FK chats to Melissa about her lovely new homewares and accessories label Elly&Eve, based in Sydney.
Tell us a bit about Elly&Eve and what products we can expect to discover?
elly&eve is a fresh, colourful and contemporary homewares and accessories label I launched earlier this year, which captures a playful approach to home life and community living. Elly and Eve are my grandmothers, and their individual stories inspired me to explore the concept of family, cultural traditions and a greater sense of belonging within those individual communities. elly&eve focuses on hand screen printed products, so the current range includes cushions, dining and kitchen wares, and a range of accessories from totes to pouches and purses.
What is your background and how did you get started screen printing and creating homewares?
I studied a Bachelor of Design at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney, where I majored in Graphics and Textile design. I then dabbled around in fashion design for a while and was fortunate to take on a traineeship at a fashion company in New York, which enabled me to get back into artwork and embellishment design. While I was over there, I began to create a range of prints in my spare time and the whole concept of elly&eve was born. Upon returning to Sydney, I decided to take that concept along with my love for pattern and colour, to turn that into my own little label!
Which other homewares/textiles labels do you love? And what inspires you?
On an international scale, I really love marimekko and orla kiely for their aesthetic and design philosophy. I love how marimekko have injected so much character and integrity into their work, and I always love an excuse to visit their new boutique in Sydney! On a local scale, bonnie and neil do fantastic screen printed items, Kip&Co have amazing printed bed linen collections, and pony rider is also really fun and contemporary. I really appreciate labels that are able to maintain that creative playfulness; it’s exciting and fresh and keeps everyone on their toes!
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
I have just moved into a studio space in Sydney’s Surry Hills, as I was previously working from home. There are other designers and small companies based in the studio, so I find it inspiring to have all the different work practices and projects happening under the one roof! I am in the process of decorating my new workspace, but I just like to keep it simple and organised; and be surrounded by lots of colour, snippets of inspirational words and a lot of plants!
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
Starting your own label can feel like a long and lonely journey, especially if you choose to do it on your own like I have! I’ve learnt that you need to stay connected with other creatives and businesses in your community. It’s really important to have a social working environment that will keep you inspired and motivated. What I enjoy the most about having my own label is the ability to do what I really believe in, and to focus on design that I am immensely passionate about. There is a great sense of fulfilment when you honour that creative drive and stay true to who you are along the way.
What new plans do you have for Elly&Eve this year?
I will be heading down to Melbourne later this year to attend my first trade show, where I will be able to introduce elly&eve to a wider audience. I really do love Melbourne’s creative vibe, and I can’t wait to be amongst all the other designers and meet with the smaller boutiques and quirky retailers. Aside from that I am focusing on consolidating the business, and setting up a structure that will enable me more time and energy to create new, exiting prints and to begin the development of new collections!