Featured Designer: Baker & Bailey

Baker and Bailey Pretzel Earrings Framed Print United Measures

FK chats with Renee, one half of creative duo Baker & Bailey (who just so happens to be our FK blog editor!) about what it is like to use collaboration as a means of inspiration to start a label and develop products! 

Tell us a bit about Baker & Bailey and what we can expect to discover?
Baker & Bailey is a collaboration between Renee Baker and Jonathon Bailey.  In the past we have both mostly worked as solo artists or designers but have always been intrigued by the idea of collaboration.  We started our relationship and the business around the same time (mental?) and have used Baker & Bailey as an outlet to explore new avenues of art making and product design.

Right now you can expect to discover beautiful yet functional Magnaboards (our magnetic alternative to the pin board), pretzel inspired jewellery, art prints and original drawings

What are your backgrounds and how did you start working together?
Previous to Baker & Bailey, Jonathon was working as a freelance graphic designer, which came about after evolving his 14 year history of working as a visual artist with further study in the field.  During this time he’s had an artist residency in Finland, had solo shows at First Draft Gallery and has an impressive collection of sketch book drawings (many of which have been recreated as prints for Baker & Bailey).

I’ve been working as an illustrator/creative director and/or offsider for the past 8 years.  I’ve worked with Jason Grant and Megan Morton, done the occasional styling gig on my own, and worked along side my BFF Angela D’Alton with {Twin Set} and Leeloo (which we closed before we started working at Etsy).  Oh, and I am now blog editor of this very blog as well as doing digital marketing for The Finders Keepers!

Baker & Bailey started around 12 months ago, when Jonathon and I decided we wanted to collaborate, but we didn’t quite know how.  Turns out sharing a studio space and setting a goal to be apart of a Spring / Summer Finders Keepers Market was a good enough of a boost to get us both developing and experimenting and making new things. We still mostly work independently on our own art making and product development, but ask each other a lot of questions about the process like “what colour should this be?”

Baker & Bailey Magnaboard Magnetic Pinboard

Baker & Bailey Magnaboard Detail

What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
At the moment a lot of our inspiration comes from working with each other.  Having someone to bounce ideas off as well as learn from has been really beneficial for our art making.  Also, having the opportunity to participate in the visual language inspired by the surrounding community has been amazing.

I find that getting outside of my comfort zone is great for motivation. Having (an awesome) dog Honey is great for getting out of the house and going for walks as well as exploring the surrounding neighbourhood.  I also think Jonathon would agree with me in saying that overseas trips are essential.  Ironically our overseas trips are infrequent due to the fact that we are still a new business.

What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
Even though Baker & Bailey is a young business, we have had 4 studio moves in 12 months, including a Sydney to Melbourne move!  I do not recommend this if you want to maintain a reasonable level of sanity.  Now that we are set up in our current home studio in Melbourne we’ve had more time to focus on the making of product rather than the finding of tools and stationary lost in the crevices of our studio.  At the moment we have a long trestle desks wrapped around the room, at different heights for both standing and sitting working.  I feel like the surfaces look different every day and nothing stays in the same place for very long.

Also, the way Melbourne functions as a city has been great for inspiration.  It feels so much easier to do things here compared to Sydney, so hunting down great supplies or a good resource seems less of a challenge.

Baker & Bailey Lil Logs Work In Progress Studio Shot

Baker & Bailey Studio Home

Baker & Bailey Illustration House Fire by Jonathon Bailey

What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
One of the biggest challenges would be figuring out an official work flow for the day to day tasks.  As each day is so varied, and there are so many tasks to complete, getting things in order can sometimes take a little longer than expected.  This probably has something to do with all the studio moving!

Also, not knowing how to bridge the gap between the craft and the industry has been hard.  Finding great suppliers than understand the nature of our business has been a big challenge.  Despite the hard times, there is no denying that working for yourself, on your own projects is really awesome.  Working with Jonathon and collaborating on our label has also been a high point, it is nice to not feel isolated in what you do, and have the support of a like minded creative!

What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see Baker & Bailey in the future?
Currently our main mission has been knuckling down the wholesale side of the business and reaching out to potential stockists.  We would absolutely love to see Baker & Bailey products stocked in stores run by like-minded folk around the country (and even the world!).  It would also be wonderful to be part of the Design Files Open House, perhaps with an oversized custom Magnaboard or two!

As we also work on illustration and graphic projects, it would be great to be represented by an agent to give us a little more time to work on product development and creating, but also as a means of being connected to other creative types working on similar projects.


Baker & Bailey Pretzel Necklace Rope Jewellery by Renee Baker

Baker & Bailey Lil Logs Magnets

Leave a comment