Featured Designer: Honeybee

FK chats with the lovely Wyan Mcallister and Kyle Roddenby from Newcastle based label honeybee!

Tell us a bit about honeybee and what products we can expect to discover?
We have been a designing duo since 1999 so there has been a happy involvement into our joint label honeybee. Our goods currently include timber veneer clocks featuring wildlife imagery and stainless/silver jewellery focusing on our fav design method, stencil cutting, the outcome is a blend of fairytale whimsy and sleek modern, Hansel and Gretel meets George Jetsen.

Who are the team behind honeybee and what are their roles?
My background is ceramics and and Kyle’s is boatbuilding, it’s an interesting combination of skill base, I’m minute detail girl and Kyle is big picture boy and often, annoyingly, reality check boy also. I love coming up with new concepts and getting completely carried away, Kyle has the practical means to carry through projects though often a product simply won’t work as it’s not viable.

In the past we have had separate labels whilst providing feedback to each other (it’s so important to be able to workshop ideas) but honeybee is a combination of our talents and it’s great to be having the same focus.

What inspires you daily?
We are so fortunate to have a beautiful studio in our 60’s house that we have been slowly renovating, it is very inspiring to be around such classic design and it impacts on you profoundly. Our house is filled with finds from this era, (stylish and affordable what a winning combination) and it finds its way into your designs almost via osmosis. Retro colours and shapes have found a place in our latest range, we are hoping to release them in the following few weeks. I found this Pinterest page last week and I utterly love it!!

What do you love about living in Newcastle?
Newcastle is so hot right now and I don’t mean the temperature! The bones of great town were always there, beautiful historical buildings, perfect empty beaches with no traffic but it’s currently in full bloom! You can feel the independent vibe growing which is so exciting to be a part of. Melbournites love Newcastle, perhaps it’s more romantic to them as it’s a bit further away but we like to think that it’s because it reminds them of the best of Melbourne but without the brrrrr.

We also have own own monthly indy market which is brilliant as it rewards and encourages people to pursue a living in the arts field as there is finally a venue to directly sell to the public. The quality of the wares is really high so you feel proud to be a part of it and the locals are thrilled to have a shopping alternative. For a peep visit The Olive Tree Market.

Recently The Design Files came to do blog on Newy that showcased some of the joys of living here, you can check it out here. Our shop is featured too!
Novocastrians have always regarded Newcastle as a very well kept secret, well I think the secret might be out… as all those Sydney refugees will attest!

What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
There has been many challenges along the way, this is not an easy path to travel. You have to evolve constantly, embrace a changing retail environment and adapt to the new ways of selling, manage the needs of a growing family and fluctuating incomes it’s not for the fainthearted but we couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

We love that the thrill of creating a new range that is well received, we make things that we like and would like to have around us but ultimately the support of our customers makes it all worthwhile. The freedom that comes from having your own business is another bonus especially when you have kids, the flexibility means that you don’t miss out on the many precious moments in their childhood.

What new plans do you have for honeybee for the rest of the year?
The future sees us exploring new directions using existing mediums and traveling around doing great markets like Finders Keepers!


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