FK chats to Cindy-Lee from Melbourne based label Lightly.
Can you tell us a little about your label and where Lightly comes from?
Based in Melbourne Cindy-Lee Davies is the designer behind Lightly. Davies draws the memories of loved ones and domesticity as a source of inspiration for her work. She launched the company in 2005 in homage of her grandmother, Rosemary Estelle Lightly, with the popular signature lace and doily inspired range. In 5 years the collection now consists of over 80 products mostly Australian made including tableware, a whimsical range of mirrors, cork Eco- ware, lighting, rugs, ceramics hand formed vessels and living products. Davies has witnessed global success with commissions for Anthropologie, Kate Spade International and Moma Restaurant in New York, and exhibitions in Milan, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles.
What is your background and how did it lead to where you are today?
Well I grew up in the country with a whole lot of space, so from a young age I made ‘stuff’ and fossicking around the tip for treasures. I have studied Industrial Design, Welding, Furniture design along with Lighting Engineering at RMIT in Melbourne. Prior to launching Lightly, I had a company called Props Design doing fun sets, films in France and stage design always designing on the side exhibiting and producing new works. I worked in the design industry for 6 years for Italian lighting companies such as Euroluce consulting lighting for mainly residential clients. I launched Lightly in 2005 and by 2007 the business had grown enough for me to go out on my own rather than pack orders all night and booking couriers on the way to the train station!
Tell us more about “Nanna Technology”!
Belle magazine wrote a fab article in 2005 when I launched the lace/doily collection and dubbed my works as ‘Nana technology’, there was nothing like it on the market at that stage using laser cutting in the design process. The acrylic collection of bowls and homewares capture the beauty and delicacy of lace patterns and crochet yet challenge the boundaries of materials using high tech means of production. This style of work has become our signature style and design ethos – it is always of interest to me to use new materials in the design process, challenge boundaries of production and try to create ‘new’. Similarly with our ‘Chrysalis’ butterfly collection links the lifecycle of the butterfly and the metamorphosis of discarded materials into beautiful objects, creating a collection of works made from Nana’s reformed crockery using new technology.
What do you love about what you do, and what have you learnt about running your own business
I love the creative process mostly, exhibiting overseas with other designers and being inspired, there is nothing like a big boost of inspiration from new concepts you are developing. As far as what have I learnt about your running your own business – well it’s a whole lotta work!
What is your workspace like ?
Your hearing it hear first…. We are moving to a big 300sqm two story warehouse in a cobble street lane in Collingwood – I am totally excited as we have been building and renovating the last month. Until now I have been working from 3 spaces- one of them being the double basement studio of my house packing orders and making out of two spaces depending on the medium in Geelong and another on Caulfield. The new space is super fabulous and I cant wait, we have a large workshop/studio, gallery space and a showroom on the first floor; along with offices on a mezzanine. I once had a studio in a scrap metal yard in WA so its quite the upgrade.
What current projects are you working on, or plans do you have up next?
At the moment we are doing the move to Collingwood along with a sample sale coming up in two weeks in the new space.. 26th & 27th November 3 glasshouse rd, Collingwood- details on our website so just preparing for that, working on some projects for clients in the USA, unfortunately I cant mention and a collaboration with a designer or two, weekly making and preparing orders for stores or trade commissions & online order production. We are preparing to open the new showroom in January so – work, work, work right now..