When we first saw the dreamy campaign images for Sydney label The Assembly Co, we immediately wanted to set the table, invite over some friends and enjoy some warming good times. We love that The Assembly Co founders, Johan and Nia, hope to inspire exactly that, with their carefully made and curated products designed for getting together, gathering and sharing at home.
Tell us about your label The Assembly Co. and what the concept is behind it?
Johan and I always knew that we wanted The Assembly Co to be more than just about ourselves. The central focus from the beginning have always revolved around the idea of community and to have our products be the centre of a home where people can gather together. We also have a strong belief in quality over quantity, and the importance of supporting those small guys (whether local or international): the designers, creators and makers.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Johan trained as a graphic designer and decided he couldn’t stand being stuck behind a desk 24/7, so re-trained as a plumber because he wanted to learn what he calls “life skills”. It was only in the last 2-3 years that he started to realise he could mesh the two together – use his creativity and building skills to create furniture.
I (Nia) worked in the legal industry for a few years while finishing a media communications degree, but what I’ve always been interested in was styling and curating, and I got to practice a lot of this through Instagram. Whilst on maternity leave, I decided to start a lifestyle blog where I made all the wonderful connections and friends that have really helped us kickstart The Assembly Co.
What inspires your work? What keeps you motivated creatively?
We both draw a lot of inspiration from minimal and timeless design; in particular, Japanese minimalist designs. We were inspired by the idea that something can both appealing to the eye, practical and long lasting, which a lot of chain furniture stores these days don’t offer.
Instagram has also be a hub of both inspiration and motivation for us because we’ve been able to connect with other makers who do such wonderful work!
What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
At the moment, it’s literally our home! We process our orders, build furniture etc all from our double garage. It can be very uninspiring working directly from home sometimes so this is when we take the opportunity to get some fresh air and head to the beach since we are only a few minutes away from it. It’s amazing what difference half an hour outdoors will do to your working brain!
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
The toughest thing will definitely be the hours you put it. No one ever told us that being your own bosses will mean you are always drowning emails, paperwork and other admin stuff! We’ve had to really make a point to switch off our phones or not even talk anything business-related when we are having family time or on a date night.
The thing we love most about is that we get 100% creative control over everything we do! No restrictions and endless possibilities, which are so freeing since the both of us have worked in industries that have restricted our want to be creative.
What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see The Assembly Co. in the future?
In keeping with our love for community, we have recently started up our ‘Assembly Gatherings’ series – a quarterly run lunch/dinner in which people can get together, share a meal, have conversations and collaborate. The other exciting project we are working on is a pop up shop in Surry Hills which will open on Friday 24 July!
We’d hope that in the next year, we’ll be able to find our own workshop / showroom space and do more of what we are already doing – getting people together and selling products that we truly believe in.
Photo credits: Luisa Brimble and Erika Raxworthy.
The Assembly Co Pop Up Showroom THE CO-LAB
Trading as of Friday 24 July 2015
The Basement / 180B Campbell Street, Surry Hills
Open Thursday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm