Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fab Find // Indigo Love Collectors

As mentioned previously, my family has a holiday house down the south coast.  As if a holiday routine of sorts, there are certain must-dos while we are away.  It of course starts with a stop in Berry for coffee and donuts as mentioned here, but when we get there, a few hours are always spent in Huskisson
Huski is a little sea side village, the main tourist destination for whale and dolphin watching on Jervis Bay.  Always busy, always something going on. It also is home to my all time favourite shops; Few and Far and Indigo Love Collectors. Two homeware stores that have really changed the feel of Huski. In my opinion, they have given back it's soul. Their thoughtful, feast-for-the-eyes collections, full to the brim with beautiful finds from their worldly travels. You enter either of these two stores and don't know where to start. There are just so many beautiful things to look at, touch and take home.

On our last visit, I caught up with Danny who, along with his wife Tara, own and operate both stores. I was lucky enough to chat to him about how they made a business of doing what they love. 

You and your business partner & wife both have a background in design. Can you tell us a little bit about the Indigo Love Collectors team?
My wife and I are both designers, before we ventured into the interiors industry we both designed clothing, swimwear and accessories. As part of our previous work we travelled twice a year on world trips for buying and inspiration and always found ourselves intrigued by interiors stores... it was a natural progression to move into this industry.

Is having the 2 stores just a really good cover for spending your time travelling to far off countries and losing yourself in the exhilaration and hunt for beautiful wares? 
Well at first, there was really no one on the South Coast doing what we wanted to do. Actually I personally think there aren't many Australia wide, doing what we do. Sourcing from so many countries with the eye to being unique and different. Doing this really became a mirror for who we are... we love to travel and experience cultures, we love unique pieces and we love where we live... perfect!

How was the transition of working for someone else to basically living the dream work you do now? (Did it happen over a long period or did you both cut lose and simply go for it?)
We definitely cut ourselves loose. I can remember our accountant suggesting we test the water for a while, with one of us staying in full time employment, but our ambition and instinct kicked in. We were both actually quite ready for a change and looking back, we were confident it would work. How much it would work was the grey area, but within a few months we knew and even now we feel more opportunities are waiting for us... I often explain that we are victims of our own ambition. We do work hard but we definitely haven't looked back. Working for yourself doing what you enjoy is so much more rewarding than working for someone else.

In your stores, you showcase some beautiful worldly pieces that you have personally sourced and selected from different ends of the world. Do you find that you have to have many trips to many countries to keep that balance right? Do you love everything that you buy? 
Worldly finds have always been us and always will, so yeah, it takes quite a bit of travel to find them. The story behind buying a special carpet in the middle of Turkey and hand picking sea shells off a remote beach in Sumbawa, Indonesia will always mean more to me than a mass produced decorator piece or chain store furniture. Pieces with a story win every time. I never get sick of seeing a beautiful old piece of timber. Having said that, it's the balance between these that's the hardest part for us buying and selling. Having the right mix is crucial... we don't want to be an antiques store. We love that modern gypsy style that mixes old and new... but we always want a story behind anything we sell, where possible.

When you are standing in a massive room filled with amazing one off pieces, how do you possibly choose? Is there any media that you turn to for inspiration before your trips so you know what you are going for? Or do you follow your gut?
I think that in whatever industry you belong to, following your gut is the only way. It's hoping everyone loves what you love - that's the key. Some people just have better gut instincts than others when it comes to style and business, but we definitely make sure we are constantly inspired, motivated and educated... and there isn't a better way of improving in all these areas than to travel.

Have you ever found a piece that you just couldn't let go of and had to have it in your home?  What was it?
Definitely... but there are probably a lot that haven't made the trip home due to me reasoning with Tara..."so where do we put this?" Like I said, we are victims of our ambitions. The warehouse does have a few of these items, my eyes are bigger than my house purchases... investments we call them.

Of all the trips to the many countries you have taken, which was your favourite and why?
That's too hard. Different places mean different things. If it's architecture, then Europe is amazing, incredible. Remoteness and natural beauty, the Pacific Ocean is the most awesome place to be. Clearest water and teaming with life and of course surf. Anywhere new and different, but yeah, it depends on what we want out of the trip. Sometimes, it's cultural pieces or inspiration, other times I guess indulgence.

You know what though, every time I come home I think we live in the best part of the word and Jervis Bay in particular is so underrated. It rivals anywhere, with clear water, lifestyle, wildlife (I am a closet parrot lover)... We love where we live!

I love the Indigo Love Collectors store/building. A few years back it was nothing but a personality free, run down little cottage. You could easily walk past without even noticing it. You guys have really kicked life into it, but also made a shabby side of the street beautiful.  It must have been a massive undertaking. Tell us a little about that journey.
It was bigger than massive. It was one of those, if I had have known it was going to this hard we wouldn't have done it, but definitely glad we did. That cottage has been virtually rebuilt from the footings to the roof. We wanted to reinvigorate the building but keep its charm, and to do that, the whole place was torn apart then put back together. The floor was actually under dirt in one corner. The whole house was balancing on piles of rock. Every wall inside and out was removed and structurally strengthened as we had quite a lot of law to adhere to being a commercial space. All the floor boards were pulled up, and re laid. Complete new front wall, new windows, widened doorway, new roof, all the internal walls knocked out, new get the idea. We were extremely lucky that Tara's father, John Symonds was an amazingly patient builder and did an amazing job sharing the vision.

Being in-the-know of homeware and interior trends, do you have any insider tips for this coming season?
I am not sure we follow too many trends. What we do is probably a more classic look. Personally I find that trolling through magazines it's all a bit too much trend focused. There's only so long I can deal with a fluro cushion or bright wire chandelier. Be modern where needed... lounges, even chairs and appliances and lighting, otherwise most cultural pieces can give colour that doesn't date. We tend to buy for long term. Importantly I'd say think luxury and holiday. If you get home each day and its like walking into a luxury resort in Morocco or Spain, Indonesia..., then who needs a holiday when it's your home.

If I was new to the south coast, what is a must see/do/eat/stay?
Jervis Bay is amazing, protected somewhere in any wind... a must see is get a boat and explore Jervis Bay. Friends of ours own the cafe Supply and the restaurant The Waterhouse, so highly recommend those. Stay on the water.. oh and of course meet the friendliest, funniest, coolest dog in the world - Keelah (our brown Newfie)

Jervis Bay's best kept secret?
Scottish rocks on a sunny day in a light southerly wind, in a boat, picnic, snorkeling...

You live in a little slice of heaven, the beautiful beach side town of Manyana. Have you ever thought of bringing your business to Sydney or Melbourne? 
We constantly get requests. We have thought of franchising, but what we do is so personal, so not sure it's possible. It's one of the hurdles that faces us, getting exposure being 3 hrs from Sydney, but it's getting better and busier each day. We often talk about what we could do in a city, but leaving where we are is just crazy, we will keep jumping hurdles. No plans to move unless there is an island in Fiji that will have us.

Whats next for you guys?
Picking up some cushion inserts, going home, repacking the van for more deliveries to Sydney tomorrow.... ha. Getting better at what we do and finding more good help so we can take a little time to smell the roses. We are lucky, we live in paradise, so taking the time off in our hectic schedules to enjoy that is so important.


Can't get to Huski? No problem, Few and Far have an online store here. Brilliant!  Tara also writes a blog that is full of inspirational images, styling and newest items to go into store.  Definitely worth a look.

Below are some on the road images Danny has taken during their travels.  They are for sale too.  Can these guys be any more talented!?

All images posted are from Indigo Love Collectors

So next time you are down the South Coast, I urge you to pay Danny in Indigo Love Collectors and Tara in Few and Far, a visit. You won't be disappointed!

On a final note, it's actually worth mentioning that Indigo Love Collectors supply many of their worldly finds to stores around Sydney and Melbourne. So, you buy from Indigo Love Collectors, you are buying from the guys that hand picked it from that tiny village in the middle of nowhere, on the other side of the world!  Isn't that awesome!

Have a great week.

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