to find any direction. My careers advisor called up a fashion college in Sydney for me, they quoted AU$8000. With no VET fee help, it didn't seem like an option for me. 2012: I got accepted into a Sydney fashion college but… my parents just simply wanted me to get a full-time job somewhere, and the perception of fashion college didn't exactly scream success in their eyes, but I guess my dad saw something and agreed to pay the fees. 2013: I completed my marketing management class and found my passion for marketing. I completed a diploma in marketing as well, an internship at a modelling agency, volunteered at MBFWA, interned for another fashion agency and assisted a stylist on a photo shoot. I was 19 and I felt like I needed to know more, so I took the best and scariest (for a nonacademically gifted individual) step I’d ever taken: I applied for University. 2014: Everyone was so intelligent. Students talked about politics and current affairs and some didn’t even wear shoes. I was out of my comfort zone and realised these kids were my competition. I did a politics class. I realised for the first time that I was actually smart. I started a new internship at a startup online men’s retailer/styling business as a social media intern and applied for another.
2015: My last year of Uni and I'd spent the summer exploring Indonesia, reading my idol’s books. I decided to apply for an internship at her company. She was in New York and responded late at night. I couldn't believe it, I started in two weeks. I felt like I needed a knowledge advantage so I applied for another internship at a corporate PR firm. My tutors kept on saying the same thing over and over, my writing was too conversational and lacked academic tone. So I became the fashion columnist for my Uni magazine, just to pee them off a little more with my now-printed conversational tone and love for everything fashion. I got my first pay check from my internship, having worked at an event. It felt like things were beginning to pay off. My internship was looking for a receptionist/PA. I applied after two weeks of talking myself out of it. I got the job. I started Monday. Five part-time jobs, a certificate and diploma in both marketing and business and 10 internships later, I landed my first full-time job at my dream company. The first step in my career. Whether you think you are academically gifted or not, go to uni, get that ticket, apply for that internship, show determination, prove you’re passionate. Grasp every opportunity that comes your way with two hands and always look forward. Even the tiniest of goals we achieve today are the steps to our future. If you’re just an intern, keep going, you will embark on your career journey soon too. Your report may list P’s but in some employees eyes those P’s can be triumphed with another P: PASSION. Hope you enjoyed my story.
> NO MORE LOOKING BACK
We believe in the h creative ti spirit, pir the power of aesthetic and that moment of magic when art meets beauty With nationally recognised qualiďŹ cations in hairdressing, makeup and beauty therapy, experienced educators and mentors, and the opportunity to work with industry leaders on innovative projects in fashion, ďŹ lm/tv, art and events, the Australasian College Broadway can equip you with the skills and knowledge to live your dream
Be part of this progressive industry; take your art to new places; design your destiny The Australasian College Broadway - a launchpad for creative careers
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It’s a sad fact, but there are currently nearly 30 million Facebook accounts belonging to deceased individuals. It’s the last thing anyone wants to deal with when a loved one passes away, but there are businesses out there like eClosure, working in conjunction with email as well as various social media sites including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to remove or memorialise social pages. eclosure.com.au
LOVIN’ IT Be it AWESOME NEWS from LEGO, apps that’ll have you acing your next meeting or a dot that SAVES lives – we’ve got your next dose of curious and COOL covered. MARIOLY PORTRAIT: JESY ALMAGUER, STYLED BY MARIA MARIE
WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
START ME UP
The folk at Startup Vitamins aim to provide entrepreneurs with a daily (or for those who like their caffeine, perhaps hourly) dose of motivation. Launching in 2012, they’ve since splashed words of inspiration from industry leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Jason Fried across posters, mugs and T-shirts, placing their pearls of wisdom at hand (rather than at the bottom of the Internet abyss). startupvitamins.com
The bigwigs behind fashion label Zara have joined the likes of H&M and Topshop in declaring they’ll stop selling products made from angora, the wool spun from the under-hairs of angora rabbits that often makes its way into fuzzy jumpers. Pun intended, action applauded. zara.com
COLOUR MY WORLD
Marioly Vazquez has a bit of a thing for colour. The Mexico-based photographer and stylist behind Maria Marie has prettied up brands the world over, and has even created her own suggestion for a new Pantone hue – Confetti Pantone. “I’m always using the Pantone chips to create new colour combinations,” she tells us, “and one day I was so bored with the colours and wanted to find something new, so I started drawing the colours I wish existed in real life. I then decided to make them come to life. The first Pantone [image] I created was the Confetti Pantone – it is my favourite of all – and to this day I still hope that one day I will open a Crayola box and find a confetti Crayola.” mariamarie.com
LILLIE TOOGOOD OF GOOD&CO This New Zealand-born, Sydney-based designer has a knack for fusing fashion and art – and we’ve been (wander)lusting over her travel-pic-printed silk scarves.
In India, more women wear a bindi than not. It’s also estimated 350 million Indians suffer from iodine deficiency. That’s a random pairing of facts, we know. But there’s a link… the clever cats at Grey For Good teamed up with Talwar Bindi manufacturers and the Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center to create the ‘Life Saving Dot’ – a specially engineered iodine patch that looks exactly the same as your run-of-the-mill bindi but leeches iodine into a wearer’s body. It has since been doled out in medical camps across the continent and could be the country’s answer to a low-cost supplement at just 10 rupees for a pack of 30. Spot on, we say. facebook.com/LifeSavingDot
IN THE KNOW
This nifty meeting app does the stalking for you, connecting to your calendar and combing through hundreds of online sources before automatically sending you a cheat sheet on the person you’re about to meet. Who can attest that a few personal talking points in a business meeting can make the world of difference? A 2013 SXSW Accelerator finalist, the Charlie app claims to save you an average of 57 Google searches before each meeting (which is a few more clicks than we might usually do…). charlieapp.com
Here’s a fun fact – there are more than 90 times as many LEGO pieces as there are human beings scattering this earth. It’s good news then that the Danish maker of multi-coloured, miniature bricks is investing more than US$150 million to sustainably replace the oil-based plastics used in their creation (with the plan to completely replace these plastics in their products by 2030), and set up a Sustainable Materials Center at LEGO HQ. Having already reduced their packaging and ended a 50-year relationship with Shell Oil, everything at LEGO really is… awesome. lego.com
WHY DID TRAVEL PICS BECOME YOUR PRINT OF CHOICE? When I moved to London the photo marathon began and I went from documenting NZ, friends and social occasions, to focusing more on spaces, colours, neighbourhoods, architecture, street graphics and local people doing everyday things. When I moved to Sydney, my travel photos became a tool to be transported back to those foreign places... couch travel. My graphic design training lures me towards geometric patterns and shapes, turning a street scene almost into a repeat pattern – those transfer really well to textiles. WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACED WITH SCARVES? It was quickly obvious that I couldn’t make the scarves in Australia, unless I wanted them to retail for about AU$600 each (which I didn’t), so I had to look abroad for manufacturers [and] a clever colleague gave me some contacts in India. Manufacturing offshore means you have to pay for everything up front, in cash, before any orders have been paid for, so the risk is 100 per cent on me. Sending large amounts of cash off to [other] countries is pretty daunting too, but I have a great relationship now with all my manufacturers and had my first trip to India this year so I got to meet them all in their own workspace, which was amazing. ANY ADVICE FOR DESIGNERS ON A SIMILAR PATH? Get as much work experience in the fashion industry as you can, whether it is in a warehouse, head office, production, design, sampling... all of it counts. It is the best way to learn the ropes and get first-hand knowledge of the challenges involved, so you can apply them to your own business down the line. wearegoodandco.com
OR AS WE LIKE TO CALL THEM
“Fast Fashion’s Power Couple” Before discovering THE ENTOURAGE, Paris (16) was working in fast food and Lawrence (19) was working in the mines.
“We’re all for education - but education and school are a different thing.”
Just 8 months ago in December 2014, they moved quickly into the fashion world, selling bikinis at local markets. Since discovering our community they have moved online, focussed their vision and are taking on the world, now shipping Generation Outcast Clothing to over 25 countries. With the help of our world class advisors and the support of our community to help drive their ambition, Paris & Lawrence have gone from shifting stock in their garage to working with some of Australia’s trendiest labels including Reverse and Alive Girl. Using their youth to their advantage, their Instagram skills have generated a loyal following of over 100,000 fans to their handle @__outcastclothing. Call 1300 755 855 or visit our website to find out how
THE ENTOURAGE can help you create the life and business
of your dreams.
The Entourage is changing the world through a new kind of business education.
WHATCHA READING? We take a ride with Uli Beutter Cohen, the Instagramer who gets book reviews from strangers on the subway. HOW DID SUBWAY BOOK REVIEW COME TO BE? I couldn’t help but notice how many people read printed books on the subway and found that the subway is a literary microcosm. It made me very curious to find out who these people are, what they are reading and why. My mum taught me that talking to strangers is totally okay and a key ingredient for living an inspired life. I absolutely believe this to be true and find that the most interesting things can happen when you invite unexpected conversations into your life. So I went for it and started to strike up conversations on the subway with these strangers about their books. People were so happy to talk to me and the stories I heard were so good, I felt like they had to be shared. IS IT AWKWARD ASKING STRANGERS WHAT THEY’RE READING? I feel a rush every time I approach someone. But I take that as a sign that I’m excited and that it’s worth it. Luckily I performed improvisation comedy for a few years and have a background in conducting interviews professionally. I take that knowledge and apply it to Subway Book Review. For example: every opportunity has a certain window and once that window closes that opportunity will never come again. I remind myself that it’s not about me. It’s about the story and finding out whether it wants to be told. TOP THREE SO FAR? Books that have gotten a big response are Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I personally think that Ocean’s review of Super Nature Encyclopedia was top notch and needs to get at least an honourable mention. subwaybookreview.com @subwaybookreview
HAVE SOMETHING COOL TO SHARE WITH US? send your ideas this way: email@example.com
The cool kids at Penny Skateboards recently got in touch with news of the latest addition to their “rolling range of fun” – the Painted Fades Collection. Sporting an ombré effect inspired by surfboard art (and like every Penny before them) these boards are crafted from high-quality raw materials and mould uniquely to the rider’s style, so we can keep rollin’ rollin’ rollin’… pennyskateboards.com
Word of mouth reigns supreme, with Nielsen finding 92 per cent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. New social platform Recomazing harnesses this power, helping small-business owners (listen up!) get targeted exposure by enabling friends to find, make and share business recommendations (or ‘recos’) to their social media network. You heard it here first… recomazing.com
FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
THE COLLECTIVE x XERO invite you to Melbourne’s iconic Panama Dining Room to hear from inspiring business minds
B O U R NE
SEPTEMBER 3 2015 DETAILS AU$49 per person 3 - 5pm Panama Dining Room Level 3, 231 Smith Street Fitzroy Vic MC: Andy Lark CMO, Xero PANELISTS: Lisa Messenger Editor-in-Chief, The Collective Sarah Hamilton CEO, Bellabox Salvatore Malatesta Owner, St ALi
Join us for an afternoon of sparkling wine, canapés and conversation with some of the leading business minds in Australia. Discover how these entrepreneurs overcame many challenges to become the success stories they are today, learn about their unconventional marketing methods and how understanding your ﬁgures is an essential skill for a successful small business owner.
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SHOP THE Books, stationery and exclusive collabs
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D VF the incredible
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
She gave us the wrap dress and is CONSISTENTLY named one of the worldâ€™s MOST POWERFUL women. Yet for many years, this FASHION ICON struggled to call herself a designer, let alone a BUSINESSWOMAN. WORDS SARAH OWEN
IMAGE COURTESY OF DVF, PHOTO BY THOMAS WHITESIDE
er admission comes as a shock. “In the beginning, you know, I never thought of myself as a designer,” says Diane von Furstenberg. “I was just a woman trying to make dresses for other women.” That, coming from the person Newsweek branded as “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel” back in 1976; who has since become an undeniable fashion influence the world over with designs sold in more than 85 stores across 70 countries; who once ‘sat’ for Andy Warhol; is the face of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and, arguably, is the quintessential embodiment of the American dream. “I had always seen the wrap dress and its success as something that paid all of my bills, that gave me my independence,” Diane tells The Collective in an exclusive interview. “This year, I started to realise how much it has meant to other women. So that has been very exciting.” Born in Belgium, Diane spent most of her youth between England and Switzerland (attending boarding schools in Oxford and Lausanne and studying Spanish for a year at the University of Madrid) before venturing off to New York in 1969 – 22 years old, pregnant and with no real design experience – guided only by her first husband, Prince Egon von Furstenberg. (Their marriage, lasting three years, incidentally crowned her a princess.) “One day I was carefree and working in the factory and then all of a sudden I was pregnant, engaged and moving to America, so I knew very quickly that I needed something of my own,” says Diane, who worked under Italian textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti in the late 1960s. “I convinced [Angelo] to let me make a few dresses and sell them in America. It started with a few dresses and a wrap top. The wrap dress came a couple of years later, inspired by the wrap top like the ones ballerinas wore, and a matching skirt.” To this day, buyers continue to dictate that the iconic dress is as relevant today as it was 40 years ago when Diane first created the soft jersey, deep-cut V-neck shape. The secret? Equal parts sexy and practical, she says, and also getting it in front of legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland who was instantly taken by the dress. Officially launched in 1974, the wrap dress would go on to sell millions, and inspire the travelling ‘Journey of
That was sort of like playing out a FANTASY. I chopped off all of my hair and moved to PARIS and STARTED a publishing house, but after a while it did not FEEL like who I really was.
a Dress’ exhibit. To add to its success, the cultural phenomenon now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution and is worn by celebrities and fashion influencers such as Madonna, Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama. “I didn’t foresee its success,” says Diane. “I really just wanted to make a dress that I would wear. But it turned out to be something a lot of women wanted to wear, and still do. The wrap dress is timeless. It is flattering, sexy, easy and sophisticated. Women feel an emotional connection to that dress. That is a very powerful thing.” On deep emotional and personal connection, Diane has always harboured her own. Her mother survived 13 months in the Auschwitz and Ravensbrück concentration camps in
IMAGE COURTESY OF DVF, PHOTO BY PETER LINDBERGH. RUNWAY IMAGES COURTESY OF SNAPPER MEDIA
the months before Diane was born. When freed, she reportedly weighed just 59 pounds (26.7kg). “My mother was a very important influence and she continues to inspire me,” says Diane. “She always told me that she survived in order to give me life and I have tried to carry that torch and honour that in everything that I do.” Taking a hiatus from fashion in the ’80s, Diane relocated to Paris to establish a French-language publishing house along with a few other ventures, including a line of cosmetics and a home-shopping business, funded by her newly achieved capital. “That was sort of like playing out a fantasy. I chopped off all of my hair and moved to Paris and started a publishing house, but after a DVF ON… while it did not feel like who I really was,” she says. “I missed COLLABORATING WITH New York. I missed fashion. I FAST FASHION felt like I couldn’t really express I never say never. I think collaborations are a great way to step outside of your myself, and so I moved back and comfort zone. started again.” Her return to New York WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY was even more powerful than I think it is very exciting and has the potential to change the way we see imagined with the company the world, literally and ﬁguratively. reigniting in the ’90s, focusing on marketing the wrap dress to a HER BEST ADVICE whole new generation of women. Know who you are and be true to that. “I re-launched with the dress The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. If you have that started it all. All of the that, and you work hard, everything young models were buying them else will follow. up in the vintage shops, so I thought why not?” body image within the industry]. We have also begun It was during this time that she a manufacturing initiative to revitalise New York’s also reunited with media mogul Barry Diller, whom garment district and will continue to foster dialogue she’d met in 1975 and dated for five years, and who and action around the most important issues. would become her second (and current) husband in “I love making things happen. It is so important to 2001. Shortly after Diane was awarded the Lifetime be curious; that is where innovation comes from.” Achievement Award by the Council of Fashion Now a symbol of female empowerment and Designers of America (CFDA) in 2005, she was freedom, Diane adds that business-smarts are just as bestowed the role of presidency for the prestigious crucial to success. organisation. “For a long time, I didn’t think of myself as a “It is a great privilege to be the president businessperson. I was always the creative side of the of the CFDA. It has given me the incredible business but now I see it differently. You have to opportunity to support American designers and to understand both sides.” be a champion for young talent. We are really like But with change and progression comes reflection, family,” she explains. which Diane has used to make way for the new. “We have also tackled issues within the industry “2014 was all about getting back to our roots, during my tenure and I am so proud of our work celebrating the past and the wrap dress,” she says. with Vogue on the Fashion Fund, which supports “2015 is all about the future and looking ahead. It’s emerging designers, and also of the strides we have about focusing on design and bringing all of those made on issues like design piracy and with our beautiful things on the design boards to life.” health initiative [encouraging a healthier approach to
SPANX IN STATS WORDS AMY MOLLOY
OWNERSHIP: 100 per cent owned by Sara Blakely INVESTORS: None ANNUAL REVENUE: US$250 million PROFIT MARGIN: 20 per cent DEBT: None STAFF: 194 (32 men) VALUATION: US$1.1 billion
> THE COLLECTIVE
hen a newcomer joins team Spanx and has their first face-to-face meeting with founder Sara Blakely, she tells them to close their eyes – just as she tells me to do during our interview. It’s certainly disconcerting but there’s a method to her mind game. “Close your eyes and think, if no one showed you how to do your job, how would you be doing it? Sit quietly and think about that,” she says seriously. “Because when you do think about it, everything we do in life is because we’ve been shown how to do it by someone else or taught how to do it someone else’s way. If you can stop that autopilot for a second and see what surfaces, the chances are you’re going to come up with a much better way that makes far more sense and you think – why aren’t more people doing it this way?” It’s a mental exercise the Spanx founder also practises herself regularly, trying to time-travel back to a point in her entrepreneurial journey when she knew absolutely nothing about fashion – yet decided to challenge the industry regardless. “I always tell people that what you don’t know can become your greatest asset if you let it,” she says. “At the start, I had no idea how it was supposed to be done in traditional business – how to set it up, how to run it, how to borrow money. I was just very connected to my gut instincts and I feel like that worked to my advantage.” This is why, despite now having 15 years’ worth of
experience, she purposefully tries to downplay her knowledge and mentally erase her know-how – at least when brainstorming. Does she actually feel like her newfound knowledge can be detrimental? “Yes I do,” admits Sara. “I feel that when you get in touch with how you should personally do something without any other noise from people telling you how it should be done, that’s when you’re the most likely to do something different – and amazing.” It’s been over a decade since the door-to-door fax machine saleswoman, who was doing stand-up comedy gigs at night (and who failed the LSAT exam twice), burst onto the retail scene with her first (and what she thought would be her only) product – Footless Body-Shaping Pantyhose – which were born out of frustration because she couldn’t find any comfortable and flattering underwear to wear under her white jeans. Since then, the story of Spanx has become the stuff of start-up legend – how she turned US$5000 in savings into a global brand with more than 200 products sold in more than 50 countries, and which is now run out of an imposing 86,000 square-foot headquarters in Atlanta. At 44 years old, the entrepreneur has the wide, blue eyes, pep and liveliness of an American cheerleader, yet, at her very core, is a hard-nosed businesswoman (unwilling to dish out US$3000 for a patent attorney in the early days, Sara spent weeknights at the library researching pantyhose patents before writing one herself – her mum, an artist, sketched the original product drawing). But today we’re not here to talk about the early struggles of shoestring brand building. Instead, we want to tackle a less talked-about topic – how do you take what could have easily been a fad and turn it into a long-term, sustainable business empire? “Well, it’s funny, I never consciously thought ‘how can I expand the brand?’” admits Sara. “I literally invented the first product to serve myself. But, what started as a one-product idea to open up my opportunity to wear white, became a crusade and a passion to create products that were easier to make and more comfortable than the industry was doing. The rest has been a delightful surprise.” >
IMAGES COURTESY OF SPANX
Close your EYES and think, if no one SHOWED you how to do your JOB, how would you be doing it?
It’s at this point in every Sara Blakely profile that one name usually pops up – Oprah – who in 2000 named Spanx as her product of the year, skyrocketing sales overnight. To credit the television host with the brand’s success is oversimplifying the equation, because one celebrity endorsement plus 7 million viewers might equal an instant success, but surely it’s only a savvy business plan that can keep the momentum going? “It’s really my customers who have guided me,” says Sara. “When I first went out to sell my products, I was standing in department stores all day, every day. I’d literally be in changing rooms with women who’d give me the next idea for the next invention. Why isn’t there a short without a leg band on the side? Why isn’t there a comfortable backless bra? That’s really how we’ve grown throughout the years.” The word ‘conquered’ might better describe the Spanx evolution. The range has expanded from footless tights into bodysuits, swimwear, workout wear and even a men’s range. More recently in 2014, they released a range of denim, but even this wasn’t over-strategised. “With the denim line we didn’t do a lot of market research,” says Sara. “I am my own customer and was frustrated by the bulk buttons and zippers on jeans when I tried to wear a delicate top over them.” At least three times a day, a woman on the street flashes her Spanx at Sara (“it’s like a secret handshake”) and Michelle Obama is a fan, saying at a recent press conference, “We all wear them with pride.” But with great power (panties) comes great responsibility and Sara admits that, just because she no longer has to worry about how to pay her mortgage, it doesn’t mean there aren’t new challenges. On a personal note, after launching Spanx, Sara has since had three children (with husband Jesse Itzler) – and they aren’t her only dependents. There’s also her hundreds of employees.
“For a long time we were a very lean team – no pun intended – and I think it’s easy in a company that’s growing very rapidly to not be as on top of building infrastructure. I read a title of a book recently that was [along the lines of], ‘What got you here might not be what gets you there’, and I think that sums it up perfectly. The processes, team and talent that might have been right for the business two or three years ago might be very different today.” One of the biggest, newest challenges she’s had to deal with are competitors. In 2013 another American shapewear brand, Yummie Tummie, sent a cease and desist letter to Sara claiming Spanx tank tops infringed on its patents. Eventually a judge dismissed the case but it took two years to do so. Yet, despite this, Sara is happy to welcome competition (as long as there’s no theft) and even dedicates a portion of her time and profits to support other budding start-up founders. Her charity, The Sara Blakely Foundation, has donated around US$24 million to support education and female entrepreneurship. “I take my responsibilities very seriously, especially in regards to how I can serve a greater role to help women. The money I make is an extra bonus as I’m in a position that I have money that I can share with other people on their journey,” she says. “In my experience, money holds a magnifying glass up to you. So, if you were generous before, you become more generous, if you were insecure you become more insecure, and if you were not nice you become even less so. I think a lot of people use money as a scapegoat and say that it’s the root of all evil, but I don’t subscribe to that mindset at all. It just makes you more of who you already are.”As a ragsto-riches role model, Sara says she’s approached by between five and 10 strangers a day “through emails or at a restaurant or in a parking lot or at my hair salon” who want to know how they too can make it.
For a long time we were a very LEAN team – no pun intended – and I think it’s easy in a company that’s GROWING very rapidly to not be as on top of building INFRASTRUCTURE.
> THE COLLECTIVE
“I’ve become very good at noticing if people have a negative view around success and money,” she says. “For some people it’s subconscious. They might have an Uncle Louie who came into a lot of money and became a real jerk, so then they think money makes you a jerk. I think it’s one of the biggest roadblocks. A lot of work needs to be done with people getting connected and questioning whether they really think they deserve money and are worthy of success.” This was not a mindset Sara personally had to shift as an adult because long before the idea for Spanx, she learned to dream big in the wake of hardship. “I had two tragedies happen to me when I was younger and they were crucial to my journey,” she says of the death of her best friend at 16, who she witnessed being hit and killed by a car, and the deaths of two of her high-school prom dates shortly after. “These tragedies caused me to start listening to [the self-help author] Wayne Dyer. At the age of 16 I was listening to his tapes and I remember one series in particular was called, ‘How to be a Nolimit Person’. “It was so impactful to me at that point in my life when I was down and needed support. I learned the power of positive thinking and started believing in myself and manifesting and visualising my future.” Interestingly, more than a decade before the Oprah appearance, a young Sara used to imagine herself appearing on the show, sitting on the television host’s couch, although in her fantasies she didn’t yet know what they’d be talking about (“I knew I’d fill in the blanks later”). So, as Spanx moves into its 16th year, now well and truly out of the teething phase and into rebellious adolescence, is there any point asking what her five-year plan is? “Oh, I think I’ll let my customers decide,” says Sara. “Although I do want to invent a comfortable pair of high heels, so a Spanx shoe line might be on the horizon. I just know that since I was a little girl I’ve felt this was somehow my destiny – that I was going to help women. I just didn’t know I was going to start with their butts. That one really caught me off guard, but turned out to be a great place to start.”
IMAGES COURTESY OF SPANX
I’ve become very good at NOTICING if people have a NEGATIVE view around success and money.
WAKING UP WITH
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON “There’s NO SHORTCUT to enlightenment.” No one dishes out wise words (and tough love) quite like MARIANNE WILLIAMSON. Just ask Oprah… WORDS HANNAH SILVERTON
PHOTOGRAPHY: MATTHEW ROLSTON
> THE COLLECTIVE
t’s Tuesday night and, in the name of research, I’m watching YouTube videos of Marianne Williamson on repeat. What on earth do you ask the woman who Oprah herself turns to for spiritual counsel? Will my questions be profound enough? Just as the fears of inadequacy begin to run riot through my mind, the words Marianne has arguably become most famous for pop into my inbox: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Penned in her 1992 New York Times bestseller, these two lines are commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela and, when I bring it up the next morning, Marianne doesn’t seem too fazed, implying she’s merely a portal for someone’s (or something’s) much higher message, anyway. (Despite being Jewish by birth and upbringing, when Marianne speaks of God and other theological terms, it isn’t in a religious way, but as symbols of what she considers universal truths.) It’s been nearly 40 years since Marianne first stumbled upon A Course in Miracles, the set of three blue books that would ultimately transform her life and shape her career. Fifteen years later, she wrote her reflections on them in A Return to Love, which went on to have a similarly transformative effect on many others, racing to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Later, Marianne would be listed by Oprah as her favourite author of all time.
“Actually, I don’t think I thought of myself at that time as even wanting to write books…” says Marianne of her days as a lost and confused 20-something working in a bookshop in Houston. “It took me a while to get pregnant with the idea, let alone give birth to it.” In the decades since, Marianne’s been at the forefront of the self-development world. What was then a baby-boomer subculture is now an ubiquitous multibillion dollar industry. But surprisingly, she’s not as critical of this commercial development as you might expect. “I think that a universal spiritual search has become a mainstream cultural impulse and this is a very good thing,” says Marianne. “There are those who would argue that turning the search for enlightenment into a pop culture phenomenon makes it appear all too easy. But it’s better that it comes across as all too easy than it comes across as all too hard. We all enter through different doors but the point is to enter and all new doors should be celebrated.” Marianne has her fair share of pop culture fans with Nicole Richie, Eva Longoria and other Hollywood royalty among her avid supporters; their endorsements forming a significant feature in her 2013/2014 campaign for California’s 33rd congressional district. Bridging the spiritual and political spheres proved to be no painless task, but coming fourth in the race certainly hasn’t diminished her devotion to progressive politics; if anything, she’s sticking with her mandate even more, saying during her campaign, “If you know what changes a heart, you know what changes the world.” Becoming known for speaking with unwavering conviction, there’s an unshakable calm balanced with a sense of urgency in her messaging, which seems
to have intensified over time and age. “It’s counter intuitive, the older you get theoretically you shouldn’t care as much because you won’t be here 40 years from now,” says Marianne. “But it doesn’t work that way. The older you get, the more you are concerned for future generations. I also think that at this particular time, no matter how old you are, a conscious person should be able to see the urgency of this moment. “Our entire civilisation is organised according to economic principles rather than humanitarian principles,” she says of the greatest risk currently faced by humanity. “As a species, we’ve made money, rather than love, our bottom line.” Over the years, in response to society’s “unsustainable” direction, Marianne’s voice has become even more fervent. “Unsustainable is not an ugly enough word. It means if we continue in that direction, the system will crash… period.” Unlike the flower-crown-wearing, dreamcatcher-making camp that many cynics may group her with, a poised, suited and candid Marianne clearly doesn’t put a rose tint on anything that doesn’t deserve it. She’s a straightshooting Texan after all. >
Unsustainable is not an UGLY enough word. It means if we CONTINUE in that direction, the SYSTEM will crash… period.
But her global perspective is not all doom and gloom. Marianne grants there’s much to be hopeful about at this moment in history, especially in the revival of grassroots, communitybased initiatives like the Wake Up Project, which she partnered with for a series of events in Australia recently. Despite being a celebrated orator and leader herself, Marianne insists, “This is not the age of the soloist, this is the age of the choir. “The kind of collective change of heart and real revolution of love that’s so necessary now does not rest on a few individuals, it rests on a field of consciousness emerging… it’s an allhands-on-deck type of moment and every one of us needs to see ourselves as responsible for doing our part.” There’s no doubt Marianne has been trying to play her part. Alongside her hefty professional commitments, Marianne has invested a vast amount of energy into founding three socially minded organisations: Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that grew of out the 1980s AIDS crisis; Sister Giant, a series of conferences encouraging women to run for political office; and The Peace Alliance, a not-for-profit based on her ongoing interest in the intersection of spiritual values and politics. As for that intersection, Marianne says she remains “deeply convinced that there’ll be no outer peace until inner peace becomes a more consistent goal amongst more of us”. So how does she suppose we reach that goal? Meditation. Regular, nonnegotiable, show-up-no-matter-howyou’re-feeling meditation. Not just a dabble here and there when you’re at a spa in Mexico, but a practice integrated into your daily routine and way of life. There are no shortcuts, she asserts. “Enlightenment is not a ‘how to’. Enlightenment is not three easy steps. I think we lack humility towards God,
toward source, towards the divine when we’re looking for ‘can you just give me three little things I can do?’ “Spiritual exercise is like physical exercise, you never get to stop. So if I’m not working on keeping my muscles up, my muscles are headed down. If I’m not working on keeping my thought forms up my thought forms are headed down. I don’t get to look in the mirror and say, ‘Well, I like the way my body looks so I don’t have to exercise anymore’. Until we get to the point of total enlightenment – a point I have not reached – I don’t get to say, ‘Well I’m peaceful and loving today so I don’t have to meditate anymore.’” And with addiction to instant gratification in the 21st century – or as she calls it, “this assault of modernity” – Marianne believes ancient wisdom traditions like meditation are more crucial than ever. “There’s this barrage of meaningless information that’s coming at us all the time in today’s world… You wake up in the morning and you take a bath, you
take a shower. Why? Because you don’t want to take yesterday’s dirt on your body into the day. Well, if you don’t pray and you don’t meditate you are taking yesterday’s stress into the day. If you wake up in the morning and you turn on the TV or the news or computer, then you’re not only taking yesterday’s stress from your life but the lives of people from all over the planet. Without [meditation] we’re all bound to be a bit ADD... distracted and unfocused. And that’s not a very creative way to live, it’s a very stressful way to live. And so whether you’re writing a book or doing anything else, your creative capacity will be greatly diminished.” According to Marianne, a creative miracle is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask for, receive and acknowledge, and she talks of them like they’re a normal, everyday occurrence. For Marianne and other A Course in Miracles devotees like Gabby Bernstein, Wayne Dyer and Robert Holden, miracles are not confined to supernatural phenomena, but often the most natural things in the world, like a bud turning into a flower. “Look outside the window, look at anything happening, the world is clearly filled with miracles,” she says, before adding that miracles are simply shifts in our perception, though that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “If it were easy, we’d all be enlightened masters.”
Look outside the window, look at anything happening, the WORLD is clearly filled with MIRACLES.
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THE #IRL WORLD OF
INSTAMEETS The world’s biggest IMAGE SHARING platform is encouraging CREATIVES to step away from the computer and CONNECT OFFLINE. So, what happens next? WORDS FIONA MACDONALD
INSTAGRAM PHOTOGRAPHY: @ANNEIS, @PAVK, @THERUBYCANVAS, @AARONLINDQUIST, @CAITLINP11, @JAMESGUERRISI, @LIL_B29
t’s a cold Sunday morning in Sydney and I’m about to walk along a cliff with a bunch of strangers from the Internet. Surprisingly, the most frightening part about this whole scenario is what to wear. I’m about to take part in my first ever InstaMeet – a series of catch-ups between Instagram users around the globe – and this one just happens to be co-hosted by one of the world’s top street-style photographers, Lee Oliveira. So, no pressure. As recently as five years ago, it was seen as odd, even reckless, to meet up with online contacts. But very quickly, forming reallife relationships with people that we’ve met online is becoming commonplace. We now network on LinkedIn, meet dates on Tinder and find our housemates through Facebook. And so when it comes to meeting other creative thinkers, what better place to look than the world’s biggest image sharing platform? “People take to Instagram every day to share their passions, tell stories and capture the world as it happens around them,” explains Kristen Joy Watts, the New York-based fashion lead for Instagram, who oversees the brand’s art and fashion content. “Our goal is to see this continue and grow as new creative communities emerge.” Although people have unofficially been getting together to bond over their shared love of beautiful images since the early days of Instagram, the social media platform actively started encouraging the practice in March 2011, when the first Worldwide InstaMeet was held – a day where people around the planet got together with other Instagrammers to take photos of their city. More than four years later, and the company has organised 11 official global InstaMeets and now holds them across three to four weekends a year. Instagram says these once informal, offline community catch-ups have become an integral part of the company’s strategy. “Community is at the centre of everything we do. Even our first hire was a community manager,” says Kristen. “Our role is to ‘treasure hunt’ and find the most unique, creative and authentic ways people around the world are using Instagram. When we find these treasures we want to share them with many people,
An InstaMeet simply means that someone will post on Instagram, INVITING their followers to meet them so they can take pictures together and CONNECT, explore and celebrate their creativity. so we work to highlight them on our blog where the rest of the community can discover them too.” The most recent Worldwide InstaMeet, earlier this year, was the biggest to date, involving events in the US, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Australia and Malaysia. But although those global events get the most attention, smaller localised InstaMeets are happening all the time – people just have to pick a date, time and hashtag and let people know through the map on the Instagram Community page. “An InstaMeet simply means that someone will post on Instagram, inviting their followers to meet them so they can take pictures together and connect, explore and celebrate their creativity,” says Kristen. This is the case for the one I’m attending, alongside some of Lee’s other 346,000 Instagram followers, which was open to absolutely anyone who wanted to come along. “When Instagram approached me to host something, I definitely wanted it to feel like anybody who follows me could join in; a less formal environment,” says Lee, who takes street-style shots for the New York Times. >
Follow PARTNERS, spokespeople, advocates and INFLUENTIAL members of the community whose STORYTELLING may relate to yours.
INSTAGRAM PHOTOGRAPHY: @LEGOJACKER_02, @DAWA_LHAMO, @CHINGSTER, @LEEOLIVEIRA, @DAWA_LHAMO, @MARK_PC
“Bondi was the perfect spot,” he smiles. When it comes to location, Instagrammers seem to favour the extreme. Other notable InstaMeets have been held underwater at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, on a frozen lake in Russia, inside New York dive bars and even at a busy Mumbai train station. There have also been some more high-profile events (like backstage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York) or in Indonesia – the country that generated 25 per cent of all worldwide photos in the 11th meet-up – where then-first lady Ani Yudhoyono hosted her own event. The Obamas even opened the White House’s doors during a global meet-up this year, giving 20 lucky Instagrammers unusual access and a special tour with the president’s official photographer, Peter Souza. But although the celebrity drawcard at InstaMeets is strong, from a business point of view, these communities can also be extremely powerful. While there are no official stats on just how valuable this type of engagement can be for small businesses, Tourism Queensland is one example of an organisation to have had success, generating more than AU$3.7 million in earned media from their meet-up. Tourism bodies in the Northern Territory, Tasmania and Victoria have now followed suit and hosted their own InstaMeets. Kristen believes that Instagram meet-ups, whether official or not, have huge potential for entrepreneurs, particularly those who want to build a community around their brand. Her advice for business owners is to use the platform to engage like-minded people. “Follow partners, spokespeople, advocates and influential members of the community whose storytelling may relate to yours,” she suggests. “And consider meeting other Instagrammers
in person, whether by attending an InstaMeet or asking someone out for a coffee.” But just like anyone who uses the platform, she explains that it’s crucial to stay authentic and remember why you’re doing it. “It’s about connection and creativity,” she adds, not selling a product. On our walk, Lee may be the personality that brings everyone together, but it quickly becomes apparent that this is all about the photography. It turns into a free-for-all shoot on the rocks of Bondi Beach, with people posing for each other’s photos and then there’s the endless borrowing of clothes and accessories or whatever people have with them (hint: take a dog to an InstaMeet to instantly become the most popular attendee). There’s no apologising for taking 10 minutes to set up your Instagram shot with this group, everyone is here to seek their own unique vision of beauty. “That’s been the best part, bringing together all these creative people,” says Lee over coffee afterwards. Kristen agrees the relationships built on the day are perhaps the biggest reason to hold InstaMeets at all. “They’ve brought people together who live in the same communities but wouldn’t have met otherwise. They’re a source of creative inspiration and collaboration and an excuse to get out and explore someplace new,” she explains. “When I was in Moscow, I met a 14-year-old Instagrammer named Irena who had organised an InstaMeet in Moscow with 200 attendees. It’s amazing that such a young, creative woman is able to cultivate and engage a community in this way.” After all, at the heart of social media is the desire to find connection and inspiration. And we may finally be working out how to transfer that feeling offline.
INSTA ME, INSTA YOU HOST YOUR OWN INSTAMEET… PICK YOUR LOCATION WISELY – you want to be able to perform an activity, such as a short walk, with the group. There needs to be plenty of photo opportunities and maybe an end point to meet up at and debrief after everyone has finished their shoots. CHOOSE THE PERFECT TIME – if going to a city, Sundays are nice and quiet, but if you’re going bush, the golden hour (the last hour of sunlight) creates a glowing backdrop.
SET UP A HASHTAG – something short and to the point. CREATE AN INFOGRAM – use the Over app to create an image of the area you’ll be going to, which is overlayed with text including the location, date, time and hashtag.
PROMOTE THE EVENT – through Instagram, obviously, but also any other community groups or social media sites. Make it easy for your followers to regram or share the details by keeping the infogram in a public Dropbox file. DEBRIEF – after the event, make sure there’s somewhere for you all to relax, share photos and handles so you can all stay in touch.
Do you need to be LOUD to be a GOOD LEADER? Or is it possible to still get the word out when you have a SMALL voice? We ask some shy CEOs how they THRIVED in the SHADOWS. WORDS AMY MOLLOY
“But from the start I decided not to position myself as the focal point of the business, which is why I didn’t name the company after myself or seek personalityfocused publicity.” This reluctance to step into the spotlight wasn’t because he couldn’t overcome his shyness, but because he has chosen not to. “I have seen that those types of CEOs ntrepreneur James can actually be a problem for a company Ransome has one as nothing can happen without them,” Facebook friend. Yes, explains James. “Whereas I like to see one. But last year his company, The Spicery, others take the initiative. I don’t feel the turned over £1.4million need to dominate it in the way that a loud extrovert might.” in sales, up nearly When it comes to personality types, 40 per cent on 2013. So what does his James is the ying to the yang of bignumber of Facebook friends have to do business founders like Nick Woodman of with his revenue stream? Nothing, in GoPro who’s been affectionately dubbed theory – but there’s a common belief the ‘mad billionaire’ for his adrenaline that louder, more outgoing extroverts get ahead in business. James, by his own junkie antics, which he captures on video. admission, is no such thing. “I would describe my characteristics as quiet and calm,” he says. “I only ever wanted to make the product the star. From the start, I didn’t ever try to position myself as the focal point of the business.” In fact the elusive entrepreneur is so reluctant to step into the spotlight that, according to his In recent years, a number of highpublicist, James even “got a bit cross” profile CEOs have ‘outed’ themselves as when a photograph of him was splashed across a Sunday newspaper – even though introverts. Guy Kawasaki, the former chief evangelist of Apple, known widely as the the article praised his start-up, which ‘Godfather of Silicon Valley’, surprised offers a spice subscription service with his 1.46 million Twitter followers by specialist ingredients. But rather than confessing in a tweet, “You may find this seeing his shyness as a hurdle, James hard to believe, but I am an introvert. I believes it enables his brand to prosper have a role to play but I am fundamentally and his company culture to thrive. a loner.” It was even more surprising at the “Strangely, I never had any doubt that time, given Guy’s profile photo showed I would succeed, despite all the available him wearing a pink feather boa. evidence,” he says. “I didn’t suffer from Meanwhile, Ben Silbermann, founder a lack of confidence in that way. and CEO of Pinterest, has admitted he’s also a bit of an introvert and struggles to share victories with his employees. “It’s not like I’m jumping around the table throwing things,” he says.
“I’m not the kind of person by nature who celebrates everything.” On top of this, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer once said she suffered from such shyness that she struggled to stay at parties for longer than 15 minutes. Often in the start-up scene, shyness is written as a characteristic that needs to be overcome, with advice on how introverts can fake an extroverted personality. But is shyness really a flaw that needs to be fought or is it a strength that can add to a brand’s chances of succeeding? Performance coach Matt Griggs helps clients optimise their leadership styles and says shy founders need to ensure they’re not overshadowed. “Unfortunately we live in a world where loud gets noticed,” says Matt, whose clients have included professional athletes, a former Facebook CEO and Westpac investment bankers. “It’s rare to find a leader who isn’t gregarious, but that’s not to say they don’t exist. Some of the greatest leaders I know are calm, quiet and measured when they speak – especially when there’s a crisis. People will follow you because you lead naturally and from a place of awareness and wisdom – not because you’re the loudest voice in the room. >
I decided NOT to POSITION myself as the FOCAL point of the BUSINESS, which is why I didn’t name the COMPANY after myself or seek PERSONALITY-focused publicity.
“Sensitivity and awareness of yourself and others is crucial in being an effective leader. It’s something that I’ve found females are naturally more attuned to and wallflower leaders even more so.” This is why, Matt argues, big dreamers with a small voice shouldn’t shy away from leadership roles – because the startup system needs introverts for balance. “As in nature, when a business environment is balanced it leads to a thriving, highperformance culture,” he says. “There are fewer leaders than followers, so having range in the personality of leaders gives the follower options to find a leader or mentor that helps them grow.” Many of us have been in a meeting where one person has dominated the conversation, or attended an event that has been overshadowed by a single attendee. In contrast, introverts are also generally better listeners who are more focused on achieving a goal than gaining attention. A study from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale found shy people were even better at interpreting facial expressions. Introverts also often favour alone time, which can be an advantage because it gives them opportunity to focus on their goals and growth without distractions. “If you’re clever you can learn to get the benefits of being an introvert,” says Bill Gates, who famously retreats to a reclusive cabin twice a year for a ‘Think Week’ where nobody is allowed to disturb him. “Which might be, say, being willing to go off for a few days and think about a tough problem, read everything you can,
push yourself very hard to think out on the edge of that area.” As the science journalist Winifred Gallagher says, “The glory of the disposition that stops to consider stimuli rather than rushing to engage with them is its long association with intellectual and artistic achievement. Neither E=mc2 nor ‘Paradise Lost’ [John Milton’s epic poem] was dashed off by a party animal.” It could also be argued that introverted personalities are less likely to rub people up the wrong way. Although self-promotion is crucial in building a company’s profile, going too overthe-top and pushing your brand down people’s throats can earn founders a bad reputation – and this is something
It’s rare to find a LEADER who isn’t GREGARIOUS, but that’s not to say they don’t EXIST. Some of the GREATEST leaders I know are CALM, QUIET and MEASURED when they speak.
intro-preneurs are particularly aware of. “How can a shy, introverted and typically not outgoing person promote their start-up?” wrote a user on the question and answer forum, Quora. “I am a college student and I want to promote my start-up [at] college. However, I am kind of shy and don’t want to annoy people either. Any advice so I can promote my project but not come across as a nimwit?” So, how did James hit a happy medium when it came to drawing the right amount of attention in the right way? He may have only one Facebook friend but The Spicery has 75,000 customers globally and the secret, he says, is distinguishing between himself and his brand.
“I still like to be on top of everything we do,” James says. “I still don’t have much – or any – personal presence on social media, but I’ve become a huge fan of it for the company, as I see the benefits. I’m much happier being behind the company presence than trying to create my own.” Rather than hoping success will make him bolder, James has actively embraced his shyness. “As time went on, I became more and more introverted,” he says. “I really value time alone away from the business where I can get my thoughts in order. I know that’s a direct contrast to many CEOs who need to be the centre of activity. But I suspect that shy people can often be more determined and focus on difficult long-term goals rather than needing continuous validation and assurance from those around them.” So next time you find yourself the quietest one in the room, don’t rush to fill the awkward silence – it could be the key to your success!
WALLFLOWER 101 According to English corporate coach Alisa Burke, some leaders could benefit from changing their body language. “Take control of your space physically,” says Alisa. “If you watch a wallflower you might notice they prefer a posture or style of movement that’s more ‘in’ than ‘out’, such as crossed arms or chin down. By bringing a little more expansion and openness to your posture you can connect better with others – even if it takes practise. Try breathing deeply into your belly, which will help you connect with your gut feeling. “On top of this, if public speaking or big meetings cause anxiety then study the body language of a leader that you admire and model yourself on their calm and confident manner. Last but not least, find ways to take time out like going for a walk or spending time alone to re-energise yourself in order to achieve truly sustainable success.”
[hahy-skrohl-er] noun 1. A UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL, brand, animal or subject that has a LARGE FOLLOWING and recognition throughout social media. 2. An individual who frequently views SOCIAL MEDIA and scrolls through posts and images at a HIGH RATE. There’s a new breed of celebrity and it came about in an instant. Photographer Kristian Taylor-Wood is lending an eye to a group of influential, offbeat social media stars who are using their popularity in very different ways. “As technology and the digital era become more and more integrated into our everyday life, we are finding our inspiration and entertainment from new sources,” he says. Fresh to the hall (or feed) of fame…
POST PRODUCTION: WASSIM BAZZI / STYLING: REBECCA RIEGGER / MAKEUP: MAREE SPAGNOL / HAIR: KAT MARGARITA / DRESS: ONE FELL SWOOP
WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT PHOTOGRAPHY KRISTIAN TAYLOR-WOOD
dj tigerlily WHO: Dara Hayes
COOL LOOK, BUT WHY A MERMAID? I’ve always been a water
WHAT: Half-DJ, halfmermaid, making a splash in the EDM scene BACKSTORY: This Sydneybased lady of the decks brings her sound and sparkle to dance floors the world over; fan base #teamunicorn in tow.
baby as I grew up next to the ocean in Maroubra, Sydney. The water definitely has a very beautiful healing power with me. I don’t think I was always a mermaid though... growing up I would say I was more of a crazy fairy! WHAT WAS THE MUSIC OF YOUR CHILDHOOD? I was definitely a
product of the late ‘90s. I mostly listened to pop, especially boy bands and girl groups. I’m talking Backstreet Boys, Bardot and my all-time favourite, the Spice Girls. I even started my own, kinda. I made my sisters dress up and sing along with me.
WHEN DID YOU START DJ’ING?
I have played music my whole life, but my instrument of choice was a little dorky (the trombone). I fell in love with electronic music in my late teens and started DJ’ing through a program called Your Shot, which gave young kids the opportunity to learn how to mix. It really opened up a whole lot of doors for me within the music industry. >
WHO: Phil Ferguson WHAT: A lad with a thing for crocheting foodstuffs to wear on his head BACKSTORY: Everyoneâ€™s talking about this Melbournebased wool wunderkind, with thousands of Instagrammers now trailing his every stitch.
WHO: Nina Hoglund, Erica Valenti and Maria Adzersen WHAT: Three bikie chicks driving dreams at full throttle
THROTTLE DOLLS – MAKEUP: MAREE SPAGNOL / HAIR : LISA CALLUS
BACKSTORY: Like the Girls Ride Out and Sisters on Steel before them, this female-only bike gang is breaking down stereotypes, one street at a time.
HOW DOES A YOUNG BLOKE COME TO START CROCHETING?
Boredom! I was on holiday in Canberra, staying with my sisters, and had to do something to fill up my time. AND WHY FOOD ITEMS IN PARTICULAR… FOR YOUR HEAD?
I was inspired by the hat Finn wears on the TV show Adventure Time. The food inspiration wasn’t anything I had planned but it’s an easy theme to do and is always the most popular. MOST CHALLENGING CREATION?
My Burger Hat. It [was] mainly because I hadn’t nailed construction at that point, so figuring out how I was able to create this detailed burger to wear on my head was always going to be a hard task. Though since then... I’m able to finish things in a day or two – unlike the burger, which took months. ARE YOU STILL WORKING AT A BURGER SHOP? I still work at Tuck
Shop Take Away. I only work nights, which is how I am able to do things during the day and still work for solid money. Though it’s hard to balance an actual paying job with something which isn’t necessarily giving you an income, it gives you incentive to go hard... to push yourself to succeed when placed out of your comfort zone. YOUR ULTIMATE HEADPIECE? A full buffet? Ultimately, I would want out of all of this a large legacy behind me that I can look back and say I really achieved more than I ever had expected and I was true to myself the whole way.
throttle HOW AND WHY DID THE THROTTLE DOLLS COME TO BE? It came about
organically: one day sitting in Erica’s garage (which incidentally we now call the Doll House as a nice change to ‘man cave’), we thought it would be fun to start our own girl’s bike gang; one that was representative of our personalities, which are a mixture of bubbly, girly and nerdy. We’re tomboys who love to experiment with fashion and new adventures. WHY WHEELS? We ride because we love the machines and the freedom and independence associated with riding, and we all have a passion for the custom, retro and vintage bike culture. We were super surprised that other girls wanted to join us, but we have opened up the group so now anyone who rides a motorcycle can be a Throttle Doll
dolls WHAT’S THE ETHOS BEHIND THE GROUP? We hope it shows that when
you do something you are passionate about, great things can happen, so whatever you are dreaming about – on or off the motorcycle – just get out there and do it. ANY CLOSE SHAVES ON THE ROAD?
Luckily nothing more than a dropped bike here and there when we were learning. Poor Maria once got stung by a bee that was trapped in her helmet, which was pretty traumatic. >
HOW DID PENGUIN ARRIVE IN THE BLOOM FAMILY? Penguin was
found blown out of a nest one windy afternoon as a baby chick. She works so well with our family because we love and respect nature. The kids have had a ball with her. WHAT MAKES PENGUIN SUCH A CAPTIVATING SUBJECT TO PHOTOGRAPH? You have to catch
her at the right time. Sometimes she’ll just want to roll over and snuggle up to you, other times she wants to hunt in the garden and not be picked up. I love her moods and different body shape and above all, her singing.
WHO: Cameron Bloom + Penguin the magpie (Cameron’s sons pictured below with Penguin) WHAT: A photographer sharing the shenanigans of an adopted magpie called Penguin BACKSTORY: With more than 90,000 Instagram followers and a book on the way, the Bloom family’s feathered friend has been dubbed by The Huffington Post as “coolest pet ever”.
magpie WHY DOES INSTAGRAM LOVE HER?
HER FAVOURITE THING TO DO?
She is unique. Not necessarily that people haven’t kept or rescued magpies before, just that she fell into the right family who happened to not only love her but had a dad who could take some okay photos.
Taking food and hiding it in [my son] Oli’s bed. She caught a mouse the other day and was trying to find her way inside but we locked her out. Also, falling asleep by the fire. @penguinthemagpie
WHO: Brenda De La Piedra WHAT: A vegan-turned-pescatarian foodie from the jungle
ONE HUNGRY MAMI – MAKEUP: MAREE SPAGNOL / HAIR : MARIJA BRKLJAC
BACKSTORY: Psych nurse by day, health-food blogger by night, this Hungry Mami is one to watch.
one hungry mami + @onehungrymami
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN PERU? It was amazing! I lived in a
small town with dirt roads and lots of lush greenery. We had chickens and ducks, I had a massive pet snail the size of a human forearm, a turtle and a parrot. My favourite memory was of eating the flesh from the cacao beans, drying them, then crushing them to make chocolate paste which my parents would then make into hot chocolate and we would sit down and have that with baked bananas covered in freshlyground peanut butter. WHY DID YOU START A BLOG?
It was a way to keep myself accountable and to document my journey into a plant-based diet. It was also a way of connecting with likeminded people and sharing recipes that I made along the way. WHAT OPPORTUNITIES HAVE COME YOUR WAY AS A RESULT? I’ve made
some really good friends that I know I will keep for life. Having the ability to collaborate with different brands and develop recipes for them has been really fun, too.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BLOGGING WITH YOUR DAY JOB?
I love my day job, but it’s super stressful and demanding so the blog for me is what gives me some kind of balance. It allows for a creative outlet and is always light, which is in contrast to what I do day-to-day.
HIGHSCROLLERS BY KRISTIAN TAYLOR-WOOD LAUNCHES AT CASA STUDIO, SYDNEY, ON AUGUST 6, 2015. kristiantaylorwood.com
SH O E T T FITS A H
For years, her on-screen romantic mistakes taught us how to navigate the tricky dating world.
And now, her lessons are ours once again: this time, in business. Because, when it came to the CUT-THROAT WORLD of fashion,
Sarah Jessica Parker refused to launch a shoe line until she found the PERFECT business partner. It was a LESSON she’d learned the hard way. WORDS AMY MOLLOY
IMAGE COURTESY OF NORDSTROM, INC.
inally, Sarah Jessica Parker has found the one. Since becoming the most famous shopaholic on television, we’ve watched as SJP has been through break-ups, makeups, failed relationships and reunions, all the while taking notes on what we should and shouldn’t do in our own lives. So it was with much interest to hear that she’d finally found this particular Mr Right – and no, we’re not talking about her love life (she’s been married for 18 years already). But rather, her search for the perfect, compatible business partner – a search many in the business world are also on. So what can we learn from Sarah Jessica’s happily ever after? Let’s look at her CV of collaborations: first, there was an affordable clothing line for 20-somethings called ‘Bitten’, which was stocked exclusively in Steve & Barry’s until the store went bankrupt in 2008. Her next venture was with fashion label Halston Heritage, where she took a role as president and chief creative director in 2010, then stepped down 18 months later. The reason for the split? “Halston was like a boyfriend who everyone tells you to stay away from because he’ll treat you badly,” she says. “But you don’t listen because you think you can change him.” Many entrepreneurs have been there… But being burnt didn’t put the fashion lover off creative collaboration completely. Fast-forward two years and in February 2014 she was back in the game, releasing a line of shoes and accessories called, aptly, SJP. The line was sold exclusively through Nordstrom department
stores, then a new partnereship with Bloomingdale’s in New York this year, where they stocked 29 of her styles. Then came a collaboration with Australian brand TOME, launched at New York fashion week and a recent pop-up store in Las Vegas which celebrated her line of SJP shoes for Zappos Couture that are sold alongside Prada, Derek Lam and Givenchy. This time it seems Sarah may get her fairytale ending, and she credits the success to finding her creative “sole mate”. However, her few false starts hold lessons many entrepreneurs can learn from. “I didn’t [release a shoe line sooner] because I didn’t have the right partner – which, as you well know, is everything,” she told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview to promote the launch of her range. “Lovely, kind people had offered up the opportunity and I kept being so surprised at my inability to say yes.” It wasn’t a lack of ambition that was holding her back, but a lack of chemistry. “One day I had the courage to pick up the phone and call a gentleman who I’d admired for many years,” she recalled. “I said, ‘look, I know this is crazy, and a pipe dream, and I know you’re already spoken for and overextended, but would you consider producing a shoe line with me?’” Her prince charming was George Malkemus III, who has been the CEO of Manolo Blahnik for more than three decades. He told her to come to his office the morning after the phone call (where they sat on the floor and talked about their visions while eating chicken noodle soup). >
A year later, Sarah’s shoes were on shelves, although George, who’d never before designed with a woman, admits that if the phone call had come from anyone else but the actor, it would have been a different answer. The two creatives first met back in 1985 when SJP was dating Robert Downey Jr, and attended a Manolo Blahnik trunk show (where retailers present directly to customers). This was before her Carrie salary, and although she picked out five pairs of shoes, she reportedly confessed to George she couldn’t afford them and he helped her work out an instalment plan. “She has a fanbase in the fashion world that’s extraordinary, and it’s truly because she’s such a nice person,” says George. “Were it anyone but Sarah Jessica, I wouldn’t have done it.” “Choosing someone to accompany you on a venture is no small decision,” says Michael Krasman, a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Hireology, a platform that uses data to make better hiring decisions. “Remember that you’re likely to spend more time with this person than your actual spouse, so it’s important to do background research to find out if you share the same core values. When times are tough, will you both approach solutions through the same belief system? Although you may not always agree on the same outcome, it’s important that you evaluate potential options through the same sets of parameters, priorities and ethics.” SJP’s previous fashion collaborations were criticised for not being aligned with her true personality (namely an ill-advised advertising campaign with Gap when her TV character Carrie wouldn’t be caught dead in the high street). In contrast, her shoe line is deeply personal, and therefore authentic, with details inspired by her favourite outfits from Sex and the City, and the grosgrain ribbons her mum would tie in her hair as a schoolgirl. The “ultra luxe” line for Zappos Couture also feels organic and natural. “When we first met the team at Zappos Couture they basically said to us ‘kind of do what you want, show us what you love,’” she says. “In this instance, the first delivery for Zappos is really inspired by colour. We wanted to rethink what might be considered a ‘neutral’, which gives women just another way of getting dressed in the morning. We wanted purple to be the new black, we want grey to be the new black… We want women to be really brazen about using colour because I think women are always looking for that little thing to set them apart.” Of course, when seeking out a supporter – whether it’s an investor, co-founder or freelancer – it can be hard to identify a person’s beliefs, ethics, morals and values if you don’t
know them personally and only have their CV, LinkedIn profile and a gut feeling to go on. Entrepreneurs seeking a cohort face the same perils as online daters – you think you’ve chosen a 6-foot tall, chisel-jawed sportsman… then you arrive at the date to realise they’re not quite how they described themselves. This is why, before shaking hands, experts advise that you look at how a prospective partner has behaved with their exes. “Have they exhibited behaviours in the past that would indicate they are willing to work equally hard – or harder – than you are?” asks Michael. “If your work ethics are mismatched, it will almost certainly be a failed partnership, as one party will begin to resent the other.” As with dating, there’s no magic formula to finding a business match – it’s a mixture of intuition, sheer luck and a bit of clever research. On the subject matter, Seiichi Kawasaki, director and president of Sony China, says, “If I am the person choosing [a joint venture partner] then trust is very important. Character is more important than business experience. A joint venture is like a marriage.” This raises an interesting topic of debate – just how close should you get to the people you work with? When searching for a business partner, many entrepreneurs fish from their pool of friends, people they would go to the pub with. In a recent blog post called ‘Co-founder dilemma; when opinions are too close or too far apart’ expert Bryan Franklin touches on the tricky subject: “If their opinions are too similar, then there is no reason for the partnership. If they are too far apart, then the differences between the founders lead to a death spiral. How do you balance ‘just the right amount’ of differences?” The secret may be combining people with different skill sets but a shared overarching vision and intention. When it came to her new shoe line, SJP had the artistic insight but limited experience in retail, whereas George had a reputation for hard-nosed business (Manolo Blahnik himself has revealed George is the money-man behind the label, as the founder’s weakness is financial know-how). With SJP, it seems George is also balancing the books and she has said it’s been an education working with him. “Maybe the biggest surprise was what we could do given the price point, which I thought was going to provide a lot [of] limits that would feel frustrating to me,” she told Elle.com. “I kept saying to George, ‘Can we afford that, can we afford that?’” >
IMAGE COURTESY OF NORDSTROM, INC.
Lovely, kind people had offered up the OPPORTUNITY and I kept being so SURPRISED at my inability to say YES.
> COVER STORY / SJP
COUPLE’S COUNSELLING… FOR CO-FOUNDERS? Yep, it’s a thing. Apparently, in Silicon Valley there has been a rise in co-founders of tech start-ups going to couple’s counselling in a last-ditch attempt to save their struggling relationships. One San Francisco psychologist Jonathan Horowitz says the number of requests he gets from co-founders has doubled in the past year alone, especially from CEOs of start-ups that have failed and had to be shut down, who are trying to rebuild their relationship in the wake of failure, at a time when it’s easy to point the ﬁnger of blame. Californian psychotherapist Brett Penﬁl is one expert offering couples’ counselling for business partners on her website, working on challenges such as trust, communication, conflict management and balancing professional and personal lives. “These conflicts not only impede the work, but also impact us as people,” she explains. “We may want to dismiss these conflicts as ‘just work issues’ or attribute the problem to the other person. If we are willing, however, these conflicts can offer an opportunity to understand ourselves and each other better, expand our ways of relating, and build or rebuild a fulﬁlling relationship.” Forget sleep pods, do co-working spaces need to add a psychologist’s couch?
and CEO of PayPal. In a lawsuit, Martin accused Elon of libel, slander and breach of contract. And then there’s the famous feud between Mark Zuckerberg and one of Facebook’s co-founders, Eduardo Saverin, which became a key storyline in The Social Network. So, how can you make a graceful exit with no hurt feelings if the worst does happen? Entrepreneur Susan J Sohn, who runs her own media consultancy, was forced to “break up” with a business partner, who was also a friend, when she realised their creative visions were colliding. Her advice to others in her situation? “I’m a big believer that you reap what you sow,” says Susan. “So I have chosen to sow kindness, support what my former partner does next and wish him the absolute best.” When it comes to practicalities, hopefully your contract will have included a built-in exit strategy outlining how to handle existing customers, copyright, outstanding debts and upcoming profits. “If it does get messy, bring someone in to mediate and help you through the tough conversations around separation,” says Susan. “It’s good to have an ‘outside voice’ that can cut through the emotion, as it’s a sad time for everyone involved.” As for SJP, only time will tell if her new relationships go the distance. As she said of the Halston Heritage collaboration to Harper’s BAZAAR: “We’ve all worked with complicated people… and I always think I can disarm them. I love collaborating, I’m a great listener and learner and I don’t think I know more than they do. I’m transparent.” Sounds like a winning perspective. Let’s hope her new sole mates appreciate it…
We’ve all worked with COMPLICATED people… and I always think I can DISARM them.
IMAGE COURTESY OF NORDSTROM, INC.
There is a misconception that a partnership has to be formed on equal input, skill set and knowledge, but there’s usually always one person with more experience than the other. And that’s okay. There are many benefits from ‘punching above your weight’ when looking for a co-founder, in collaborating with someone who is more successful than you, in the hope that it inspires, motivates and spurs you on. When SJP previously partnered with Halston, she warned the fashion house they may get some backlash for hiring an actor over an experienced retail veteran. “It took me a long time to say yes,” she told Elle in 2011. “I kept saying, ‘You understand by offering this you are going to be criticised?’” And yet she brought to the table enthusiasm, dedication and passion, vowing to be hands-on and involved “down to the splitting of the atom”. There’s really nothing more make-or-break in launching a business than choosing a right-hand man or woman. Finding your ‘creative soul mate’ can make anything seem possible (look at Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard), but it’s also easy to get locked in an unhealthy, toxic and stifling professional relationship if you’re too polite, proud and afraid of the consequences to admit that it’s not working exactly as you’d hoped. The start-up scene is littered with stories of partners who didn’t make it. One of the most explosive of recent years was the dispute between the co-founder of electric car start-up Tesla, Martin Eberhard, and its chairman (and now CEO) Elon Musk, who previously served as chairman
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CURRENTLY COVETING We talk BEAUTY with some of the newest INNOVATORS in the industry. WORDS PHOEBE YOUL
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UNE NUIT A BALI Brought together by their love of Bali and eco values, former French music industry executives Alexandra Cubizolle and Phillipe Solas were inspired to create a 100 per cent natural and eco-conscious fragrance and body care collection. Alexandra and Phillipe carefully manage the way the brand is not only manufactured but also distributed, to ensure the utmost respect is passed along to the worker, consumer and the environment. OUR MUST HAVE: THE TRAVEL KIT
OMOROVICZA Having been immersed in the culture and ritual of bathing in Hungary, Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza and his wife, Margaret, alongside a Nobel Prize-winning, Hungarian laboratory, set out to bottle bathing’s healing properties. Each product is powered by a medieval spring, creating an incredibly unique and powerful range. OUR MUST HAVE: QUEEN OF HUNGARY MIST
All brands available at Mecca Trove stores and online at mecca.com.au
COLBERT MD David Colbert is well known for his work with the Hollywood set, however in 2009 he founded the New York Dermatology Group, a charity that has led medical personnel to assist in areas like Cambodia and Haiti after crises. With philanthropy clearly at the heart of his motivations, David developed the line, combining the very best of science and nature to create products that assist the skin to heal itself.
RMS BEAUTY After experiencing health issues, leading make-up artist Rose-Marie Swift thought she had been adversely effected by chemicals in personal care products. Inspired to create change within the industry, the world’s ﬁrst organic cosmetic line, RMS, was born. Rose-Marie’s products not only nourish and protect the skin, but are artist-quality formulas, in modern wearable colours. OUR MUST HAVE: TINTED UN POWDER
OUR MUST HAVE: ILLUMINO FACIAL OIL
SURRATT BEAUTY Dissatisﬁed with the products available for her clients to use at home, Su-Man set out to create a capsule collection. Inspired by homemade remedies she learned in Taiwan, and passionate that skincare should be an enjoyable, holistic ritual, the line is a diffusion of the best eastern and western ingredients and has been formulated to nourish and protect the skin for the healthiest of appearances.
Former fashion illustrator Troy Surratt was captivated by Japanese beauty after assisting the iconic Kevin Aucoin. A selfproclaimed perfectionist, Troy has a history of success behind him, including working as a global consulting make-up artist for Maybelline New York. Troy’s passion and eye for detail lends itself beautifully to the everyday consumer, with clever details such as customisable palettes, reﬁllable calligraphy brushes and colours that flatter all skin tones.
OUR MUST HAVE: PURIFYING CLEANSING GEL OIL
OUR MUST HAVE: AUTOGRAPHIQUE LINER
UNDER THE SHEETS We got under the sheets with RHIANNON TAYLOR, editorial photographer and creator of IN BED WITH, a bespoke lifestyle site that curates hotels and stays both far and wide. A lover of pastries and pasta, Rhiannon enjoys sleeping in and dreams of opening her own boutique B&B when she grows up.
Over-water villa with views of the clear blue sea and squeaky white sand is my pick for the ultimate escape. MALDIVES
Head to tea country. Bogawantalawa is a stunning backdrop where you can walk from one tea trail bungalow to the next while sipping a cuppa.
Urban sprawl, sexy beaches and too many cool parties to count. LOS ANGELES
It’s so hard for me to choose just one hotel in LA but I love the vibe of Hotel Covell. It’s recently opened, independent, eclectically furnished and new wave LA.
There’s a reason this spot is favoured by celebrities and is number one on Tripadvisor. Total seclusion, natural tones and architectural design makes Maalifushi by COMO my once-ina-lifetime must-stay.
Nothing. Read a book, turn your phone off and if you’re cant other, with your signiﬁcant indulge in them.....
Newly opened Cape Weligama, from the owners of Dilmah Tea, is a breathtaking resort that’s raking in awards. Villas with your own butler and private gardens perched on the cliffs of southern Sri Lanka will have you experiencing ﬁne local cuisine and impeccable service.
I always have to hike Runyon Canyon. It’s free, has amazing views of Hollywood, gives a good workout and you’ll spot a celebrity or two.
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PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF RHIANNON TAYLOR.
Sweeping tea plantations, hot beaches and historic colonial architecture offer a mix of luxury and culture.
My sometimes-home town and its surroundings has a special place in my heart. Even though I’ve lived in New York, I think Melbourne city has a great vibe, incredible food and a diverse culture that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. MELBOURNE
There are many gorgeous boutique hotels in Melbourne but if you can get out of the city head to Drift House, Port Fairy. I could rave about this place all day, but divine beds, bath tubs facing an open ﬁre and a breakfast basket ﬁlled with local, organic produce will have you wrapped up for days in this revamped historic home.
Some of the best authentic Asian food I’ve found outside of Asia has been in Melbourne. Pho at I Love Pho (Richmond), bahn mi at N.Lee Bakery (Collingwood) and xiao long bao at HuTong (CBD) will satisfy the most fussy eaters.
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HOW TO… AVOID DESK CHAOS With Beck Wadworth, designer of lifestyle and stationery label, An Organised Life. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
FILE AWAY: Create a strategy for your filing that works for you and stick to it. For example, all my receipts are stored in months and all my wholesale orders are stored in alphabetical order.
IMAGE COURTESY OF AN ORGANISED LIFE
BOXES ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND: Everything on your desk needs a home. I always store my invoices and bills that need to be paid that week in a black box on my desk – they’re really easy to access and it keeps everything organised and structured week-to-week. DECLUTTER: Get rid of anything and everything you do not need! ORGANISE YOUR LIFE: Utilise your diary daily. Write down appointments, reminders and everything in between. Check your diary every morning before you start your day and tick off the boxes as you go. It’s such a satisfying feeling. HIGHLIGHT: Colour-code your priorities each day. For example, pink are the priorities for the morning, blue are the priorities for the afternoon and green are extremely important dates, meetings
or reminders. I use this system every day and it helps my brain de-stress and allows me to get through my lists. PIN IT: I love visual inspiration around me when I’m working – a pinboard is a great way to create your own mood board to sit behind your computer. It’s also amazing for pinning invites, reminders and business cards onto, instead of having a million pieces of loose paper floating around. STYLE AND FUNCTION: When decorating your desk, use pieces that also have a function. One of my favourite desk accessories is a marble vase that can be used as a pen/pencil holder. LABEL QUEEN: There’s no such thing as too many labels! They separate and distinguish categories with ease. I label all my folders extremely clearly and utilise sticker labels for documents that need to be signed and artwork that needs to be checked. ALWAYS WRITE IN PENCIL: One thing I have learned is that life always throws you curve balls, dates change and priorities shift. I HATE having to cross something out in my diary or calendar. The answer: write in pencil. FRESHEN UP: At the end of every day before you leave your desk, arrange everything into piles, place all your pens/ pencils back into their marble pen holder and file all loose paper away. There’s nothing worse than starting a new day with desk chaos.
‘I DECIDED OUR KIDS WOULD BE FRONT AND CENTRE OF OUR BUSINESS’ I’m very blessed to run a business alongside my husband – designing and making handmade furniture and soft furnishings. Our business has always been about family and our girls, Selah (3 years old) and Oak (8 months), have gone on that journey with us. We had a realisation early on that we always wanted our kids to feel part of it and not separate to it. The furniture and design industry can be very exclusive and superficial, filled with cold and unwelcoming showrooms topped with unfriendly staff. We wanted to do things differently. From the early days of moving into our first showroom we always brought Selah along. Now with two girls I definitely have my hands full but I still bring them into the showroom/office. Oak chills on a sheepskin in our office and Selah will ‘play shop’, sit next to dad in the office and do ‘work’ or play hide and seek amongst the showroom furniture. At times this can be really difficult, especially if the girls are not well or whiny or I realise halfway through a conversation with a client that I have spew (from feeding) all down my top! But I wouldn’t have it any other way – our kids make us stronger, wiser and more empathetic to the needs of our customers.
MY LIGHTBULB MOMENT From starting businesses to quitting jobs, we talk DEFINING decisions and LIGHTBULB MOMENTS with women at the top of their game. WORDS TARA FRANCIS, MELANIE DIMMITT, MEL CARSWELL
IMAGES COURTESY OF SASHA WHITE, EMMA MCILROY, EMMA HENDERSON, VICTORIA BEATTIE, NAOMI STEER
SASHA WHITE CO-FOUNDER, MR & MRS WHITE
NAOMI STEER NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF AUSTRALIA FOR UNHCR
WILDFANG PHOTOGRAPHY: CHARISE ASH
EMMA MCILROY CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, WILDFANG ‘MY LIGHTBULB MOMENT CAME IN THE MEN’S DEPARTMENT OF URBAN OUTFITTERS’ As I stood there, salivating over a graphic tee that wouldn’t fit my ladylike frame, my best friend and future business partner said, ‘Why are we only allowed to shop the styles from the women’s section? Why don’t they make this stuff for us? Why are wingtips, button-ups and blazers reserved for the boys?’ That question started a four-year journey to launch and build Wildfang, the home for the modern tomboy. It was the spark that caused me to quit my job at Nike and follow my heart to build a brand that was bold and independent, that empowered women could be proud of. That moment changed my life.
EMMA HENDERSON AND VICTORIA BEATTIE, FOUNDERS, THE BEACH PEOPLE ‘I CREATED A BRAND FILTER’ Emma: My biggest lightbulb moment was when we were designing our first collection of The Beach People products. Victoria and I started designing the round towel and our other sea essentials, and we came to the conclusion that we wanted our brand to be ‘beautiful and functional’. If the product we were designing wasn’t these two things then it wasn’t for The Beach People. Now it’s something we stand by. Such a simple statement, ‘beautiful and functional’, but it keeps our heads clear and paths straight.
‘I DECIDED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE’ I started Australia for UNHCR as a one-person office with no donors or income. Travelling to the Syrian-Jordan border, I watched refugees escaping fighting in Syria struggle across the 6km ‘no-man’s-land’ to Jordan. One young girl was on crutches… her only possessions strung around her neck in cloth bags. As she neared the Jordanian border marked by a ridge in the sand, a UNHCR aid worker swept her up in his arms and carried her the final metres across the border to safety. In that one moment, everything crystallised for me. I witnessed the exact moment this vulnerable young girl became a refugee and had no one else to rely on but the arms of a welcoming UNHCR aid worker. She was just one of a million children displaced by war in the region. Fifteen years after starting the organisation, I now have 120 staff, many of whom are refugees themselves, and we have raised over AU$130 million to provide emergency relief. Most of these funds have come from individual Australians. Lessons learned: Women everywhere share the same joys and challenges. We all want the right to good health, to be safe and to lead independent and positive lives. Refugee women are often shocked when I tell them that Australian women suffer from sexual violence and abuse. The difference is we have legal and social services to support us here. >
JESS SCULLY FESTIVAL DIRECTOR, VIVID IDEAS ‘I REALISED PUBLIC ART COULD TRIGGER CONVERSATIONS ABOUT PLACE’ I was in Germany in 2012, working on a policy paper about the creative economy and cities. I’m passionate about making imagination and innovation the driving force of our economy, and I see a connection between how our cities are designed and the opportunities that are open to us as individuals to explore creative enterprises, social experiences and careers. So I was thinking about place and creativity when my friend Emily and I decided to explore Documenta, an incredible art festival that takes over the sleepy town of Kassel once every five years. Documenta is basically the Olympics of the art world: the most adventurous artists from all over the world, presenting experiences and works that go beyond the museum setting. Experiencing a city transformed by art with whole buildings, streets and parks turned into a canvas for experimentation, it dawned on me that public art can be the trigger for conversation about place – thoughtful interventions in public spaces can invite us to imagine the future we want for our cities, and by extension, for our communities and ourselves. Amazingly, the opportunity came up a few weeks later to curate a public art project for the first time, and I leapt at it: three years later I’m curating my fourth public art project in Sydney. It can be a complex process of negotiation, particularly when trying to move clients away from the ‘plonk art’ norm of putting objects into spaces and towards a more participatory approach. But I’m loving the challenge.
ELIZABETH ANN MACGREGOR OBE DIRECTOR, MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AUSTRALIA
SOPHIE BLACHFORD BRAND DEVELOPMENT AT INSTAGRAM AUSTRALIA ‘I SAID YES!’ My lightbulb moment has directly impacted where I am today. It came in 2007 when a friend gave me a copy of the book Yes Man by UK author Danny Wallace. In the book, Danny recounts a year in his life in which he chose to say ‘yes’ to any offers that came his way. Whilst extremely entertaining, this book made me realise just how often I said ‘no’ in my daily life – both professionally and outside of work with family and friends. In 2008, I decided to have my own ‘Yes Man’ adventure. This journey also meant taking a chance on a meeting with Facebook in mid-2008, which kicked off an incredible four years in London. In 2011, when Facebook were looking for someone to relocate and help set up an office in Melbourne my answer was ‘yes’ and when a role at Instagram came up with a move to Sydney, my answer was ‘Hell yes!’ It was a series of ‘yes’s’ along the way that have led to the path I’m on now.
‘I REALISED IT WAS OKAY TO TELL MY STAFF I WAS STRESSED’ After I became director of a gallery, I went through a period of high stress around funding issues and finding a new premises. To add to my woes, some of the staff seemed to be more than usually difficult to manage. Chatting with one of our technical crew, I mentioned my disappointment. She told me that I was not engaging with them – I was assuming that they understood the additional pressure I was under. I realised she was right. Although I was communicating, I had reduced the time I spent with staff significantly as a result of the other demands. I assumed they would understand but instead they felt excluded. Lesson learned: never underestimate the importance of quality time with staff, especially when the business is under pressure. Closed office doors lead to more problems. One-on-one meetings with key staff – even just to touch base regularly – are essential.
IMAGES COURTESY OF JESS SCULLY, SOPHIE BLACHFORD, ELIZABETH ANN MACGREGOR, RANITA COWLED, LANA JONES, AND SCOTT EHLER
LISA MESSENGER CEO AND EDITORIN-CHIEF, THE COLLECTIVE
RANITA COWLED GROUP MARKETING MANAGER, CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY, CO-FOUNDER, FABLED ‘I DECIDED TO GIVE FAMILY TO THOSE WHO DIDN’T HAVE IT’ My husband and I had actual ‘family dinners’ with my parents and siblings every week, and one night we realised so many of our colleagues and friends didn’t have that. We made the decision to create that sense of ‘family’ in our home for colleagues, friends and friends of friends, so Wednesday Night Family Dinner was born. Everyone knew RSVPs had to be in the night before (though no one ever complied...). Cooking was a rushed affair that started at around 5.45pm, traffic willing. Our guests started off as guests, but then they became family and that means you can help yourself to the fridge, get to peel potatoes, set the table and buy the wine. Strangers became friends and friends became family. There were stories like the time someone once used an entire bottle of dish soap to do the dishes, that one time we ran out of knives and had to do a run for plastic ones, or the (many) times we had 12 RSVPs and 24 people showed up. It’s amazing what you can do with potatoes and pasta to stretch a meal. At the end of the day, no one remembers the menu or the conversation specifics, I just remember sitting around the table and being really proud of the community we’d created and the new friendships that had started. And that dinner? We’re still doing it today here in Philadelphia and after a big day in the office, it’s a choice, but one that’s worth it to me.
LANA JONES PRINCIPAL BALLERINA, AUSTRALIAN BALLET ‘MY DEFINING MOMENT WAS MID-AIR IN A GRAND JETE’ The moment I knew I was destined to be a ballerina, and my defining moment, was mid-air in a grand jete in my first entrance of my very first full-length ballet playing the lead ballerina, Kitri, in ‘Don Quixote’. My mum and dad were in the audience and I remember saying to myself, and expressing through every vessel of my being, that ‘this is my gift’. I feel as an artist you’re always challenged and you never stop challenging yourself and your capabilities. For me, the lesson of trusting myself out on stage and letting go is my ongoing quest. This is only possible if I accept myself for who I am and appreciate all that life delivers; needless to say I’m forever overcoming this and exploring the depth within myself. (Lana will be performing the lead role in ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ world premiere on September 15).
‘I DISCOVERED WE ARE ALL EQUAL’ When my business was in the early days – quite one-dimensional – I’d only have a lightbulb moment every six months; now it’s more like every six minutes. But there are certainly defining moments and three, which are all interlinked, include being invited to a meeting with Vogue’s Anna Wintour, visiting Richard Branson’s private island and sitting in the front page editorial meeting of the New York Times. They were all different, but the lightbulb moment from them was undeniably the same, which is: we are all equal, the only difference is attitude and mindset. While the initial ‘wow moments’ might be that I am sitting with these people, the real wow moments are walking away thinking, ‘they are just normal people like me, doing the best they can in their chosen field and in life to make a difference in the world.’ The only thing holding us back is ourselves and our belief in what we can achieve.
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IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES / PHOTOGRAPHY: VERONIQUE BERANGER
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We only have one life to live and my mandate is simple: to live every day of mine as the fullest version of myself, to search for joy and meaning in everything, to get up when I fall, to ﬁght harder when others would give up and to never take ‘no’ for an answer.
SMART THINKING TIPS WITH THE COLLECTIVE EDITOR + FOUNDER, LISA MESSENGER
Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Give yourself permission to think ridiculously BIG. Go against the flow at least once a day. Happiness is possible but takes hard work. Fear less (you’ve got this).
ARCHIBALD PRIZE FINALIST JULIAN MEAGHER, WHOSE WORK IS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE ART MONEY INITIATIVE
WORKS BY DAVID NOONAN, ROSLYN OXLEY9 GALLERY, PADDINGTON
Thought BUYING ART was out of your REACH? Think again. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
SARAH COTTIER GALLERY, PADDINGTON
or the uninitiated, the notion of owning art could well reside in a realm of stuffy sophistication, coupled with caviar and cravats. “I think that people get their idea about what art is from weird Hollywood movies or Antiques Roadshow,” laments Oliver Watts, codirector of Sydney’s Chalk Horse gallery. “The thing is that it’s not all connoisseurs and people smoking pipes… You should really treat gallery shows like any art form. Like going to a gig, reading a photography book or going to the theatre. You’re allowed to go just to look.” But for those raring and ready to buy, “sticker shock” – the moment of wanting art but almost dying from a heart attack when you see the price tag – can pose a significant barrier. One that a number of initiatives around the world are doing their best to break down. For more than a decade, the UK has been running Own Art, a government-funded scheme adopted by more than 250 galleries, which allows art buyers to spread the cost of their purchase over 10 months with an interest-free loan. A recent survey revealed that 80 per cent of these buyers took home pricier work than they could otherwise have bagged, 35 per cent were repeat users and 25 per cent were first-time contemporary art buyers. Similar schemes in the Netherlands and in the Australian state of Tasmania have also caused a welcome disruption – all of which piqued the interest of Paul Becker, CEO and founder of arts publishing business, 10 Group. So when the City of Sydney called for ideas for their first-ever Cultural Policy, Paul added a similar concept into the mix. With interest-free art loans one of the most popular suggestions, the local council agreed to seed-fund the idea with
> COLLECTIVE x CITY OF > SECTION SYDNEY OLIVER WATTS, CO-DIRECTOR OF SYDNEY’S CHALK HORSE GALLERY
AU$60,000 and Art Money was born. Working in much the same way as its predecessors, the program provides loans from AU$750 to AU$20,000. Buyers are required to put down a 10 per cent deposit in store, but can take the artwork home that day and pay the remaining balance to Art Money over nine months, interest free. “I saw Paul Becker tweet about it… I’m not bragging, but I do think that I was the first to tweet back that I thought it was a good idea,” quips Oliver; his Chalk Horse gallery is one of more than 50 across Australia to have jumped at Art Money, which launched earlier this year. “It’s great for us because it will bring buyers that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford art, or wouldn’t think that they would be able to afford it,” he says, and notes, from his ‘dealer perspective’ – “the gallery doesn’t have to manage the layby. So we don’t have to chase [payments]. It’s a nice immediate result when the person buys. “There was a stimulus,” attests Oliver of the program’s impact on sales, even in its infancy. “There are more people buying. And I think that some people that were going to buy bought slightly bigger work.” Which is particularly good news for young and emerging artists, says Juliet
Rosser, who started gallery and retail space Platform 72 in an effort to support budding Australian talent. “I’m all about accessibility,” she stresses about Art Money. “The price point that it starts at is AU$750, which is quite an affordable price point for art. It’s really great for emerging artists because that’s where they’ve got to start at before they can start charging more.” And from the buyer’s end, she rightly points out – “it’s far more attractive to be paying off AU$75 a month than AU$750 straight up. “It’s such a different concept, but in every other industry you can buy stuff with interest-free loans, like furniture, TVs, cars – and thankfully there’s now one for art. “Once people buy something that they really love, they get the art bug and they’re suddenly open to it. So it’s that breaking down of that first-time buyer – which is what I’ve always tried to be about.” From the artists’ end, more established creatives, like Archibald Prize finalist Julian Meagher, can also reap the benefits. “The thing I’ve noticed is, as your work gets more expensive, payments take longer to come in,” he says, as the paint dries on his entries for this year’s Archibald (which we later learn, has been selected as a finalist) and Wynne prizes. >
SARAH MOSCA, USELESS GESTURES INSTALLATION VIEW GALERIE POMPOM, SYDNEY
MASON KIMBER, OLTRE LA VISTA, INSTALLATION VIEW, GALERIE POMPOM, SYDNEY
It’s GREAT for us because it will BRING BUYERS that wouldn’t otherwise be able to AFFORD art, or wouldn’t think that they would be able to afford it.
SARAH COTTIER GALLERY, PADDINGTON
KYLIE BANYARD, MONO NUOVO, INSTALLATION VIEW, GALERIE POMPOM, SYDNEY.
WISE WORDS FOR THE FIRST-TIME BUYER
It’s such a DIFFERENT concept, but in every OTHER industry you can buy STUFF with interest-free loans...
JULIET: Form an idea of what your aesthetic is. Look at the space where you want to put the artwork. Does it get direct sunlight? Or not? How does the light change? Light is so important in how the artworks look and feel. JULIAN: Someone told me if you don’t feel nauseous when you buy a work, you’re not buying a good enough artwork. You get over the money and then you have the work for the rest of your life and you love it to death. It’s got to hurt a little bit, [but] I think Art Money makes it hurt a little bit less and will allow people to do it a bit more often. KIRSTEN: Look around. Also there’s stock rooms where they have art that wasn’t sold [at exhibition]. Often it’s actually really good art – just because it didn’t sell at the exhibition doesn’t mean it’s not really great stuff.
To know more or discover participating Art Money galleries Australia-wide, visit artmoney.com.au
‘THE FIGHTS WERE GOOD’ BY ARCHIBALD PRIZE FINALIST JULIAN MEAGHER
“When you’re an emerging artist and your work sells for AU$600 or AU$1000, some people can just credit card that or transfer the full amount and you normally get paid out pretty quickly. As your work goes up in value, it takes a little more time for it all to leak in… I have to pay the money for the materials and all that kind of stuff upfront, and even when [a painting] gets sold, I’m still waiting six months down the track to see any money come back. “Art Money pays the full amount to the gallery, which then allows the gallery to pay the artist straight away,” he says. “From an artist’s point of view, that’s why this thing’s so great.” Art teacher Kirsten Duncombe recently purchased a limited edition Sarah Mosca print from Galerie pompom. “I like the story behind it, the artist’s concept, which involves her walking through the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy, with single sheets of large-format colour negatives attached inside her clothing, across her chest. “These days we spend money on all sorts of things – nice shoes, trips away – which is great. But once you realise that you can buy art and just pay a bit off every month, and you can have this thing forever, basically, on your walls – I think that’s the best thing.” Perhaps one of the initiative’s greatest perks is that buyers can apply for Art Money but are not compelled to spend it immediately. Nor does it have to be spent solely on a painting or print. “I think video art is very good,” says Oliver, about to purchase a moving image himself. “Art can be a lot of things – from sculpture to computer games, actually, so there’s going to be something for everyone.”
OLIVER: A gallery isn’t just a shop – there are exhibitions in it. And the dealers don’t mind people coming to look. You can’t buy every day, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t go and see the exhibitions. Just start going and you’ll see what you like and what you don’t like – and you’re allowed to not like it.
PHOTOGRAPHY: MARKO MILANOVIC
BAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE Gather ’round, kids. Here’s how a teacher’s HOBBY became a seriously SWEET biz. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
eet Katherine Sabbath, Heisenberg of the sugar-sphere. Highschool teacher by day, sweet sorceress by night, this self-confessed “bake-aholic” creates the craziest of cakes for her beloveds (and since last year, a good chunk of her home city of Sydney), sharing her designs with an 163k-strong, utterly tantalised following with a video series and cookbook on the horizon. All thanks to her hobby and the power of a ‘like’. We caught a whiff of what’s cooking… DID YOU EVER DREAM OF MAKING A CAREER OUT OF DESSERTS? Actually, not at all! I always thought I’d be a high-school teacher until the end of my days. It wasn’t until I started sharing my work with others and the wider Instagram audience that I realised there was a huge market of creatives out there who enjoy my sweet hobby. WHAT ARE YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES OF BAKING? I developed my wild sugar lust at a very young age. As soon as I could be trusted with an electric beater (I never earned my pen licence in primary school but oh boy, I practiced beating those egg whites!), I would attempt a baking project. Triple-chocolate brownies are where it all started for me. I could never find a chocolate brownie decadent or gooey enough, so I made my own delicious monstrosities and it snowballed down a candy-coated, moltencaramel mountain from there. >
WHAT INSPIRES YOUR WORK? For me, inspiration comes from absolutely everywhere! To rein it in a little bit, a favourite source of inspiration close to my heart is the 1971 film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. I remember seeing that movie at a very young age and just being completely blown away by the fun and wacky possibilities of desserts. WHERE DOES THE MAGIC HAPPEN? I’m still creating everything in my humble, onebedroom apartment that I share with my longterm partner, Esjay. I’d love to work with more space and also have a home suitable for all of the kitchen equipment I’m constantly lusting over these days, but it’s also been a worthwhile learning experience creating within my means. I’ve learned to be very tidy and efficient. YOU’VE STEPPED DOWN FROM FULLTIME TEACHING. WAS IT A BIG LEAP? It was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make in my life, but so far, it’s also proven to be the most rewarding and exciting. I think taking on board these kinds of risks and challenges prevents
you from becoming complacent. Don’t get me wrong, teaching has always motivated me, but I’ve also always had a very strong creative streak that only dessert making has been able to satiate. Those kiddos will be in my heart forever, and it’s been very valuable for me to realise that teaching and learning doesn’t just happen in the confines of a school classroom. WHEN DID YOU REALISE THIS COULD BE MORE THAN A HOBBY? I always thought I’d be a high-school teacher until the end of my days. I started taking my baking seriously when, instead of receiving the normal inbox spam, I began receiving lots of exciting emails and other cake-related inquiries. It became a little impossible to ignore after a while. [Now] the bulk of my time is spent teaching cake workshops and working on recipe developments which are at the moment my main sources of income. WHAT ROLE HAS INSTAGRAM PLAYED IN YOUR JOURNEY? I’ve been seriously gobsmacked by the amount of support I’ve received through Instagram as well as all of the wonderful people I’ve been fortunate enough to connect
IMAGES COURTESY OF KATHERINE SABBATH
HONE your SKILLS and EVOLVE your CRAFT by constantly EXPERIMENTING with NEW ideas and methods, SEEK and REFLECT on constructive feedback. with over the last two years. Most of the incredible opportunities I’ve been able to partake in have been because someone, somewhere, has seen my work on Instagram. I try not to take it all too seriously and still treat it as though my parents (my biggest supporters) are the only ones paying attention to what I post.
BEING SELF-TAUGHT, DO YOU EVER FEEL LEFT OUT OF THE ‘DESSERT CLIQUE’? Yes, I do in the sense that being entirely self-taught means my desserts stray from the techniques and aesthetics used by properly trained, accredited pastry chefs and bakers. I feel like a bit of an imposter at times because I struggle to pronounce the fancy French terms pastry chefs use! I have such a huge amount of respect for pastry chefs and bakers and you know, sometimes it makes me quite uncomfortable when I see my name associated with theirs or even being considered in the same league, because I feel like what I do is so different to their discipline. My flamboyant creations happen organically, without rules, strict temperature settings [or] French words. However, I’m working on brushing up my French. ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS HOPING TO TURN THEIR HOBBY INTO SOMETHING MORE? Hone your skills and evolve your craft by constantly experimenting with new ideas and methods, seek and reflect on constructive feedback and only work on projects which you truly believe in and love. If you pursue what you love, you’ll never have to ‘work’ another day in your life.
FashionMISTAS With their mix of INDUSTRIAL design and artistic TEXTURES, the guys behind STRATEAS. CARLUCCI have made AUSTRALIAN fashion history. We go backstage with a brand on the RISE. WORDS MARIELA V DEMETRIOU
PHOTOGRAPHY: RIBAL - SUPERTEAM STUDIOS / IMAGES COURTESY OF: STRATEAS. CARLUCCI
t’s 2005 and the Australian Fashion Innovators (AFI) office is abuzz on the back of the Mercedes-Benz Start Up. AFI ran the event across Australia; an edgy stepping-stone fashion design competition that seeks to unearth the next big thing. The winnings? A spot in the New Generation show on its big sister runway, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia. And the lucky recipients? Two 21-year-old Melbourne guys, one Greek and the other Italian. New Generation showgoers applauded looks from TRIMÄPEE, Peter Strateas and Mario-Luca Carlucci’s menswear label at the time, featuring an urban, edgy streetwear aesthetic – think subculture vibes and dark layers of drapery. And they were being noticed by all the right stores. But six years later, the run was over and, unexpectedly, Peter and Mario-Luca quit. “We felt like we just outgrew that brand,” they explain “We loved it at the time, but we basically grew up and our taste changed and matured. “So we felt we’d take this gamble and start this new dream label that we’d been talking about for some time. We went back and forth with this idea, as it wasn’t an easy decision.” Fast-forward to 2015 and we’re talking in Paris, days before Peter and Mario-Luca are to make Australian fashion history as the first ever Aussie brand to show on the prestigious Paris Menswear Ready-To-Wear official schedule. It seems the pair’s decision to reboot in 2012 with Strateas.Carlucci, a more luxuryfocused brand specialising in modern design and constructed tailoring, was very much worth it. “We learned what not to do, really,” laughs Mario-Luca. “We always say that our time with our previous label was more of an apprenticeship. A very long traineeship. “When you run your own business, there are so many things to think about. Design is obviously one of them, then the commercial viability, product, sales and press and operations. “With Strateas.Carlucci, we have a very strong and clear vision of our brand. We have a very strong tailoring aesthetic and construction, supported by the fabric choices and texture. What we presented in this collection was something new for us, which is colour. We’ve always had a more muted, monochromatic colour palette. We wanted a classic sensibility – something you can match with other collection pieces.
> STYLE MAKERS
“We want our collection pieces to become more of a staple in your wardrobe. “This time, we feel like we have set the bar very high for ourselves. [We want to ensure] that every decision we make is uncompromised, from fabric choices to manufacturing – not only the product, but the branding and who we are.” They walk their talk, too – top-quality fabrics are sourced everywhere from Italy, Japan and Australia, some knits are spun and finished in Italy, and all pieces are manufactured in Australia. The duo, who have never worked for anyone else, met in Year 9 art class and immediately bonded. Today the business partners, both 30, laugh as they reminisce over those very early days. Peter went on to study communication design and Mario-Luca took industrial design, both at RMIT University. “We’re a small business and we do everything!” says Mario-Luca. “You are looking at our team right here. We do have a couple of in-house support [people] and outsourced seamstresses working with us and we also work with external tailors that are excellent, but really it’s the power of two.
So we felt we’d take this GAMBLE and start this new DREAM label that we’d been TALKING about for some time.
“Peter is great at taking care of the production and operations, whereas I take care of the sales side of things. We definitely spend a lot of time creatively collaborating.” “You can probably see that in our personalites too,” adds Peter, before a swift “No talking!” jab back from Mario-Luca. “You really can’t do everything on your own, so it’s good having someone who complements what you do,” says Peter. “Mario is really great with people. Even with our first collection, we did a lot of the sales ourselves, so Mario taking on that role was really important [as] he connected with the buyers. We were with a commercial showroom for a while but for this collection we have taken the sales back in-house, so we do that ourselves”. And Mario-Luca on Peter’s strengths? “Well, Peter cooks really well…” he laughs. “Jokes aside, Peter and I are like yin and yang. Peter is very well organised. I am way more chaotic. He loves spreadsheets and having everything detailed. “If you look at my desk… Woah! Peter is great with our manufacturers and our operations so, yes, we really do complement one another. We are hoping as the seasons continue that we can grow our team as there is so much work.” It’s not difficult to see why: 2014 was a big year for the duo, who collected many awards for the brand including the prestigious Tiffany & Co. National Design Award for excellence in design. >
In July, judged by esteemed industry peers including Roland Mouret, Strateas. Carlucci was awarded dual winner of both the menswear and womenswear 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize Australia regional final. “When we met Roland Mouret, we were just chatting with him and telling him where we were at, and where we wanted to show, and our plans. He was so nice, he said to us, ‘Just hold on… make sure that when you do it, you do it well.’ It was great advice for us,” says Peter. The brand currently boasts 25 stockists across the globe including Italy, Russia and Asia, and they’re also stocked in David Jones and Harrolds in Australia. Prices start at approximately AU$100 and can hover around the AU$2000 mark for a leather jacket. Resin-coated Australian merino wool is another favourite fabric. “When anyone wants to start out, you’ve got to be prepared for hard work. From the outside looking in, people can think, ‘Oh, it’s happened in such a short amount of time and things have gone really well,’ but behind all of
So many people want to TELL you their OPINIONS... but you really need to FILTER it all and stay TRUE to who you are...
that there is so much hard work and a whole history of connecting dots,” says Peter. “You have to remain focused,” adds MarioLuca. “So many people want to tell you their opinions, which is fine, but you really need to filter it all and stay true to who you are and what your vision is in order to have your own voice.” “What we identified at the very beginning was that our collection was quite niche for Australia. The whole world comes to Paris for fashion week, so by being here, we are able to attract multiple markets in one go, in one city, in a limited time. For now, it’s really just establishing key retailers across all the major markets. We are back in Paris in September for the womenswear, so we are really excited about what opportunities lie ahead,” adds Peter. With a young family at home, Mario-Luca has contemplated the move to Paris at some point in the future. “At the same time, there is something really special about being in Australia, getting over here, doing what you have to do and then disappearing. Back to our studio in Melbourne, back to the calmness somewhat,” says Peter.
> COLLECTIVE x MYER
THE BUYER – TENEILLE FERGUSON ON A DAILY BASIS I’M RUNNING THE WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL AND AUSTRALIAN DESIGNER BUSINESS AT MYER. I’m constantly seeking out new brands to appeal to customers as well as engage with the visual merchandising and events team to create excitement and theatre in our stores. HISTORICALLY WE’VE MERCHANDISED THE DESIGNER FLOOR INTO TWO SECTIONS: Australian Designer and International Designer. However, we’re currently mashing this up and re-laying the floor based on aesthetic. This will make much more sense to our customer; when they’re looking for a fabulous gown they only need to go to one location to find a curated edit from Maticevski to Oscar de la Renta.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SANDY ROGULIC
THE LOWDOWN: GETTING STOCKED Want to get your product ranged in Australia’s BIG-SELLING stores? We get exclusive access to MYER’S fashion department to see EXACTLY how it’s done. INTERVIEW MARIELA V. DEMETRIOU WORDS TARA FRANCIS
WHEN SCOUTING A BRAND I look for a point of difference, commerciality, price, current stockists and ‘cannibalisation’ – making sure a new brand complements our existing brand portfolio. It’s important to ensure that the designer is established enough to have a solid supply chain so they can logistically handle supplying to a department store. OPEN TO BUY IS BROKEN DOWN INTO TWO SEASONS: SUMMER AND WINTER. For Australian designers we generally buy one Winter collection which is dropped over threeto-four months from January to May. Then in Summer, we buy two collections – a Spring and high Summer/Resort/Cruise – dropped from July to November. For International Designer we buy four seasons a year which are the opposite to our Australian seasons. WE GENERALLY BUY A NEW BRAND FOR A MINIMUM OF ONE YEAR, as you’ll need to place the following season before you can see how the first season trades. Sometimes you need the learnings of the first season to understand how the customer likes to buy into the collection so the first chance that you will have to do this will be the following year. >
I TRY TO SPEND LOTS OF TIME WITH NEW DESIGNERS IN THE LEAD-UP TO THE LAUNCH AND OVER THE FIRST SEASON. Each brand receives weekly sales information showing performance from a store and style level so they can track what our customer is responding to on a regular basis. I like to review this information on a visual level with the designer so together we can easily identify trends in what’s worked from silhouette, fabrication or colour perspective. I’VE LONG BEEN A FAN OF AJE. and their luxe feminine designs. Each piece is hand embellished, crafted with a combination of natural fibres and luxurious and unique fabrics that are globally sourced. When I started at Myer last year, Aje. was top of the list to approach as I knew our customers would love the brand.
THE ONES TO WATCH
I MET WITH AJE.’S EDWINA ROBINSON AND ADRIAN NORRIS AT THEIR STORE ON HIGH STREET IN ARMADALE, VIC, and we chatted about how well Aje. would fit in with the designer offering at Myer and how I could see showcasing the brand in store as well as key events, such as our biannual Fashion Launch parades and fashion festivals around the country. THE DEPARTMENT STORE GLOSSARY OTB: Open To Buy (how much funds to invest in a brand). De-range: delete from assortment. Options: the amount of the styles you can select. Sell through: the percentage that item or collection has sold. Weeks’ cover: how many weeks’ worth of stock you currently have. Pre-sell: the invite-only event to sell new-season deliveries.
AJE. CURRENTLY DON’T WHOLESALE SO THE ONLY CHANGE REQUIRED was for them to involve me in their range-building and sample process. Prior to sampling, I worked through the storyboards of the collection with proposed fabric swatches with them to indicate what would best be suited to Myer. THE MOST IMPORTANT TIPS FOR DESIGNERS WANTING TO BE RANGED ARE: 1. Ensure your collection has its own ‘handwriting’ and make sure you stay true to this. 2. You need to be confident that the customer will see value in your pricing architecture and that your collection is priced competitively against like brands. 3. It’s important to build your brand awareness through the positioning in the right boutique stockists and a strong social media profile.
PHOTOGRAPHY: SANDY ROGULIC
Internationally, Self-portrait and Needle & Thread offer intricately designed dresses from AU$300 to AU$600. Locally, Acler and Daniel Avakian are new designers to our recently launched Contemporary portfolio that our customer is going to love.
> COLLECTIVE > SECTION x MYER
THE DESIGNERS – AJE. EDWINA ROBINSON AND ADRIAN NORRIS AJE. WAS FOUNDED NEARLY EIGHT YEARS AGO AND OUR LABEL ACHIEVED STEADY GROWTH YEAR ON YEAR. The last two years have been incredibly successful for our brand as we strengthened our own retail platforms and concentrated on a widespread Australian presence. We’d been in talks with Myer for some months and the timing was perfect to join their designer portfolio and commit to our only wholesale partner. WE HAD BEEN IN TALKS WITH MYER FOR SOME TIME, and felt that we’d reached the stage in our business where we could create a strong and cohesive offering for a large department store. THE TIMING WAS CRUCIAL FOR US – many labels make the leap into a department store early on and that can put a strain on logistics and finances that, in turn, can cripple the business. We were aware of this and wanted to be in the strongest position before we signed a deal to ensure the retail partnership was a success. THERE’S YEARS OF PLANNING THAT GO INTO A MEETING LIKE THAT – LITERALLY. It was a full presentation, we talked Teneille through our styles for the first three months that they purchase for and we explained what we were doing with our stores and which direction we were going in, and then we showed that to her. We loved Teneille’s vision for how she wanted to profile Aje. in Myer. Considering what a huge moment this was for our label, it was stress-free and enjoyable.
AJE PHOTOGRAPHY: FELIX FOREST
Your business has to SURVIVE and FLOURISH through your department store partner and you only have ONE CHANCE to prove yourself.
MANY OF OUR BESTSELLERS ARE SIGNATURE AJE. PIECES that we include in our collections with a seasonal twist each time. These already translate well online and we hope that the current best-sellers in our stand-alone stores will translate to the wider consumer audience and become top-selling pieces in Myer.
WE’VE SPENT THE LAST FEW YEARS STREAMLINING OUR INTERNAL DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE PROCESSES, to allow us to move into the department store model with ease and mitigation of financial risk. This meant everything was in place for Myer and we didn’t have to make any major changes – which could have triggered delays and increased the pressure on our team. Again, it was all in the timing and our careful preparation for this moment paid off.
AT THE MOMENT MYER RECEIVES THEIR ‘BUY’ FROM OUR FORTHCOMING COLLECTIONS. We would design bespoke pieces if it was a case of offering a Myer exclusive and this is something we’re working towards. This would be based more on customer demand rather than be determined by cost and volume.
THE ONLY LIMITATION TO BEING STOCKED IN A DEPARTMENT STORE is if the brands’ own internal operations or positioning are not perfect. In this situation brands may find themselves at risk of suffering financially as mistakes will be magnified when working with such a large customer as a department store.
OUR ADVICE IS TO FIRMLY ESTABLISH YOUR OWN BRAND IDENTITY FIRST and work towards streamlining your own business before venturing into a large retailer. Your business has to survive and flourish through your department store partner and you only have one chance to prove yourself.
The ART of LIVING His CREATIONS adorn the walls of the White House, the Vatican and the UN Headquarters. Here, we share sandwiches and champagne with CHARLES BILLICH, one of Australia’s most PROMINENT living PAINTERS. WORDS IAN LLOYD NEUBAUER
etsuya’s. Rockpool. Quay. They’re among the restaurants I imagine Charles Billich will choose for our lunch interview. So it comes as a surprise when his manager suggests I break bread with his flamboyant client and fifth wife Christa Ostermann at their home in Sydney. I tell him I’d be delighted. BILLICH THE HOST Walking into Charles’ penthouse in inner-city Darlinghurst is like walking into the abstract world inhabited by the Greco-Roman characters of his surreal paintings-within-a-painting. The front door is ensconced in a whimsical hand-carved wooden frame from Bali. Shiny black marble leads
to a combined living-dining area decorated with a dozen of his paintings, including a life-sized nude portrait of Christa. Outside, it’s even more impressive. The multimillion-dollar pad is wrapped in a balcony that peers over the Kings Cross red light district, the CBD and Iona, the 130-year-old Victorian mansion of director Baz Luhrmann. “I fell in love with this apartment the moment I saw it and bought it on the spot,” says Christa. “I remember going to a dinner party in Bellevue Hill that night and when I told the other guests I had bought in Darlinghurst, they were shocked. ‘Surely you mean Darling Point’, they said. But today Darlinghurst is a fantastic place. We have put up with a lot of crap over the years but the pluses have been overwhelming. We are right on the edge of the city but because of how high up we are, you can step out onto [the] balcony and enjoy peace and quiet.” “When the pressure gets too much, I don’t throw myself out the window,” quips Charles. “I just walk out to the balcony and in a minute, I’m somewhere else.” The property has been known for hosting extravagant parties attended by the likes of Hugh Hefner’s wife Crystal Harris, who has also posed nude for Charles. “If these walls could talk, they would tell you about a lot of parties and merriment,” he says. “The spa bath [which, by the way, is black with gold-plated faucets] is not used as intensively as it was in the past, but I remember we once had 10 people in there. Another time, I think it was a New Year’s Eve party, we had one band inside and another one on the balcony. Cupid must also have been here at some stage because a lot of relationships started in this place. It is very conducive to eroticism.” That’s as much as most people ever get to see
PORTRAIT + STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHY: ALEXANDER PETTIFORD
> STYLE MAKERS
or hear of Charles Billich: an ageing Don Juan, an eccentric libertine whose fantastic creations adorn the walls of the White House, the Vatican and the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Yet below the surface lies a deeply philosophical being who’s experienced more hardship and deprivation than most could imagine. BILLICH THE POLITICAL PRISONER Charles was born in 1934 in the Italian [presently Croatian] coastal town of Lovran. In 1946, Lovran was acquired by Yugoslavia – a territorial cut-andpaste that saw the artist come of age under the yoke of communism during the height of the Cold War. It would also set him on the path of insurrection – and imprisonment. While working as a journalist at the age of 18, he was sentenced to 10 years hard labour for expressing anti-communist sentiments. “How can one appreciate freedom,” he once told the French literary critic Jean-François Vernay, “without having tasted slavery?” After two long years behind bars, Charles was released under a government amnesty. Unwilling to exchange a closed prison for an open-air one, he fled to Austria where he resided for two years as a political exile before migrating to Australia. The journey was made by sea, which, coupled with his stint in detention, gives Charles special insight into Australia’s approach to asylum seekers. “In Europe, where I am from, there is also this thing happening with asylum seekers. They have thousands of people from Africa turning up there every week. But I feel they have a much more humanitarian and compassionate attitude towards them,” he says. “Australians have a dogmatic stance towards asylum seekers that I see as a form of aversion towards foreigners. “You know, I get angry sometimes because we
are the only species in the world that needs a piece of paper to travel. Birds are free to migrate from north to south and the other way around. Why should we be prevented from doing the same thing?” After arriving in Australia, Charles was sent to the Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre near Wodonga in north-east Victoria where he worked as a translator. Afterwards, he’d intended to go crocodile hunting up north but fell in love with a girl while in transit in Melbourne and ended up driving cabs. It’s during this period of his life that he began painting seriously, first as a sign-writer and then as a student at the National Gallery Art School. “I’m a big believer in the true meaning of the term ‘fine art’,” he says. “Once upon a time we described all art as fine art. But for one reason or another we dropped the adjective – the prefix that implies there is real beauty in art, that beauty is the essential ingredient. As a result of this, a lot of art produced today is downright ugly. “I have committed my life to the restitution of the fine in art and I hope to be remembered as a man whose work is mirrored in that philosophy.”
If these WALLS could TALK, they would tell you about a lot of PARTIES and MERRIMENT.
THE OCTOGENARIAN Though Charles has been afforded the veneer of a man 20 years younger, that can’t account for the artist’s youthful indefatigability. His forthcoming itinerary includes a trip to China, where he holds the title of 77th Honorary Shaolin Monk for a painting of his that depicts the celebrations that followed China’s successful bid to host the 2008 Olympics. His paintings of the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an – one of the country’s most recognisable historical icons – have even appeared on a series of Chinese postage stamps. >
“The Chinese Government, they are communists, and I suffered a lot under the communists in Europe. So it may seem strange that I have given so much of my time to them,” says Charles. “But they are not real communists, they are communist in name only. Their system is a hybrid of market forces that has greatly improved the lot of the Chinese people. I have concluded that China is less of an autocracy and more of a meritocracy. The technocrats are now running the show.” Charles is also planning a trip to Los Angeles to find a producer to give shape to a film script he wrote. “It is a metaphysical documentary about an artist who becomes infatuated with a beautiful woman who has had one side of her face disfigured by fire,” he explains. “But as he paints both sides of her face to see what she would have looked like before the catastrophe, he falls in love with her and the power of his love restores beauty to the rest of her face. It’s a story about how love conquers all.” The doorbell rings, pulling me back down to earth. It’s Charles’ manager and he’s brought lunch: a selection of Swiss bread sandwiches filled with salmon and dill, chicken schnitzel or ham and cheese, which we wash down with Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM CHARLES BILLICH Don’t conform to dogma. Reinvent yourself periodically with unpredictable and provocative Christa is a epiphanies. charming hostess, Embrace a turbulent life journey. oscillating from humour (“Charles and Find a medium to express yourself. I have been happily married for 28 years. Realise discipline determines inspiration and that it takes focus to I’ve been married and materialise your vision. he’s been happy”) to the story of how she Hone your skills so when your creative ideas strike, you can execute them. found her beloved Chihuahua Charlie. “He was rescued from a situation where people did not want him,” she says about one of the two little dogs begging for scraps under the table. Charles looks lovingly at his wife. “The other one she named Tilly after the famous Kings Cross courtesan Tilly Devine,” he says. After spending the day with Charles, I have trouble imagining a world without him in it. When and if his mortality ever catches up with him, Australia’s art scene will be a much less colourful place. “I always had the feeling I would only be discovered posthumously as an artist,” he says, walking me to the door. “Don’t get me wrong. I am not disappointed. Success has given me a great deal of freedom because it has meant I have not had to comply to the dictates and tastes of others. It’s allowed me to follow my vision instead.”
MODELS - BILLIE EDWARDS & EMILY GURR / MAKE UP ARTIST - PENNY ANTUAR / STYLIST - NATALIE DIO
PHOTOGRAPHER TESS LEOPOLD HAS AN EYE FOR ADVENTURE “I want to captivate, engage, challenge and create an element of difference – of art. That’s the essence of what I do,” says photographer Tess Leopold of her life behind the lens. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS SHOOT? It was so special as I was working with such an incredible team. Shooting with the beautiful Billie Edwards and Emily Gurr, we headed out into the Byron Bay hinterland where we came across the perfect landscape for our creative direction. Make-up [artist] Penny Antuar was along for the ride and stepped in when even the slightest hair was out of place! Capturing moments of a beautiful story, the girls brought this to life in a way I could have only hoped for. WERE THERE ANY OBSTACLES? When shooting on location, the weather is either your best or worst friend! It’s pivotal in how a shoot is ultimately going to look. In two of these shoots we had high winds and rain, which of course isn’t ideal, but it’s out of your control. All you can do is try and use it. WHERE DID THIS ALL START? It was on my ﬁrst overseas trip at the age of nine. My mum encouraged me to buy my ﬁrst camera – a 35mm compact ﬁlm camera. I continued studying photography through school, but never imagined it would be something I could pursue as a career. After ﬁnishing school and moving from Melbourne to northern NSW, I fell back into documenting my life and surrounds. It wasn’t until going to Bali in an effort to relax that I decided I wanted to try and pursue it professionally. That was in March 2014 and that September I had my ﬁrst paid shoot.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED? Trust yourself. My dad always said that he trusted who I was… it is something I carry with me every day and a gift I want to share with so many others. We live in a world that is extremely fast-paced with a lot of competition and uncertainty. It’s definitely daunting and super scary at times but I also think it plays an important role [in terms] of what makes the world such a special place. If you can trust and believe in yourself, I think that anything is possible. No dream is too big. TOOL-KIT ESSENTIALS? Most definitely a full stomach! Excitement, knowledge, my camera – a MUST – a creative eye and a happy heart. TRENDS YOU’RE LOVIN’? I’m loving anything oversized. A flared pant with an oversized shirt. Big knit dresses or a wide-legged pant with a tucked knit or oversized tee. Anything comfy and cosy for this time of year. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? I’d love to do some more travelling, create something you can hold and maybe something you can wear. Stay tuned for those ones. TOP TIPS FOR LOCATION SHOOTS: Go in knowing what idea you’re trying to communicate. Be open and prepared for things to change and not go according to plan. Utilise what you have and use it to your advantage. Get creative and be innovative. Always, always, always have fun!
WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF Through its BOUTIQUES and ATELIERS, iconic BALLET brand REPETTO has created a world where MAGIC exists, TRADITION is exalted and QUALITY reigns SUPREME. WORDS FIONA MACDONALD
tanding in front of the Repetto store at 22, Rue de la Paix in Paris’ Opera district, it’s hard not to feel like a child again. Depending on the timing of your visit, you might find yourself staring into a sparkling winter forest, complete with falling snowflakes, or at tiny ballerinas twirling inside oversized music boxes. Or perhaps colourful painted dancers or hundreds of pointe shoes hanging like pieces of art. Whatever you find, you’re guaranteed to see something charmed, which is exactly what CEO Jean-Marc Gaucher has sought to create. From its beginnings in 1947, the renowned ballet brand has always been about fulfilling dreams. It was in the aftermath of World War II that founder Rose Repetto created the first pair of ballet shoes for her son, renowned choreographer Roland Petit, who was sick of bleeding toes and sore feet from dancing all day. The shoes she crafted were so comfortable that she was soon making them for all her son’s friends, too – including iconic dancers Zizi Jeanmaire, Maurice-Jean Berger and half the cast from the Paris Opera Ballet – all from her tiny workshop near the Opera building. Then in 1956, one of Roland’s female friends asked her to make a pair of soled ballet flats, or ‘ballerinas’ as they call them in France, so she could wear them every day. “This young girl was Brigitte Bardot, and that was the launch of the first ‘ballerina’,” explains Jean-Marc. “Since then, we have had one step in ballet and one step in the luxury world.” >
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Thanks to the universal success of the ballet flat, Rose set up her first boutique on Rue de la Paix a few years later, and over the next three decades it was filled not only by top dancers, but also iconic artists and celebrities like Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. But after Rose died in 1984, the brand was passed between retail companies and it soon faded out of fashion. When Jean-Marc purchased the company in 1999, he says only dancers and “old women with bad feet” wore the shoes. But as the former CEO of Reebok France, he had witnessed first-hand the explosion of sportswear into the streets and saw an opportunity to do the same again. “Before I bought the company I wrote down what I wanted to do,” he says. “My target was to create a worldwide brand, which was developing exclusive products and was positioned in the luxury market, as well as creating the most technical products of the dance industry.” This has resulted in the brand’s expansion from dance shoes and a select range of flats, into high heels, readyto-wear fashion, handbags and even perfume. There have been collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Comme des Garçons and Issey Miyake, as well as special designs made for the brand by style icons like Chloë Sevigny and Vanessa Paradis. But Jean-Marc insists none of this has changed the core vision for the label, which still makes more shoes for dance than anything else. “Everything we’ve done in the past 17 years has been focused behind this strategy,” he adds. “I want to create something that makes women feel. I want to build a dream.” This is reflected not only in the beautiful windows of its boutiques – which now number close to 80 worldwide – but also in the culture of the company itself.
Jean-Marc has insisted on keeping all manufacturing in Repetto’s own factory in SaintMédard d’Excideuil in southwest France and still sources leather from families around Europe that the brand has maintained long-standing relationships with. In several stores he’s introduced ateliers, where customers can custom-make their own shoes. And Repetto now makes made-to-measure pointe shoes for the ballet companies they supply around Europe. In their head office, just 2km down the road from the flagship Rue de la Paix store, there’s a core team of around 15 people who oversee the design and aesthetic of all the boutiques, but JeanMarc encourages every one of the 350 workers in the company to get involved in its direction. “Ideas happen everywhere in Repetto,” he explains. “We collect information from the staff in our factories and our stores, and we use any that are good.” These ideas are rewarded with bonuses, regardless of where they came from. The dedication to quality at all levels is so much that, in 2012, Repetto created a specialist school in the south of France, to train all its factory workers, and teach the next generation of crafters how to stitch the perfect shoe. In the years since, Hermès has also joined the school, alongside a leading equestrian brand, and it’s become one of the best places in the world to learn leathercraft.
I want to CREATE SOMETHING that makes women FEEL. I want to build a DREAM.
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GOT BALLET FEVER?
In the Repetto stores themselves, Jean-Marc makes sure at least 40 per cent of the staff at all times are current or former dancers, to make sure it doesn’t become ‘just another shop.’ “I want customers to feel the dance heritage when they walk in the store,” he explains. It’s for this reason that a towering wall of pointe shoes is the first thing visitors to the Rue de la Paix store see when they enter. And it’s also why Jean-Marc refuses to showcase products for sale in the iconic window displays. “If people want to buy something they have to get inside the store,” he says. “Outside, I’m selling an idea.” These installations can be productions in themselves, sometimes requiring hundreds of people to install them and resulting in the Rue de la Paix window being boarded up to passers-by for more than 24 hours while it’s completed. The most elaborate so far, Jean-Marc says, was the creation of an interactive series of moving ballet dancers in 2011, which responded to the arm movements of people outside the store using Kinect technology. Passers-by could simply swipe their arms to rotate the dancers. “It took three days to get it all working,” admits Jean-Marc. For other window displays, his team has also created hundreds of pointe shoes, and six custommade tutus – at AU$2000 a tutu. The most expensive window display so far cost well over AU$100,000. Jean-Marc won’t reveal
which window it was, but he will say it was “the best ad we never had.” “People see something like this and they’ll come back one day, even if they can’t afford the brand now,” he says. In the post-financial crisis world, splashing out on elaborate installations, European manufacturing and specialist education may seem frivolous for a retail brand, but it all goes back to Jean-Marc’s vision when he started the company – to create something beautiful. And not that it matters, but the company has grown, on average, 25 per cent each year over the past 12 years. “We could sell more, but I don’t want to sell to any store. I don’t want to source leather in some country that has suspicious ethics. I don’t want to look for cheap labour costs to make more money. It’s not the purpose,” he says. “Money is important for a company obviously, but money should be the consequence of doing a good job.” He says when the day comes to leave Repetto, he wants one of the big luxury groups to take on the brand. But although there have been nibbles, he’s not ready to give it up yet. For now, he’s more excited about what the store did for Mother’s Day in France this year. “If you bought your mother a pair of Repettos this year, we named a star after her,” he explains, excitedly scrolling through photos of the display. “The windows of the store were full of stars with women’s names on them. We really made mums the star for one day,” he adds. “This is what a brand has to do to stand out.” See? Magic.
I want customers to FEEL the DANCE HERITAGE when they walk in the store.
SEPT 15 THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET THE SLEEPING BEAUTY WORLD PREMIERE Fairies, bluebirds, a gilded court and a spell-shattering kiss: the world’s most extravagant ballet is awakened to new life by artistic director David McAllister.
SEPT 19 – DEC 2 THE ROYAL BALLET ROMEO AND JULIET A tragic tale of starcrossed lovers; Kenneth MacMillan’s groundbreaking ballet is a 20th century classic.
SEPT 22-29 NEW YORK CITY BALLET SWAN LAKE Peter Martins’ staging of ‘Swan Lake’ infuses the preeminent story ballet with New York City Ballet’s signature musicality, speed, and sharpness of attack.
IN GOOD SPIRITS It’s the TONIC that’s transporting us to the ROSE GARDENS of yesteryear – with a side of cucumber for the ride. We delve into the SPECIAL STORY (and somebodies) behind Hendrick’s gin. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
IMAGES COURTESY OF HENDRICKS GIN
r Piper breaks his pour of polished vowels, raising a meticulously groomed brow. “Gosh, it’s funny,” he muses. “I just had an image of myself delivering a very, very dry scientific lecture dressed in a tutu, waving a cucumber.” In the armchair to his left, the twinkleeyed owner of a coccyx-sweeping plait smiles, all-too knowing of her colourful colleague’s quips. Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Hendrick’s. The peculiar pair next to me are the bottle’s Global Ambassador (former “Commander of Special Operations”), David Piper, and Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie. Their tipple? A heady, cucumber and rose-infused Scottish gin that has punters asking for “Hendrick’s. With cucumber, not lime” – a cry echoed the world over by the (drinking-age) children of a gin revolution. Spilling onto the scene in 1999,
Hendrick’s enjoyed what David describes as a slow and steady growth. “Probably more by word-of-mouth than any of our silly efforts,” he says. “Although we always do try and keep things fun. “There’s an experience for people in the bottle and we extrapolate that into a fantastical world, and try to make what can often be a mundane and boring, worker-day world into something a bit deeper and weirder. I think people always respond to a little bit of nonsense, shifting of reality and playfulness, and that opens up so much for the imagination.” Such pomp and splendour attracts drinkers of a certain ilk; those most fickle of consumers – the millennial hipster. Hendrick’s even goes so far as to indifferently utter, “It is not for everyone,” and, having been introduced to the said drop by such heavily-bearded individuals, I wonder will the tipple outlast the trend? According to David, unquestionably. “We may get taken up with an idea of
what’s cool, but at the end of the day it’s all about incredible-tasting gin,” he says. “We always just try and be as different as possible to anybody else, and timeless, and not really bothered with things like that.” Undeniable, though, is their pull on the inner-city, cultured patron, lured by Hendrick’s’ apothecary-style bottle and, albeit invented, vintage aesthetic. In fairness, while the gin itself is in its teenage years, its distillation occurs in the bowels of the Bennett Still, crafted by coppersmiths in 1860. In 1966, Charles Gordon, of fivegeneration-strong Scottish distiller William Grant & Sons, bought the Bennett Still (and a very rare CarterHead Still) at auction but waited a full 33 years before using them, enlisting the likes of the chemist smiling before me. “We did a lot of work in the lab on secret ingredient distillations,” says Yorkshire-born Lesley who, since joining the company in 1988, has tinkered away in its distillery in the small Scottish village of Girvan. >
So how did Lesley know she’d hit upon the final concoction – which has a mix of no less than 11 botanicals (juniper, cubeb berries, yarrow, elderflower, lemon peel, orris root, orange peel, angelica root, caraway seeds and coriander… if you were wondering), infused with cucumber and rose petals? “The people Lesley was giving it to taste stopped dying,” deadpans David, to which Lesley adds, equally straight-faced, “Yeah, there was that… and the alcoholic unit at the local hospital was full, so we had to stop at that point.” Then in seriousness, she adds, “The gins on the market were all very similar – very light with not much to them. And then suddenly Hendrick’s became something a step away from what everybody else was.” In 2013, William Grant & Sons (Hendrick’s’ parent company along with a host of higher-enders, including Glenfiddich whiskey) saw profit jump 10.6 per cent, with CEO Stella David telling the Herald Scotland that the growth could be attributed to the oldest of human crafts. “In short,” she said, “we want to inspire our consumers with our great liquids and the great stories our brands have to tell.” And they’re stories like no other – such as David and Lesley’s recent
forage for botanicals, deep in the heart of the Venezuelan jungle. “It’s always good to find something new,” says Lesley. “And for gin you can use anything, so long as it’s non-poisonous, of course. We met a real Indiana Jones-type character – mid-70s, big, white moustache…” As David puts simply: “Basically, we met Charles.” British modern-day explorer Charles Brewer-Carías welcomed the pair into his “garden” (“which is what he calls the whole Venezuelan rainforest”), with expert botanist Francisco Delascio and David’s little ice machine in tow – the latter delighting the local Kanaracuni natives. “Most of those guys had never seen ice before,” says David, who insisted on making them all a gin martini – “given that I think it’s one of our civilisation’s highest achievements”. “The Indians use their alcohol for storytelling,” he notes. “It’s a ceremonial thing. And when I found that out, it was like, ‘Oh! So do we.’ We drink to loosen our tongues and talk amongst ourselves. And I think it’s an important part of what we do because taste doesn’t operate independently – it’s not a very rational sense – it’s instinctive and much closer to our subconscious and imagination.
“So the stories that go into the bottle, in a way that you couldn’t necessarily prove scientifically, are an important part of the experience.” That said, there’s plenty of science crammed in there too. Armed with her “baby” 10-litre still, Lesley mixed all manner of exotic finds throughout the trip. “We did distillations on some flowers that were really, really nice, weren’t they?” she beams at David, “but for a gin they just weren’t working.” Much to David’s amusement, they also found a whole hillside of funny little plants called ‘Mother-in-Law’s Sh*ts’. “And then we found another type and I thought, ‘please make this taste good, I really want to be able to do a gin with this,’” says David.
> MOVERS + SHAKERS
“The plant was called ‘Wild Pigs P*ss’. I just thought a Hendrick’s with Wild Pigs P*ss would be hilarious, but…” Lesley cuts in: “The clue was in the name.” After being held at arrow-point by locals and terrorised by the deadly “ventiquattro ant”, the pair eventually discovered the delectable Stachytarpheta cayennesis (known to the locals as ‘Scorpion Tail’). “It certainly pricked Lesley’s nose up,” says David, of the woman who personally distils every batch the company puts out, which over 15 years has grown to more than 3 million bottles globally. “That’s the only way you’re absolutely sure of getting what you want,” she says. “You can never automate a system where you’re doing extracts and that sort of thing. You’ve got to check everything at every stage to make sure it’s right.” “The opposite to doing things the way we do it is to have it rationalised, which means making it as simple and costeffective as possible, and cutting out all elements of chance that can come in,” adds David, a former cabaret performer who himself chanced upon the brand in 2003, during its foray onto British soil that same year. Hired as the MC for the London launch, a close affinity between David’s whimsical way and the world of Hendrick’s materialised. “So they got me building Victorian nonsensical bicycle contraptions, steampowered cocktail shakers and various other ridiculous things,” he recalls.
“Each year the brand would grow a bit more, the projects got bigger and bigger until eventually, it became full-time.” He’s now one of the 11 debonair ambassadors (including Sébastien Derbomez, a Frenchman representing a Scottish gin, in Australia) spreading the cucumber gospel. “Waving a cucumber around is not quite enough, but it’s actually a very simple thing,” he says. “All you have to do is get people to taste, and the slice of cucumber really does lift up the Hendrick’s and tonic and make something quite different. We do a lot of work talking to bartenders and educating them as much as possible. “Really, they’re the people who’ve built the brand since the beginning,” he remarks, before raising that eyebrow again. “And you know, there’s always ways of getting messages across which are both serious, and silly.” Back at the lab, Hendrick’s has invested in a state-of-the-art greenhouse to research the growth of an exotic variety of cucumbers to accompany its G&Ts, but despite Lesley’s enthusiasm (“there are just so many plants out there, the opportunities are just tremendous!”), the young brand is still taking things slow and steady. “The world moves very quickly these days, with demand and pressure – people saying ‘bring out different or a higherstrength versions’ – but we’d rather take our time and do things right,” says David. As for him donning a tutu… “That’s never happened, but it might, I wouldn’t rule it out…”
IMAGES COURTESY OF HENDRICKS GIN
We may get taken up with an IDEA of what’s cool, but at the end of the day it’s all about INCREDIBLE tasting gin.
I FROM SEED TO SKIN While paddock-to-plate may be in VOGUE for restaurants a plenty, one brand has long been COMMITTED to the lesser-known premise of SEED-TO-SKIN. WORDS HANNAH PRONESTI
t all started with one couple, one dream and a humble herb farm in the Adelaide Hills. It’s been 30 years since Dr Jurgen Klein, a biochemist and naturopath, and his wife Ulrike, a horticulturist and botanist, arrived in Australia in pursuit of a fertile patch of dirt in which to grow their dream. This little patch of dirt would eventually become the birthplace of natural skincare brand, Jurlique – a phonetic combination of their names – which today grows 32 different herbs, from marshmallow (to provide hydrating and softening benefits to the skin) to spilanthes (to soothe the skin), for a skincare brand that’s now stocked in more than 1200 stores in 20 countries. “Predominantly we grow European herbs, as they quite like the Adelaide Hills for its cooler growing climate,” says Jurlique’s horticultural specialist, Marc Intervera, adding that their farm is about as close to the European climate as you can find in Australia. And having been with the company for five years, he should know. But even with that very first seed, Jurgen and Ulrike practiced a form of farming that has since made its way onto the menu descriptions of hip city cafes and restaurants alike: the biodynamic approach. Conceptualised by Rudolf Steiner and first appearing in farming circles in 1924, biodynamic farming aims to not only grow high yielding crops but also nurture
> COLLECTIVE x JURLIQUE
and increase the fertility of the soil. “It views the farm as a living individual within the living earth and universe,” says Marc, chatting from the Jurlique Herb Farm, a larger property just down the road from the original Jurlique HQ (as the brand grew, so did its need for land). According to Marc, the soil is treated with a mixture of fermented plants, minerals and animal substances and they also use a one-in-three rotation, where the same family of plants, excluding perennials like rose and birch, aren’t grown in the same ground for more than one in three years. “It’s creating a highly fertile environment,” he says. “We make our own preparations and use them on the property – in the soil, in the atmosphere and in our compost, to help activate the vitality and life force of the farm. “We really do control the supply chain from seed to skin,” he continues, “From the hand that puts the seed in the ground all the way through our manufacturing process and ultimately to the stores. “We can trace a product on the shelf all the way back to where and when the petals were picked on the farm,” he says proudly. “From seed to store, we have full traceability.” According to Marc, what happens at the store directly affects what happens on the farm. He says Jurlique aims to only grow the number of plants they’ll actually need, derived from projected sales forecasts, plus a buffer. “Each year we have enough herbs stored
in our sheds to last us for the next three years,” says Marc. Picked from October to midDecember, in a seven to eight week harvest, herbs and flowers remain in a drying shed for up to a week before being vacuum-sealed and a sample from each batch sent for quality testing. In Marc’s five years, he says not one batch has failed the test. Since its establishment in 1985, Jurlique has grown much like the herbs it cultivates. The year 2011 was something of a rebirth for the brand, when it was sold to POLA Orbis Holdings, a Japanese cosmetics and skincare company, for a reported enterprise value of AU$335 million (3.5 times its 2011 sales). “Being a skincare company, the current ownership has long-term ambitions in the skin care industry. They are here to grow the company,” says Marc. For a brand that has been around since the mideighties, Jurlique has aged better than most, perhaps a testament to its organic practices. Ulrike still visits the farm and has been a vital part of the company’s 30th-anniversary celebrations around the world, which includes the release of the limitededition Precious Rose Hand Cream, a more intense version of their international best-selling Rose Hand Cream. Alongside the 14 other employees at the farm, Marc is seeking to contribute to the legacy left by their founders. “We are really just gatekeepers here,” he says, “Helping to look after the farm so it’s in the best condition possible for the next generation.”
We can trace a PRODUCT on the shelf all the way back to where and when the PETALS were PICKED on the farm.
> COLLECTIVE x THE ENTOURAGE
EARTH SHAKERS Want to LEARN how to CHANGE the WORLD? Maybe it’s time to LOOK UP WORDS JACK DELOSA
I believe a lot of what you need to know about living, you can learn from the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for an example on which to base your life, then you only need to turn your attention to the commercial visionaries of our century – Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and the like. Sadly, there are many people who would view these examples in a purely capitalistic and, in my mind, slightly cynical way. But, focusing purely on fame and fortune overlooks the greatest examples these entrepreneurs set. It belittles the real lessons they embody. The lives and actions of these business leaders do not show us the importance of wealth, infamy or power. Instead, they personify the most important ingredients that underpin any personal endeavour: the willingness to have a unique vision, the courage to follow it through and a deep, insatiable yearning to change the world. Yoko Ono once said “You change the world by being yourself.” There are very few people in this world who have true entrepreneurial qualities, but we are all enabled for greatness in some way. If you are not out to change the world in at least one of the following ways, you are not tapping into your inherent greatness. And it is time you claimed it.
CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH AUTHENTICITY We have a deep need to belong and to do so, we conform to society’s ideals. Exceptionalism becomes something to judge in others and supress in ourselves. But there is something in you that is uniquely special and, if you can find the courage to be authentically yourself, that special something has the power to influence. Just like Steve Jobs and Oprah, I encourage you to place higher importance on your own inner GPS than on the expectations of society. After all, how can you change the world when you choose to work within its limitations? CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH ALCHEMY Like all entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have spent their lives tinkering with a universe that is not yet material. They have shown us how to envision a world, a business, a model, a product, a team, that does not exist. Creativity is the purest vehicle for selfexpression. It brings into the world things that never were; that are unique to you, and that have come exclusively through you. It is there, in the DNA of your creations, that you can make your greatest and most enduring mark on the world. CHANGING THE WORLD THROUGH ALTRUISM Silicon Valley stalwart Guy Kawasaki once said “Great companies start because the founders want to change the world... not make a fast buck.” Great lives begin with the same intent. Modern entrepreneurs have shown that greatness comes with a healthy dose of altruism. They have created a blueprint for the new business leader and have highlighted that great lives – great people – are ultimately driven to help, support, lift and enhance the lives of others. Compassion is not a weakness; it is an incredible strength and one that can motivate and drive us all to change the lives we touch. To, ultimately, change the world. +++ Jack Delosa is an entrepreneur, investor and founder of The Entourage, Australia’s largest education institution for entrepreneurs.
Arguably the most UBIQUITOUS product on the planet, the humble, COKE BOTTLE turns 100 this year. So how has its DESIGN earned its enduring place in POPULAR culture?
COCA-COLA DESIGN - 100 YEAR CONTOUR CELEBRATION - MASHUP POSTER. © 2014 THE COCA-COLA COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
WORDS ANGIE FOX
oted industrial designer Raymond Loewy called the contour Coke bottle the “perfect liquid wrapper.” “Pleasing to the hand, cold to the touch and in doing what it did – which was to deliver a beverage – it did it perfectly,” adds Coca-Cola Director of Heritage Communications Ted Ryan down the line from Coke headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Ted is heavily involved with the company’s celebrations of the bottle that has played a significant role in defining 20th and 21stcentury design and popular culture. “The bottle has been celebrated in art, music and advertising,” he says excitedly, before zeroing in on artist Andy Warhol. “He was looking for a mass-produced item that meant something to everybody, to make his art mean something to everybody.” While Warhol is probably the most famous artist to depict the Coke bottle, Salvador Dali was the first popular artist to incorporate the bottle in a painting when he created ‘Poetry of America’ in 1943.
In May 1950, the bottle became the first commercial product to grace the cover of TIME magazine. Icons of stage and screen, from Marilyn Monroe and Ray Charles to Elvis Presley and Madonna have all been associated with the drink and even advertisers have likened their products to the bottle. Described as having an “encyclopedic knowledge” of Coke’s history, Ted has compiled a list of more than 300 film and television references to Coke from 1933 to the present day. Most recently, a 1970s advertisement for the drink played a pivotal role in the final episode of the much lauded television series Mad Men. In fact, Ted was one of a handful of people who knew that Mad Men producer Matthew Weiner intended to use an iconic Coke advertisement in the last moments of the final episode. While the company’s rich history is celebrated and referenced day-to-day in the realms of marketing, advertising and even corporate culture, Ted describes the Coca-Cola Company as forward-thinking. >
YEAH, THAT HAPPENED Coke reached new heights in 1985 – galactic ones – when it was made available on board the Space Shuttle Challenger.
5 BILLION The number of bottles of Coke that US forces reportedly guzzled during World War II.
“Heritage plays a role, but it is not dominant,” he says. “The company is a 21st century company looking forward, focusing on the future… the nostalgia serves as a guide post. “One of our former chairmen used to say his job every day was to go polish the trademark a little brighter. I always take that to heart because that’s pretty much what I do. I take the trademark and the colour red and the contour bottle, all the different assets we have at our disposal, and I polish them up a little brighter and share them around.” Never more so than this year; 100 years since the Coca-Cola Company issued a design competition asking 10 glass companies to design a bottle so distinct it could be recognised “by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.” The competition, says Ted, was issued out of necessity. Coca-Cola, established in 1886, began existence as a soda fountain drink sold in Atlanta. On average, nine drinks a day were consumed in that first year. The drink experienced explosive growth and by 1900 was sold in every state in the US and not long after in Cuba, Mexico
and Canada as well. The company began bottling their popular drink at the turn of the century and by 1920, more than 1200 Coca-Cola bottling operations were established across the US. The original bottle was straight-sided and easily imitable. “Coca-Cola was so popular in the early 1900s that competitors were trying to imitate our logo,” says Ted, adding copycat products like KokaNola, Toka-Cola and even Koke rapidly emerged. The Root Glass Company in Indiana designed the winning bottle, inspired by the shape of the cocoa pod, and the original design is still on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. “Our script logo hasn’t changed in 100-plus years, our colour red hasn’t changed in 100-plus years and once we got a bottle that we liked, we didn’t change that either,” he says. Today, through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries drink Coke at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day. “It is the continued use of something that is so clearly identifiable, with a product that essentially makes people
Coca-Cola was so POPULAR in the early 1900s that COMPETITORS were trying to IMITATE our logo.
TAKE THAT In 1950, the Coke bottle became the ﬁrst commercial product to feature on the cover of TIME magazine.
SHAKING UP STEREOTYPES In a welcome flip of traditional gender roles, 1994 saw the ﬁrst Coca-Cola ‘hunk’ ad appear, where a flock of female ofﬁce workers took a moment to admire a shirtless construction worker (played by American actor and model, Lucky Vanous) enjoying what would become known as the ‘Diet Coke break’. A runaway success, hunks have continued to pop up in campaigns ever since – including 2007’s ‘Repairman’ and ‘The Gardener’ in 2013.
IMAGES COURTESY OF THE COCA-COLA COMPANY - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
TED RYAN, COCACOLA DIRECTOR OF HERITAGE COMMUNICATIONS
happy, gives them a moment of pause and refreshes… that creates an icon,” says Ted, adding that the basic design of the bottle did not change until 1955 when a king-sized version was introduced. The contour bottle with the distinctive ‘Coca-Cola’ cursive was trademarked in 1960 and in 1977, the bottle without the words, and therefore just the shape itself, was trademarked. Today, the original bottle shape is referenced in its many modern incarnations and materials, from the aluminium can to the recyclable PET container. The bottle has been so prolific in popular culture not only because it was depicted so often by artists or loved so greatly by celebrities, but also because it “belonged there,” believes Ted. He refers to a photograph taken by Imogen Cunningham of the great American photographer Ansel Adams taking a break from shooting dramatic shots of Yosemite Valley in California. The photo shows Ansel sitting in his truck sipping on the drink. “The picture encapsulates for me why the bottle is so special. It’s because it wasn’t special. It just belonged there. As Ansel Adams was taking this picture, what else was he going to drink as he took a break except drink a Coke out of a Coke bottle? It has that kind of importance,” says Ted. Two pop culture shows featuring
artworks and an installation detailing the birth of the contour bottle are currently touring the globe. They incorporate the “Kissed By” campaign; featuring images of pop culture icons Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles caught taking a sip. Punters are invited to pose against these photographic backdrops also being “kissed by” a bottle. The brand has also expanded its archive app to include an interactive Coke bottle retrospective as part of a virtual tour of its history. Passionate about the company itself, Ted is confident people around the globe will relate to the exhibition. After all, everyone has a Coke story, he says. “One of my first memories is my grandfather giving me a Coke bottle at a baseball game. I’ll never forget it. It’s ice cold. You pop the top and hear the hiss. You bring it to your mouth. It’s a perfect experience.” You can hear the smile in his voice.
HE SAID IT “The Coke bottle is a masterpiece of scientiﬁc, functional planning. In simpler terms, I would describe the bottle as well-thought-out, logical, sparing of material and pleasant to look at. The most perfect ‘fluid wrapper’ of the day and one of the classics in packaging history.” - Raymond Loewy, industrial designer THE COLLECTIVE
ROOM ON THE FLY One of the MOST DOWNLOADED apps in the US, the team behind Hotel Tonight are proving why you DON’T always need a WEBSITE. WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
or the amount of money that we’ve spent on marketing, it’s obscene how many people are using HotelTonight,” laughs Jared Simon, who started his career in corporate finance prior to realising “life was supposed to be enjoyable”. And with 13 million worldwide downloads of the last-minute hotel-booking app, we’re inclined to agree. “I certainly learned that I was not long for that world,” he says, having turned to travel in a stint with online agency, Orbitz. “Frankly, I just fell in love with the industry… and hotels specifically. I think that the experience of staying in a hotel is automatically a fun experience. Some sort of magic that happens – I don’t know what it is, but I wanted to be part of it… 12 years later, here I am”. That’s HotelTonight’s San Francisco headquarters, to be precise. Since Jared and co-founders Sam Shank and Chris Bailey launched in 2010, the Silicon Valley-born, mobile-only business has become one of the most downloaded apps in the US – spreading its message of living ‘a life less planned’ to more than 500 cities across the globe. TRAVEL IS SUCH A FUN INDUSTRY BECAUSE IT’S GENERALLY AN EARLY ADOPTER OF NEW TECHNOLOGY. And it’s a driver of that technology. I would argue that when the Internet started coming into being in the late ’90s, the travel industry was one of the first industries to jump in with both feet and really embrace this new technology, and push it along and demonstrate the value – the utility – of the web for booking travel. This shift to mobile is every bit as dramatic in my mind as that shift to the web was, and the travel industry is going to embrace this one as well.
I WISH I COULD SAY I HAD A MASTER PLAN… but I am a firm believer in being opportunistic and taking advantage of what comes your way. I reached out to Sam [Shank] and said, ‘Do you know anyone doing anything interesting – I’m checking around,’ and he said, ‘I’ve got this idea. I’m out of time right now but I’ll be back Monday, let’s get coffee.’ So that weekend my then-fiancé, now wife, and I were out at dinner in the city and wanted to make a little vacation of it. We were there at the table, trying on our mobile phones to find a hotel for the night and there was no way to do it at that time. There were websites that weren’t optimised for mobile so it was very difficult to see what you were doing. We finally gave up and walked to a hotel nearby. Then Monday morning I show up for coffee with Sam and he’s like, “Here’s my idea – spontaneous hotel stays.” I signed up.
The product wasn’t nearly as SLICK as it is now. The app looked really BEAUTIFUL, but behind-the-scenes it was me CALLING hotels.
THESE KINDS OF IDEAS ARE LIKE A GAS. THEY’LL EXPAND TO FILL WHATEVER SPACE YOU GIVE THEM. So we forced ourselves. We started working on it in September 2010 and we said we’re going to submit this to the app store by Christmas – that’s 10 weeks, and it’s just three of us, and we did it… The product wasn’t nearly as slick as it is now. The app looked really beautiful, but behind-the-scenes it was me calling hotels. It was very low-tech in the background. We iterated – built that function up over time, and now the back end is just as slick as the front end is. But it was a great learning experience – forcing ourselves to get it done and get something out there. It’s the best way to learn whether anyone likes it, whether it’s going to resonate with anybody. If you’re just coding for a year, you’re living in a bubble – you have no feedback. >
CO-FOUNDERS JARED SIMON, SAM SHANK AND CHRIS BAILEY
IT WAS 11PM ON A TUESDAY NIGHT… WHEN WE GOT THE EMAIL FROM APPLE SAYING WE WERE LIVE. I won’t repeat what we said, but we had to get some hotels on board. They don’t all move as quickly as we want them to move, so we ended up having a few up there that didn’t necessarily know that they were up there… But, you know, you do what you have to do. You’ve gotta be scrappy at the beginning, and it worked out great; and we quickly backfilled with the real partners and everything worked out fine. MOST PEOPLE DIDN’T HAVE SMARTPHONES AT THAT POINT. And we didn’t have an app to show them even if they did have a smartphone – but the vision resonated with hotels. Hotels have long been looking for some sort of innovation in the industry that gives them a safe way to dispose of distressed inventory. These are rooms that they know are going to go empty, they would like to get rid of them at an aggressive price, but they don’t want to aggravate their loyal bookers who might have paid full price. So our solution was a novel one; the solution being, ‘hey, we’re only going to show a few hotels each day and then we’re going to rotate them every day so that no one can predict which hotels are going to be on display on any given day.’ We were very clear – ‘all we care about is introducing new guests to your hotel at the last minute.’ [HOTELS] ARE USED TO GETTING MISTREATED IN THIS INDUSTRY by the online travel agencies who have bullied them around for years. We’re not interested in that. That’s not our philosophy. We believe we are a two-sided marketplace.
TOP OF THE TECH HEARING DOUBLE
There’s a tidal wave of tunes out there, so one app is cutting through the musical clutter. The brainchild of LA natives Trevor McFedries and Harley Wertheimer, Choice Cuts sends you two songs from any genre every morning. All you have to do is log your phone number on the site and then sit back and let “two ﬁre ass songs” serenade you daily. choicecutshere.com
LOOK! NO HANDS!
For those more into following their heart than their head, a new Apple watch app monitors your heart rate as you peruse matches on Tinder. Texan marketing agency T3 has created “Hands-Free Tinder” – an app that detects the wearer’s heart rate and uses it to either select or reject potential matches. Too bad if you come across a match that utterly terriﬁes you… t-3.com
GOODNESS (FOR) ME
Finding it hard to keep a good habit? The Streaks app allows you to make a list of six things you’d like to turn into habits. Be it hitting the gym, walking the pooch or flossing, your virtuous acts are monitored daily by this baby, which uses your HealthKit data to track your performance. Every time you do a task your winning streak grows. If you don’t, it’s back to square for you. streaksapp.com
Ever wished you could cut a boring speech short with the same swiftness as they do at the Oscars? Agency Rethink might just have created your favourite new app. Recreating the award show play-off music, You’re Cut Off tells anybody who’s been rabbiting on that it’s time to pipe down. Try it in the next boring work meeting you’re forced to sit through. We dare you. rethinkcanada.com
We’ve got customers who book, and we’ve got customers who need to sell rooms. They’re both our customers and we want to build products and services that are valuable for both. And that resonated with hotels. They want to be treated as partners. It makes sense. We give hotels complete freedom to do whatever they want on our platform. And so, for most hotels that we talk to it’s like, ‘why not try this out? There’s this mobile thing, I don’t know anything about it, let’s experiment a little bit – we’ve got nothing to lose.’ GETTING YOUR NAME OUT THERE IS DIFFICULT. The biggest challenge by far in travel is… getting the attention of your potential customers. It’s maybe even more difficult when you tie two hands behind your back and say, ‘I’m going to be mobile only and I’m going to forgo all these other media we can use – a website, things that everyone’s relied on for years. We’re going to make a bet. We’re saying the world is moving to mobile, we’re going to be there NOW and focus on it NOW so we can be the best in the world.’ That comes with some real challenges because finding customers and convincing them to download our app is hard – particularly in the face of big competitors who have lots of money and could spend us out of existence if they wanted to. The fact that we have forced ourselves to focus on this particular medium has forced us to get really creative. WE DO A LOT OF CREATIVE THINGS BEHIND THE SCENES – whatever we’ve got to do to make sure that we can stand by our promise that you can count on HotelTonight. So sometimes we’ll pre-book the rooms – we take the risk on those rooms at that point. Generally, the most successful thing we do is make it worth the hotel’s while to wait and hold that room for our guest. Part of the reason for that is our guests are generally the kinds of guests that hotels want to stay in their hotels. These are people who are up for an adventure; they’re interested in exploring and
We’re going to make a bet. We’re saying the WORLD is moving to MOBILE, we’re going to be there NOW. living life. That means they’re more inclined to take advantage of the amenities the hotel offers and they’re social-media savvy, so they’re likely to talk about the hotel. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF OUR CUSTOMERS HAS A MOBILE PHONE WITH THEM. We know where they are. Whenever they’re using HotelTonight we can communicate with them much more in real time than a company that communicates via a website or email. The fun thing for hotels is we can pass that control on to hotels. CHOOSE A PROBLEM TO SOLVE THAT IS A REAL PROBLEM. Don’t be a solution in search of a problem. And choose something that is universal – a fundamental challenge or pain point for people all over the place, like finding a place to stay tonight. And go in with gusto and conviction. Don’t hedge. You’ve gotta bet on it and try it, otherwise if you fail, you’ll never know if you failed just because you didn’t commit or if it wasn’t a good idea. But if you commit to it, you’ll know for sure. And you know what? It’s likely you’ll succeed.
LIFE THE STATS Created in 2009 US$1,603,000 granted 1603 projects funded 78 chapters 18 countries
EVERYTHING IS AWESOME By name alone you might GUESS that ‘The AWESOME Foundation’ refers to a RAGTAG band of SUPERHEROES – and you wouldn’t be far off. WORDS CHE-MARIE TRIGG
KOLOSSOS BIKE ZOO – AWESOME WITHOUT BORDERS To showcase the dignity of exploited animals, artistic collective Kolossos used their funding to create a ‘bike zoo’: bicycles with sculptural papier-mâché animals. Recent bikes include an elephant, a panda and an orca, and it’s all done in the name of raising awareness of threatened species.
here’s a worldwide network of patrons spread out across 78 chapters where, each month, every member donates US$100 of their own money to their chapter. That’s when the magic happens, as each group gives away a US$1000 grant, no strings attached. You could call it awesome, but they already have. Absolutely any individual or group can pitch for cash, whether it be guerrilla installation of swings around a city, a sculptural blanket fort, or Awesome Foundation creator Tim Hwang’s favourite: a cotton candy cannon. “There’s a kid who went to MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology], who’s basically a genius for cotton candy machines,” says Tim. “He made his first cotton candy machine when he was 12, had a patent on cotton candy machines at 16 and pitched us a project where he wanted to create a cannon that could shoot cotton candy over a distance. We thought it was the funniest, coolest idea, so we funded him to produce it. “We met his parents later, who told us, ‘Man, we thought he would give up cotton candy when he went to college, and then you guys came along,’” laughs Tim. After watching friends trying, and repeatedly failing, to get funding for projects, Tim established The Awesome Foundation in Boston in 2009 as a way for people to get around the bureaucracy and restrictions of most grant processes. “I talked to [my friends] and we were like, ‘what happens if we just started giving away money?’” he says. Tim quickly discovered people seemed to have no qualms about handing over US$100 a month to total strangers. “I was surprised, because I thought the original
problem would be getting people to commit to that amount of money. But I think people were really excited. You get to see those projects turn into reality.” The only rule for applicants? “All the project needs to be is awesome,” says Tim. “Basically we opened with this simple online form, and told people, ‘Go fill it out and we’ll give you some money to work on your projects’. “At the time I was a researcher looking into online communities, so this was an experiment,” he explains. “‘Can we get the Internet to help us get the word out about this project?’ A huge wave of people applied for the first grant. It ended up going towards a project to build a giant hammock in a park in Boston. “It was very comfortable,” he says of the suspended bed. “It was so big that ultimately you’d end up sitting next to a stranger – [so] it provided a social good to the community.” Then there was this: “In Washington DC, there’s an alleyway in this one neighbourhood they outfitted to look like the Indiana Jones boulder scene. They had a hat, whip and coat you could wear and they would push this huge ball behind you while you ran away from it,” he says. “It was just a fun little side project that someone was working on.” Currently boasting an international legion of chapters, Tim, who is now part of the San Francisco chapter which receives between 40 and 50 grant applications a month, says the growth of The Awesome Foundation has been entirely organic. “We never thought it would be a big thing at all, we thought it would just be exclusive to Boston.” But today, the concept is thriving in 18 countries as far-flung as Armenia, Australia and Russia. “We call it the ‘constructive cycle of awesome’. A chapter will fund a project, and the project spreads the word about The Awesome Foundation, which causes more people to come back and do projects with us,” says Tim of their global reach. “It also helps people who want to create chapters get in touch and start chapters, which give more money away. I think that’s pretty much how we’ve been spreading.” Anyone is allowed to form a chapter, and each chapter is completely autonomous – there’s no controlling body or hierarchy (but each group only accepts financial contributions from its trustees and many of the chapters frown upon corporate involvement). >
People seemed to have no qualms about HANDING over US$100 a month to total strangers.
CARDBOARD FORT NIGHT! – TORONTO, CANADA Basically exactly how it sounds: one recipient used their grant to put on a night of fort-making to help people meet one another while building forts and drinking beer. The endowment provided cardboard, tape, markers, scissors and a DJ to help attendees create forts they could only dream about as kids.
Most chapters begin as a group of friends who want to help great ideas come into fruition, and are padded out with other interested participants to hit the requisite 10 members. Every group has its own application procedures and some choose to focus on a particular area, such as tech projects or not-for-profit social ideas. Grant applications can range from a round-table vote to events where people pitch their projects. While a giant hammock might not change the world, The Awesome Foundation often undertakes projects with broader significance. “There was a guy we funded from Melbourne. He was working on a project around little boxes that would help keep cell phone towers running in case of disasters. He did a demonstration of the technology in the outback, and the Australian government was excited enough to give him a much larger grant to work on it full-time.” One of the benefits of the foundation, according to Tim, is that while other grants require huge outlay or an exhausting application process (which are just plain unsuitable for some projects), The Awesome Foundation can be used for anything, by anyone. Chapters can take a lot of risks that other, larger grants organisations and funding bodies can’t or won’t take on. “There’s just 10 people, they give away money, they know it’s experimental, sometimes the money won’t come back, sometimes somebody might not be able to do the project. We can afford to be casual about it. But sometimes, someone actually finishes the project,” says Tim. Although the foundation has spread without strategy, they’re now assessing its next stage of growth. “We’re really interested in spreading internationally. We realise that US$100 a month can be a lot of money for a lot of people, so we want to see whether we can make The Awesome Foundation more accessible to people who might be less well off.”
HOOPY HAPPENINGS – SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Australia's largest annual hulahooping gathering was funded by the foundation’s Sydney chapter and provides workshops in contortion, belly dancing and ﬁre hooping. The event’s aim is to be the “bridge and inspiration for hooping creativity”.
Similarly to crowdfunding, Tim says the foundation is allowing people to do projects they otherwise wouldn’t, adding that he is currently personally crowdfunding a field guide to shipping containers and the corporations who own them. “It’s very nerdy, but I think it’s a fun idea – my mother still thinks I should get a real job at some point,” he says. When it comes to other crowdfunding, or microlending bodies, Tim likes to think they work in tandem to help get great ideas off the ground. “When you start a Kickstarter campaign, it’s sometimes difficult to get people involved. Often The Awesome Foundation has put in the first US$1000 to the project and enough publicity to get all the way,” he says. “It’s actually really interesting that the two models work together well.” “We’ve become a kick-starter for Kickstarter. That’s how I like to think about it.”
We can AFFORD to be CASUAL about it. But SOMETIMES, someone actually FINISHES the project.
FESTIVAL OF THE HONEY BEE – ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, USA A three-day festival celebrating – you guessed it – honey bees. The festival was established to raise awareness and create a space for appreciation and creative expression about the fascinating insects. Events included an urban hive bike tour, live music and an art show.
BALL TALK – COPENHAGEN, DENMARK In the country that has more lone dwellers than any other, it can be hard to make friends. That’s where Ball Talk comes in. It’s an adult-size ball pit in a busy area of Copenhagen, with questions and tasks written on the balls for participants to ask one another to facilitate conversation and friendship.
YOU’RE GONNA HEAR ME ROAR HAKUNA MATATA might mean ‘NO WORRIES’, but for families with children on the autism spectrum, there are few WORRYFREE days. So Disney, like only Disney can, set out to create one.
PHOTOGRAPHY: JOAN MARCUS, DISNEY
WORDS TARA FRANCIS
ake note: never tell a Disney staffer you hate musicals. Ever. “I really dislike them,” laughs Nicole Rogerson. “When I walked into the Disney office and said that, oh my god… everybody had this look on their face, like you said ‘I club small seals.’” The irony isn’t lost on Nicole, who is the mother of a 19-year-old on the autism spectrum and is the person Disney approached almost two years ago about creating a specially adapted, autism-friendly performance of The Lion King in Australia. They had done the same in the UK and US, where musicals like Wicked, Aladdin and Mary Poppins have similarly been adapted. As the founder of Autism Awareness Australia, Nicole ignored her musical misgivings and jumped at the chance, pulling together an army of volunteers, psychologists and behavioural therapists
who helped run the first show in Sydney last year. The landmark event drew a 2000-strong crowd from all over the country, many of whom could be easily overstimulated or non-verbal. But in that moment, they could each enjoy the theatre in their own way. “They could shout out in the middle of the programme, they could say anything; there was no-one who was going to look at them with those ‘theatre eyes’ of ‘what are you doing?’ They could do or say whatever they wanted to.” For kids with autism that’s a rarity, where every day is lived in front of watching – and sometimes misinformed – eyes. Mother Lizi Jackson blogged about her trip to one of the very first autism-friendly performances in London, saying the accepting atmosphere was overwhelming. “At times, the noise in the auditorium made it difficult to hear what was happening on-stage. But at no point was anyone shushed. >
No-one was on the receiving end of dirty looks, whispered comments about controlling our children, tutting and head-shaking… In front of me, a teenage boy was rocking so hard in his chair that his mother tried to stop him and turned to apologise to the woman behind her. ‘Please don’t,’ said the woman, ‘he’s absolutely fine.’” And the same environment was created in Sydney, says Nicole. “I don’t think we spent more than 30 seconds looking at the stage,” she says of her staff, but not because of what you might think. “I was standing down the front, looking back, just watching all the families and how incredibly emotional it was. I think I cried all day. It was absolutely pathetic.” During the performance, house lights were only dimmed, not turned off, to stop kids from being scared. Strobe lights and pyrotechnics weren’t used and harsh percussion sounds were softened to accommodate sensory issues. And the performers introduced themselves before they went on-stage. “The characters on the stage look very different than they do in the animation, and that’s kind of obvious for people who go to the theatre but for some of our kids that would be really confusing, like ‘You don’t look like the Simba I know,’” says Nicole. They also created a reference sheet with photos of the actors and the characters they were playing (“It was kind of helpful for some adults too, I’ll have you know”), as well as providing a ‘social story’ booklet that showed what a day at the theatre involves to help kids that have trouble adjusting to routine changes.
On the day, there were chill-out zones in the foyers with balloons and toys to help kids calm down, and behaviour therapists lined the aisles, should they be needed. “Some of the best qualified people in Australia were in those stalls. And all I had to do was take them to the pub afterwards,” laughs Nicole. In Australia, there have been shows in Sydney and Brisbane, (with Melbourne and Perth to come, but no word after that – “Disney will kill you rather than tell you anything. There are state secrets and then there’s Disney”) and each had unique challenges to overcome. Foremost was QPAC in Brisbane, that needed volunteers to cover 75 exits (“which was all I could think about!”), while both theatres had dress circles with a considerable drop. “I had my fastest people there,” she laughs. “It’s what we call a flat shoe day. It’s like running a marathon.” And she would know. The day after the August 8 performance in Melbourne, Nicole will be running the City2Surf with her two sons, her organisation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, where she hopes to raise AU$50,000. “It will be exhausting, but you’re a long time dead, so what the hell.”
I was standing down the front, looking back, just WATCHING all the families and how incredibly EMOTIONAL it was.
STAGE PHOTOGRAPHY: DEEN VAN MEER, DISNEY. BOTTOM RIGHT: AUTISM AWARENESS AUSTRALIA
Passionate about early intervention for children with autism, Nicole deftly manoeuvres between the sweetest of stories (“I have this little girl in my clinic, she’s two, she’s cute, she’s got this little blonde ringlet hair and she loves André Rieu. You know, that horrible violin player? She carries around the DVD cases… and we’re all like ‘what’s your disability – is it autism or is it André Rieu?’ I’m not entirely sure”) to the urgency of the National Disability Insurance Scheme when Australian children are getting only one to two hours of the recommended 20 hours a week of intervention (“I think it’s a shameful situation that a child’s access to early intervention has to do with the size of their parent’s wallet”). In Australia, there are approximately 115,400 individuals with autism, while in the US, one in every 68 children is on the autism spectrum. “My job is very much teaching kids how to cope in a regular mainstream environment because, guess what, that’s life,” she says. “But it doesn’t hurt that for the odd occasion, for there to be a day of complete acceptance, where the world really did bend to what those kids needed. “And I’m really hoping that now that some of the kids have had that first experience, that their parents might be prepared to take them to other performances and other situations like that. “As the parent of an adult on the spectrum, I see the importance of social inclusion as paramount. I want our kids going to footy games and theatre productions and movies and concerts. I can honestly say, watching my son at the Triple J 40th concert at midnight was my version of what I want for every kid with autism.” And if that requires sitting through a musical – four times over – Hakuna Matata.
My job is very much TEACHING kids how to cope in a regular MAINSTREAM environment because, guess what, that’s life.
SAFARI JEWEL In the ancient Indian hills, leopards and people exist happily SIDE-BY-SIDE. And thanks to one CONSERVATIONIST you can witness this SYMBIOSIS in a setting of opulence.
IMAGES COURTESY OF SUJÁN LUXURY
WORDS RACHEL CORBETT
t may be the most unique human-wildlife relationship in the world,” says Jaisal Singh, speaking of his latest ecotourism venture. Jawai is a luxury safari camp located in the Pali district of Western Rajasthan in India, the ancient hills home to countless leopards, antelope, hyenas, sloth bears and colourful birdlife. But what truly sets this region apart is the relationship between those animals and the local community. “It’s astonishing to see them co-existing in complete harmony,” says Jaisal. Leopards often spell disaster for poor rural communities, killing valuable livestock and, occasionally, humans. But on the private land of Jawai, despite the safari’s close proximity, there hasn’t been a leopard attack in more than 150 years. In 2013 Jaisal, a keen conservationist and founder of tourism company SUJÁN, visited the area after hearing the local
leopard population was thriving. Having already opened a number of wildlife camps throughout India and Africa with his wife Anjali, he knew he’d stumbled across something special at Jawai. “It was a combination of all the things we’re passionate about at SUJÁN; wildlife and wildernesses, culture and history.” Within six months, they purchased eight hectares of land, obtained government clearances and built a low-impact luxury camp with 10 opulent tents and all the feel of a fivestar hotel. An ambitious timeline for any business, but especially one setting up in rural India. “It was a risk, going into an area with little tourism,” admits Jaisal. The population of Jawai is largely Hindu and like most regional areas, the caste system remains and feudal lords (or thakurs) lead local communities. “Without the support of the locals in areas like Jawai, businesses cannot succeed in India,” he says, adding that the local leaders in rural areas are the
landowners, the tribes and often the politicians. With their support, businesses have a sense of protection. But without it, life can be very difficult. To get local backing, members of Jaisal’s team based themselves near Jawai for months before construction began, pooling local resources and working to build these relationships. “It’s always been important for us to start our planning by meeting with the local people. This interaction is engrained in our system,” says Jaisal. It’s also a relationship that needs to be cultivated long after the doors have opened. SUJÁN’s Director of Experiences, Yusuf Ansari visits the region regularly and his first stop is always to meet with village leaders. “He’ll listen to any concerns and ensure we continue to operate for the benefit of everyone,” explains Jaisal. >
It was a combination of all the things we’re PASSIONATE about at SUJÁN; wildlife and WILDERNESSES, culture and HISTORY.
“No one knows the ways of the land better than those who’ve grown up there for generations. Their knowledge about animals, crops, religion, leopards, festivals and nature is hugely valuable when we’re developing our experiences. We would be fools to try and operate without them.” While this local knowledge is essential Jaisal also looked abroad for help, bringing in experienced guide and big cat expert Adam Bannister. Jaisal and Anjali first met Adam on a trip to Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa and employed his help to develop the Jawai game experience, with Adam working closely with locals to study leopard movements and develop new trails for game drives. “The feeling of being pioneers in the area at the time was exciting,” says Yusuf, who hopes Adam’s meticulous system of wildlife documentation can be used to formalise their research in partnership with the government, by establishing a leopard research project.
And while conservation is at the forefront of everything they do, Jawai is also passionate about giving back to the local community, with 70 per cent of staff from villages nearby. A portion of guests’ fees are channelled into a fund that goes directly back into the local community (“We consult with the villagers and ask them what they need most, whether it’s water wells or sheds for cattle. Then over the summer we put this into action”) and nearly all their supplies are sourced from local farmers and producers. One of the groups that benefit most from the camp are the local shepherds, the Rabari. Dressed in traditional white garments and vibrant red turbans, these semi-settled nomads have shared the landscape with wildlife for centuries.
No one knows the WAYS of the LAND better than those who’ve grown up there for GENERATIONS.
But as television and the Internet find their way into even the remotest communities, the younger generation are leaving ancient traditions behind in search of a better life in the cities. Jawai provides an alternate source of income for these men, and guests are often invited into their homes or to walk with them as they lead the village goats to graze, giving an insight into a way of life. And while the outside interest in their community has often caused confusion, it has also made the locals look at their culture in a different way. “There’s a growing sense of pride in their local customs and way of life,” says Yusuf. This mix of wildlife and community represents the first successful attempt to create a ‘parks beyond parks’ experience in India, where wildlife can be observed outside the confines of a national park or reserve. “Jawai is truly a pioneering effort. It’s not about tourism per se; it’s about conservation, best practices and sharing something unique with the world in a responsible manner,” says Jaisal. And while he hopes there’ll be more projects like Jawai on the horizon, Jaisal has advice for entrepreneurs who want to follow the path of eco-tourism. “Conservation must always come first. Commerce second.”
> NOMAD EVERY YEAR… AN AVERAGE OF 970 TECH PRODUCTS LAUNCH IN INDIA.
FO HEMIS MONASTERY, HEMIS While it’s not the fanciest-looking monastery around, Hemis is the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in the Ladakh region, and home to a famous collection of ancient statues and artefacts. For those keen to get fully immersed, it’s possible to stay at the monastery and participate in the Hemis Spiritual Retreat run by the monks during tourist season, and some villagers also offer homestay accommodations.
OUT OF INDIA SPICE, splendour and glorious chaos. Welcome to India, with its unbridled NATURAL BEAUTY, ultimate luxury and a BUZZING start-up LANDSCAPE drenched in culture.
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WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT, MEL CARSWELL
UNCOVER INDIA TOUR – DELHI TO GOA City slickers may prefer this fast-paced adventure, taking in bustling streets and ticking off must-see sights like the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. This G Adventures ‘Yolo’ tour takes punters through the chaos of Delhi to the refuge of Goa sands, with pit stops such as a sunrise at Savitri temple and dinner in the desert cooked by cameleers along the way. gadventures.com
THE GREAT WALL OF INDIA, KUMBHALGARH Far more elusive than its Chinese cousin, the second-longest continuous wall on the planet surrounds the ancient fort of Kumbhalgarh – one of India’s best-kept secrets, nestled in the Aravalli Hills in the Rajsamand District of Rajasthan state in western India. Reaching more than 36km, the wall is quite the majestic beast – meticulously masoned with thousands of stone bricks and decorative embellishments. Heaven for the hardy traveller, it snakes for miles along a truly ‘off-the-beaten’ path.
OFF THE GRID
DHAMMA SINDHU CENTRE VIPASSANA RETREAT, BADA This 10-day mediation retreat is on the stricter side – with all attendees required to adhere to a code of discipline – observing a ‘noble silence’ of body, speech and mind (not one for social butterflies – even note-passing is prohibited). One of India’s most ancient mediation techniques, Vipassana is thought to offer a remedy for illness through self-awareness (and a whole lot of shhhh…). sindhu. dhamma.org ART OF LIVING ASHRAM, BANGALORE A popular spot for peace-seekers and yogis alike, The Art of Living International Center spans a 26-hectare (65-acre) campus atop the Panchagiri Hills. Complete with organic farms, mountainside trails, gardens and a lake, the centre welcomes those from all cultures and religious backgrounds, inviting them to participate in voluntary service such as cooking, cleaning and general upkeep of the ashram. artofliving.org/bangalore-ashram
FOR RELAXATION THE BEACH AT MANDVI PALACE, MANDVI A favourite backdrop for many a Bollywood blockbuster, this princely private beach estate boasts one of the finer tent resorts, completely secluded from the outside world. You wouldn’t be blamed for laying low in this peaceful patch – taking full advantage of your luxurious air-conditioned tent and on-call masseuse – but for those feeling a little more adventurous, there’s the warm tropical water of the Arabian Sea to dip your toes in, and camel and horse dune rides on request. mandvibeach.com PACK ME MELISSA ODABASH Jemima Faux Leather Trimmed Paper Wide Brim Hat AU$152.39 netaporter.com SOPHIE ANDERSON Jonas Crocheted Cotton Tote AU$608.25 netaporter.com.au SAINT LAURENT Leather Sandals AU$435 mytheresa.com
F TEA ESTATE, KOLUKKUMALAI This one takes high tea to a whole new level. An hour drive from Munnar, Kolukkumalai towers at 8000 feet above sea level, rising above the plains of Tamil Nadu and encircled by rugged mountains. A variety of organic teas are on offer to accompany the stunning view.
AKIRA BACK, JW MARRIOTT, NEW DELHI One for those ready to splash out, this modern Korean-Japanese restaurant at the JW Marriott Aerocity was the brainchild of professional snowboarder-turnedcelebrity chef, Akira Back, who’s opened a slew of eponymous eateries across the globe. According to all reports, this one doesn’t disappoint – and the tofu carpaccio is a must-order.
ALILA DIWA GOA, SALCETE If a sanctuary of breezy verandas, wooden furnishings and loft-style rooms floats your boat then look no further than this “pearl of the east”. Overlooking the Arabian Sea from the coast of Majorda Beach in South Goa, Alila Diwa Goa oozes beach-side luxury, with each of its 153 guestrooms and suites designed for relaxation and indulgence. Yes please. designhotels.com/hotels/india/goa/aliladiwa-goa
DID YOU KNOW? BANGALORE START-UPS ARE 24 PER CENT MORE LIKELY TO MONETISE THAN THOSE SPRUNG IN SILICON VALLEY.
THE PARK HYDERABAD, HYDERABAD This one is a gem. Literally. Designed to mimic the metalwork found in the Nizam jewellery collection (only some of the largest and most valuable jewels in present-day India), the Park Hyderabad offers 270 exquisite guest rooms, a variety of restaurants and lounges, entertainment spaces and banquet halls, retail facilities and art galleries. The centrepiece of this dazzling setting? Why, a horizon pool, of course. theparkhotels.com/ hyderabad/hyderabad.html
OBEROI UDAIVILAS, UDAIPUR Recently lauded as “the best hotel in the world” by Travel + Leisure magazine, the uber-luxurious Oberoi Udaivilas features an entire wildlife sanctuary on its 50 acres. The crownjewel Kohinoor suite boasts separate living and dining rooms with fireplaces, fountained courtyards, garden terraces and an 18-metre private pool sprawling across a colossal 246sqm. Not for the thrifty traveller, this particular room will set you back around 750,000 rupees (AU$15,850) a night. oberoihotels.com
NEW LUCKY RESTAURANT, AHMEDABAD Ever dreamed of dining with the dead? Now you can satisfy your hunger and morbid fascinations in tandem. Built on a centuries-old Muslim cemetery, this coffee house incorporates graves into the décor that are rumoured to belong to a 16th century Sufi saint. And the food? To die for… so we hear.
THE BAR STOCK EXCHANGE, MUMBAI This pub works on the principles of the stock market, with drink prices that rise and fall according to demand. You buy your cocktail for cost price when the ‘market’ opens and then pay according to its popularity as the night goes on (all the while hoping no-one likes your drink of choice).
FOR FOOD TO IMPRESS
ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE: 30 PER CENT OF BANGALORE START-UPS ARE NOT PRODUCT BASED, BUT ARE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD.
MAK TO FOR ROMANCE AMANBAGH RESORT, ALWAR Dubbed “impossibly romantic” by Condé Nast Traveller UK, Amanbagh is a tranquil oasis amidst the frenzy that is Rajasthan. Think intimate dinners by a lake, encircled by hundreds of glowing candles, to the tune of sweet melodies from a master flute player. The resort’s design, featuring domed cupolas and private courtyards, boasts secret nooks for canoodling, be they pool-side or under the bows of an ancient tree. amanresorts.com/ amanbagh/home.aspx
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KANNUR BEACH HOUSE, KANNUR This century-old traditional Keralastyle home is nestled in coconut groves alongside a river, just a lazy stroll away from Thottada beach. The owners serve up scrumptious local cuisine and are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the region. As far as homestays go, this is simple and sweet seaside perfection. kannurbeachhouse.com OLAULIM BACKYARDS, OLAULIM Here’s one for the nature lovers. Olaulim Backyards homestay is located on the Goa backwaters around 30 minutes from Panaji. You’ll be sharing this leafy haven with its owners, a Finnish-Indian couple, their kids and an assortment of furry friends (including two goats and a donkey). When you’re not taking an afternoon siesta, there’s fishing, birdwatching and nature walks a ’plenty. olaulimgoa.com
DOING BUSINESS HERE With knitwear designer DANIELLE CHIEL WHAT DO YOU DO IN INDIA? I own a company in India that produces high-end, hand-knitted garments. We run a six-month apprenticeship scheme teaching ladies a trade – hand-knitting – and also teach them English. After the six-month apprenticeship course has been completed, they are then employed by me. It takes one lady one month to knit a jumper.
A LO C L A
PROS AND CONS? It’s not for the faint-hearted. The pros – I absolutely love the women that I work with. They are the most beautiful people, in general, that I’ve ever met. They are highly intelligent and most of them have only been educated formally for two or three years in primary school. So that would have to be the biggest pro. The cons – it’s tricky. I’ve been through four law ﬁrms since I’ve been there, three accounting ﬁrms, numerous landlords – and it’s a constant challenge. But I love it.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU TRAVEL AND WHERE? I travel to India every six to eight weeks. Because I go there for work as opposed to tourism, I always get off at the same place – Chennai – and then I travel by car south for four hours to the rural villages between Auroville and Ponducherry.
YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION? Matrimandir which is a gorgeous place inside Auroville. Inside, it is all white – and it’s extremely peaceful. On the day I went there, it was pelting with rain on the outside, probably about 40 degrees, and on the inside it just takes you away to another world, where you can think.
WORST DAY ON THE JOB? When I had to add another signature to my bank account here. It took eight hours – so frustrating, I can’t tell you! It was at the time when everybody around me said, “Danielle, that’s when you need to pay bribes”. I didn’t.
RAAS, JODHPUR This “achingly hip haven” can be found in Jodhpur’s old walled city, a stone’s throw from the towering Mehrangarh Fort. The 18th-Century mansion-turnedboutique hotel boasts modern luxuries such as a butler-serviced heated infinity pool, spa and alfresco dining in the heart of Rajasthan’s ancient cultural landscape. Boutique hotel gurus Mr & Mrs Smith even arrange a heritage tour for guests. mrandmrssmith.com/raas THE COLLECTIVE
AMANDA SEE Graphic designer, Shanghai AGRA FORT “A visit to India would not be complete without stopping by the majestic Taj Mahal, so we made this one of the first stops in our trip. After landing in Delhi, you can take a two-hour drive to Agra, where you will find the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. It is recommended to visit the Taj early in the morning, even before sunrise, so you could get that beautiful light and less tourists in your photos. The materials that were used to build this grand palace are very luminescent, so it would be best to bring sunglasses on your trip. It even glows under the full moon.”
UDAIPUR, RAJASTHAN “By far the prettiest and most peaceful city I was able to visit in India. Breathtakingly beautiful for the man-made lakes, city palace and lake palace. Do expect more tourists in this area though, as a lot of backpackers come here to see what this oasis is really like. Located in the middle of the desert, this town has seen many attempts to be attacked during the war era, but luckily the terrains surrounding it made it difficult to gain access to. We had taken the day train from Jaipur to Udaipur, and it only took us about five hours.” townske.com/guide/1505/twoweeks-in-india
TRAVELLER TIPS From three globetrotters sharing their travels via new social media platform, Townske. KRISH B PILOT Photographer, New Delhi CHANDNI CHOWK, DELHI “Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan and designed by his daughter, Jahan Ara, the market was once divided by canals (though now closed) to reflect moonlight and it remains one of India’s largest wholesale markets – everything can be found here. Everything. Even the home (now a tiny museum) of Mirza Ghalib – who is widely considered to be the best Ancient Urdu poet to have ever lived. Also here is Fatehpuri, an ancient and beautiful mosque. Get lost in the maze that is the side streets of Chandni Chowk and find sights that you could never have thought of.”
THE GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES, NEW DELHI “A park spread over 20 acres [with] various themed areas, including a section on the lines of Mughal Gardens, plus pools of water lilies, bamboo courts, herb gardens and a solar energy park. The garden is designed to stimulate our five senses with its beauty and attractions and give us a chance to touch, smell, hear and see our natural surroundings. It serves as one of the prominent cultural venues of the capital.” townske.com/ guide/5291/picture-perfect-delhi
INSTA INSPO @munchymumbai Foodie heaven, both homemade and out and about, fresh from Mumbai.
JANE FROSH Stylist, Sydney KARIM’S, DELHI “One of the best restaurants in Delhi is in Old Delhi. Jump in a rickshaw and get them to drive you to Karim’s. It is deep in the old part of Delhi, surrounded by spice markets, butchers and street side stalls. The lamb kebabs with a roomali roti (light flatbread) are insanely good! The meal ends with an aromatic crunch of fennel seeds mixed with sugar. A perfect palette cleanser.”
WHAT I KNOW With Himalayan travel blogger Siddhartha Joshi
CHAI “India runs on chai. There are chai vendors on every corner, on every train and you will be offered chai in every shop you visit. Never turn it down! Chai is the best part of India. Hot, sweet, fragrant and lightly spiced, chai is the perfect ritual and is totally addictive. Don’t be afraid to drink chai from the side of the road. The milk is constantly boiled and it is served so hot that germs shouldn’t be a problem. If you are worried though, choose a vendor with a large crowd and with the cleanest looking setup.” townske.com/ guide/5328/rajasthan-india
@aratikumarrao India through the eyes of environmental photographer, journalist and elephant enthusiast Arati Kumar-Rao.
@tanghavri Red carpet moments and fashionable fodder from Tanya, a celebrity stylist in Bombay. @krsnamehta A gorgeous curation from Mumbai-based contemporary artist and designer, Krsna Meht.
TO SOAK UP NATURAL BEAUTY: I love Kashmir and could spend my entire life soaking up the beauty of the place. Take a trek across the Himalayas or a slow road trip from Srinagar to Leh.
FOR CULTURE: There is nowhere like Kashi, or Varanasi [as it’s known today]. One of the oldest habitated towns in the world, Varanasi takes you back in time like none other in the country. A visit to India can also be planned around one of its many festivals. I would strongly recommend the Holi [festival] celebrations in Mathura and the Kumbh Mela [festival]. @siddharthajoshi
YOUR SECRET SPOT: The entire north east is highly under-explored and even very few Indian tourists venture out to that part of the country. Whether it’s the tea gardens of Assam, the monasteries of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh or the exotic food of Nagaland, the entire region remains undiscovered.
THREE MUST-SEE THINGS: 1. 2. 3.
Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu
A GIFT FROM THE GODS
We pick the brain of ICONIC Sydney restaurateur JONATHAN BARTHELMESS on riding the GLUTENFREE wave, veering on the decent side of EXXY and going with the FLOW... WORDS MELANIE DIMMITT
ou hear it before you see it. A cast-iron pot makes its way to the table, simmering with the promise of a sweet-andsalty seduction. Smothered in honey, oregano and lemon, this morsel has the mouths of critics uttering “to die for”, “a dream” and “hot, hot, hot!” and I can personally attest this slab of delicious fried Greek cheese will tantalise the most discerning of tastebuds. Sizzling saganaki, anyone? “We’re doing our job of making everybody in Sydney happy with that cheese,” laughs Jonathan Barthelmess of the dish that helped give his restaurant its enviable reputation, charmingly candid for a culinary maestro. What he and co-founder Sam Christie (of Longrain repute) are also doing a good job of is opening, and maintaining, in-demand restaurants – first, Greek taverna The Apollo (serving said saganaki since 2011) and last year’s Japanese newcomer, Potts Point local Cho Cho San. The Apollo’s food has been critically dubbed “a gift from the gods” and both come with long wait lines even mid-week. “When we want to open a restaurant, we think of a place that we want to go and hang
[We’re] NOT TRYING to create some GASTRO TEMPLE, we’re trying to create really good, FUN PLACES to hang out.
out at,” says Jonathan, who initially chose the night-time profession for its ability to allow him to surf during the day. “[We’re] not trying to create some gastro temple, we’re just trying to create really good, fun places to hang out at, with great quality food at good price points.” The latter, he says, being more pivotal than ever in the current market. “You have to really give a higher-quality product for a cheaper price point, and I think that’s really lifted the game of a lot of restaurants. There’s a lot more in that kind of middle-market, which I’d say we’re in, where you can go out and you can have a really good, quality meal at a decent price point, and I think that’s where restaurants are thriving. “I think people eat out a lot more regularly now and we have those establishments where you can actually come in and spend AU$40 and have dinner and come back again, maybe twice a week...” Jonathan says their share-plate-driven menu at The Apollo ensures flavourful bang for buck, citing both the influence of his mentors, Stefano Manfredi and Janni Kyritsis, and his own memories of Greek food as the inspiration. “It’s those flavour profiles,” he says, reminiscing on his childhood palate, before stressing, “but it’s not that food. If I cooked that exact food it would be a very different restaurant. It probably wouldn’t be very busy.” Indeed, one of Jonathan’s earliest memories is of his grandfather, a chef, stinking the house out with octopus stew; a dish that might garner a quiet nod from The Apollo’s grilled octopus fennel olives.
JONATHAN BARTHELMESS, CO-FOUNDER OF THE APOLLO
> COLLECTIVE x THE > SECTION APOLLO
Interesting, though, is Jonathan’s admission that he’s never in fact been to Greece. But near 20 years of Mediterranean cooking (with a stint at Manly Pavilion – the Sydney restaurant he steered to win best new restaurant in the Australian 2011 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards – and a few years of Asian cookery thrown in for good measure) has most certainly sufficed. The Apollo, with its exposed concrete, granite and brass-embellished belly, was envisaged by interior architect George Livissianis – another boyhood pal of Jonathan’s – and designed to evoke the rugged, rocky beauty of Greece. “It happened very quickly,” says Jonathan. “I mean, a lot of restaurants are pre-designed before you get into the space. The Apollo was more of a restaurant where we were making decisions daily and weekly of what it was going to look like. We had a basic idea of how we wanted it to feel and look, but we were on the go as it was happening, so it was kind of really fun in that way.” Synergy, however, strikes a serious note. “Everything has to have the same feeling. The food has to feel like the space, it has to have the same kind of tone – to service, to everything. I think that atmosphere, quality, consistency and price point are the most important things in restaurants.” So where do some fall short? “There are so many areas,” says Jonathan. “You can’t properly fall short in any of them really these days because there’s so much competition out there. You’ve got to keep working on it. Every time the customers come back, you’ve got to try and be at least as good as you were last time, hopefully better. “You can never tell what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. You’ve just got to hope. You can have a vision of the way you want your restaurant to be and the way you want people to use it, but you never know how it’s going to be and how it’s going to be used, how people are going to order and what the atmosphere’s going to be like until they actually come in and start using it… and that’s when you have to just adapt and go with the flow.”
YOU’VE SAID YOU TRY AND MAKE THE SAME DISH BETTER EVERY SINGLE TIME IT’S SERVED. IS THIS TRUE? Repetition makes you better. You’re going to be better at something if you’ve done it 1000 times than if you’ve done it 10 times. It might be something really small, like the temperature something’s cooked at by a couple of degrees, or it could be the size of the produce – 50g heavier so it’s going to stay more tender when it cooks. There are hundreds of things you think about to try and make it better every time. You’ve always got to question everything you do – don’t take it for granted.
HAS THE RISE OF SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS AFFECTED YOUR MENU? I think it’s just part of the norm. Pretty much 90 per cent of our menu, at both restaurants, is gluten-free. We’ve deﬁnitely adapted because so many people have nut allergies and [are] vegans and vegetarians and all that stuff. You’ve got to.
HOW ABOUT THE ORGANIC CRAZE, IS THIS REFLECTED IN YOUR PRODUCE? Most of our produce is organic – we just don’t promote it. I don’t see the point. Like, if we had to write everything on the menu that we did, then it just looks a bit ridiculous… It starts to look a bit silly on the menu if you’re writing ‘free-range eggs’ or ‘biodynamic’ this… Even though we’re using all that stuff, it’s just not my style to go out and say, ‘Hey, look what we’re doing.’
EVERYONE’S GOING GREEN. ARE YOU? It’s really important in restaurants and we’re always thinking of new ways to try and do things, like we try and send all our packaging back to suppliers so they can re-use it. Some will and some won’t, but you have to ask.
HIDDEN in the hills of the Yarra Valley is a little piece of Italy BRINGING the joy of SIMPLICITY back to food. Buon appetito. WORDS SARAH MARINOS
here’s a calm but determined look on the face of Adam Mead. His team is preparing for a Friday lunchtime rush at Locale, the fine-dining restaurant at the heart of the renowned De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate in the countryside, an hour outside of Melbourne. While a sense of professional busyness permeates the kitchen, at the front of house all is calm and as it should be. The crisp linens are folded, the cutlery is polished and the glassware glints in the winter sunshine. As the first guests
arrive, they’re met with a tantalising smell wafting from the kitchen – a mouthwatering hint of the dishes that Adam will present in the next few hours. Adam, at the helm of the kitchen, quietly directs and supervises his culinary team as they prepare the Gnocchi con Ragu di Maiale – a homemade potato gnocchi with pork shoulder ragu, fennel, chilli and pecorino. Adam is also a fan of risotto, he says, such as the Milawa Free-Range Quail Risotto with braised leg, seared breast, oregano and pecorino romano. “Our food is driven by the classic Italian idea of simple food done well,” he says warmly. “It’s not complicated food. We want to give people high-quality, fresh products and we like to make everything ourselves as far as possible. I very much believe in core skills like butchery and baking and making things from scratch.” Home to a number of vineyards, such as the sprawling De Bortoli Yarra Valley Estate that is Adam’s daily backdrop, the lush Yarra Valley is also swarming with growers and producers with fresh goods and new ideas, like the lemon supplier who dropped in with a box of lemons this morning, picked straight from his property that day. Adam became head chef a little over two years ago, bringing with him experience and expertise gathered from around the world – a French grill-style restaurant in Brisbane, a French restaurant in London, a boutique Italian hotel restaurant on the Adriatic Coast and the famous Il Marchesino restaurant at La Scala Opera House in Milan. “Through my teens I was a fanatical cyclist and raced and hadn’t given much thought to doing anything else,” says
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Adam, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast. “But I wasn’t good enough to make it as a professional cyclist so I was a bit lost when I left school and I more or less fell into cooking. There was no vision to be a chef. It just happened and I discovered that I enjoyed it. It’s as simple as that,” he shrugs. “I got an apprenticeship in a very small restaurant inside a caravan park and did the dishes at first. We did takeaway burgers and lasagnes and functions and I stuck at that for a while before moving to Brisbane and getting a job in a French-style restaurant. “That’s when I began to see the more serious restaurant world and some ambition started to kick in. I had a good head chef then who encouraged his staff to travel and learn, so in 2007 I went to the UK and worked in London and started to see what top-end dining was all about.” He found himself in a 50-seater Italian restaurant that also catered for functions in the summer season. “I didn’t speak Italian so it was hard but I’m a very stubborn person and once I decide I want to do something, I stick with it,” he laughs. “I remember catering for functions for 500 people and we made all the pasta ravioli by hand. The hotel would set up and cater for weddings in an empty paddock and bring in the kitchen, the prep, the chairs and marquee. Nobody in the kitchen made a fuss – they just got on with it and did it to the same standards as were expected in the hotel restaurant.” But it was in Milan that Adam says he learned the importance of precision and began to understand that every small detail in the kitchen made an incredible difference, and it’s a tenet he teaches his staff today. “Everything you can do to improve in the kitchen – no matter how small – improves the product. Everything,” he says.
“My focus from the start has been to have the restaurant running smoothly and to increase customer numbers,” says Adam of his move to Locale in 2013. “We have good systems in place and every restaurant needs that when they’re busy and we’re consistently busy. But we can always improve on that. “I changed the menu when I arrived and brought along a lot of my own food but it suits the venue and represents De Bortoli as a brand. It’s classic Italian food with a little of our own touch. We are here to cook for our customers who like to eat here and we don’t take shortcuts on the food we produce. We do everything properly in the kitchen all of the time and we always want to improve. “While people are here with us, I just want them to enjoy themselves. I want everything in the restaurant to work – the food, the wine, the service, the atmosphere… The food is not the be-all and end-all of a restaurant in my opinion. It’s one part of the overall experience. As long as people leave here and they are happy and want to come back – to me that means we’ve done a good job. And when the restaurant is booked out every day, then I’ll be happy.”
Our FOOD is driven by the CLASSIC Italian idea of SIMPLE food done well.
GET LOST RELATIVITY
BURNING MAN AUG 30 – SEP 7 NEVADA
Not for the fair-weather festival-goer, Burning Man sees attendees (almost 66,000 last year) become active citizens of a temporary metropolis dedicated to art and community. The happenings of this weeklong desert commune are entirely conjured up by these citizens – art installations, crazy vehicles, performances… you name it. But you can count on one thing – a towering wooden man will be burning during the Saturday night’s festivities. burningman.org
“Before you hear any words, you can hear the panic.” It’s the ominous start to Antonia Hayes’ debut novel, propelling its three protagonists – single mother, Claire, her 12-year-old science and star-obsessed son, Ethan, and his estranged father, Mark – into a cleverly plotted orbit around the tragic event that broke apart their family. Powerless to shake a shared gravitational pull, their bond throws into question the limits of love, forgiveness and physics, making for a heartwrenching, yet sparkling read.
Here’s what the author, Antonia Hayes, had to say about her foray into novel-writing… WHERE DO YOU TEND TO WRITE, AND WHAT THINGS DO YOU LIKE AROUND YOU? Normally I write at my dining table at home. I like to be near my bookshelves, and I also have a big whiteboard where I break down my workload into small tasks written on Post-it notes. It's pretty satisfying moving the notes from the “to do” side of the board to “complete”. When I’m writing, I need complete silence but when I’m editing I like to listen to loud music.
@burningman @ bestival
SOCIAL RECRUITING SUMMIT SEP 15 NEW YORK
TEDYouth 2015: NOV 14 NEW YORK
Paper résumés and degrees don’t cut it in the hiring game these days. Big data recruiting is fast gaining traction in the HR industry – matching employees to employers based on real data of skills and knowledge – and don’t the folk at the #SocialRecruitingSummit just know it. The annual shindig brings together students, job seekers, start-ups, and HR execs to learn, share and network with some of the fastest growing companies. socialrecruitingsummit2015.org
At TEDYouth – both on the ground in the Brooklyn Museum and at more than 100 TEDxYouth events screening live online around the globe – teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 will connect to explore this year’s theme, Made in the Future. It hopes to give young people new perspectives on future job possibilities beyond traditional careers – some of which may not even yet exist – and to think about the world in 2035 and how imagination can get us there. ted.com
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SAYING, "ALWAYS WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW"? I do think it’s important to write from an authentic place, but I think it’s equally important to use your imagination. Plus researching and learning about new topics is so much fun. I didn’t know nearly as much about physics, ballet, or even little details like different trees in Sydney before I started writing Relativity.
WITH YOUR FIRST NOVEL FRESH ON THE STANDS, ARE YOU THINKING OF (OR ALREADY WRITING) ANOTHER ONE? I have two ideas for my next novel and have started writing and planning each. Will have to wait and see which one piques my interest more. Right now I want to write both of them!
‘BURNING MAN’ PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF: DAMIAN SANCHEZ damiansanchezphoto.com / LOUISA SETON louisaseton.com.au
BY ANTONIA HAYES
EXCUSES! EXCUSES! EXCUSES!
Do you have a big DREAM – and even bigger EXCUSES? Stop playing the blame game, and start making CHANGES. WORDS LISA MESSENGER
have a very important question to ask you: “Why not?” Before you reply, “What?” most of you know what I’m talking about. Why are you not doing the thing you really want to be doing? The ideas that sparks in your mind and keeps you awake at night. The change you want to make, if only it wasn’t so scary. I meet smart, enthusiastic people every week, who can’t wait to tell me their business idea – and also can’t wait to tell me five reasons why they can’t possibly pursue it. Don’t get me wrong, some people have very valid reasons but the majority of these excuses are the equivalent of saying, “I can’t go to the gym today because it’s raining.” To me, nothing is more frustrating than seeing someone with so much potential not living up to it. So before you talk yourself out of jumping in, here are the most common excuses I hear – and why they just don’t cut it. >
“I’M WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME.” I have a newsflash for you – there is never a right time for anything. Whether it’s leaving your old career, kicking off a new one, moving house or having a baby, there will always be a voice in your head whispering, “Wouldn’t it be better to wait?” Think back to the biggest unplanned milestones in your life, such as meeting ‘the one’ or getting an unexpected job offer. Would you say they happened at the perfect time? Probably not, if you didn’t plan them. But when you want something badly enough, you will make it align with your world, somehow. “I CAN’T AFFORD IT.” I won’t bore you by reeling off the names of all the world-famous brands started by dreamers with nothing but a few thousand dollars in savings, but if you need reassurance just Google ‘rags to riches’ and you’ll find them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far easier to kickstart a business if you’re the heir to a fortune but most of us – the majority of us – in the start-up community started out on a shoestring and are just masters at stretching our means. In the age of crowdfunding, angel investors and venture capitalists, at least explore all avenues before blaming your lack of courage on a lack of money.
“I’M TOO OLD OR TOO YOUNG TO DO IT.” In Silicon Valley, IDEO, the firm that famously developed the first mouse for Apple has a 90-year old designer on staff – Barbara Beskind applied for the job when she was 88. Meanwhile, Kiowa Kavovit, the youngest entrepreneur to appear on the business reality show Shark Tank, was just six years old when she pitched Boo Boo Goo – a paint-on bandage to cover grazes – to the sharks and scored a US$100,000 investment. What was your excuse again? “I DON’T LIVE IN A CITY.” This excuse might have washed 50 years ago when location was everything, but you no longer need to live in a thriving metropolis to easily access the resources you need to start a business. In fact, living in a less populated place can actually be a plus-point (cheaper office space, less competition, fewer distractions). I know that entrepreneurs in the middle of nowhere worry about not being available for lunches with clients but here’s the thing – the people living in the cities are too busy to have lunch with you anyway. We far prefer a wellthought-out email to a long-drawn-out meeting. Believe me.
I was crazy, but in hindsight my NAIVETY was a BLESSING, as I didn’t get hung up on how a MAGAZINE should be run and could instead EXPLORE my own path.
End of story. 160
“I NEED JOB SECURITY.” If you think your corporate role is yours forever, you are living in a fantasy world. I can name a dozen friends who lost their ‘secure’ jobs in the past eighteen months and I’m sure you could add to this list with names of your own friends and family. If the job of your dreams is in a particularly new or unstable industry then be smart about leaping into it. Dip your toe into the waters of the start-up sea slowly, by going to work for another disruptive small business before starting your own one or partnering up with a co-founder who can shoulder 50 per cent of the risk with you. “I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE.” How do you think you’re going to get experience if you don’t seek out experiences? I launched The Collective magazine with zero experience in the magazine industry and some people said I was crazy, but in hindsight my naivety was a blessing, as I didn’t get hung up on how a magazine should be run and could instead explore my own path. If you want to up your IQ, educate yourself on an industry – read every article, blog and annual report you can find. Search out specialist networking events and stalk experts on social media. You’re not going to get new experiences by repeating the old ones. “MY FRIENDS SAY I SHOULDN’T.” Get new friends. “MY GUT SAYS I SHOULDN’T.” Ah, you’ve got me there! If that’s truly the case, you should listen to that. I’ll give you this one. But just this one.
“In the short time I have known Lisa, she’s had an infectious spark, and a crazy, fun, anything’s possible, entrepreneurial attitude. She’s a woman to watch.” – SIR RICHARD BRANSON Available at selected newsagents, bookstores, travel + airport stores or visit COLLECTIVEHUB.COM For stockists enquiries please contact email@example.com