With three children by their side, travel in their blood and fabric in their hands, Joel and Rachel Cooper to create timeless, ethically made collections inspired from all over the world.
Tell us about your journey so far and describe your label.
Rachel and I opened a tiny little store back in 2009, a glorious space that only fitted a counter, a hanging rack and a set of shelves. It was quaint and simple, and we would sew and sell a collection of dresses and tops made from vintage linens and embroideries.
We were quickly known in the region as that cute little store that make things! As the years passed, and our garments kept selling super quickly, we kept expanding on what we were doing. We had the desire to start making all our own original fabrics, and expand our design offering to our loyal following.
We moved to a bigger space and studio, and started to collaborate with independent and ethical dying houses and embroiders in Indonesia, which incorporated our love for coluor, travel and creativity! This was so inspiring for us as makers, and this is the moment when Frank & Dollys really planted its roots as a design label in Australia.
It was a huge priority for us to make sure that any element of the process that we weren’t doing ourselves, in our studio, was ethically and independently done, as we believe that our garments aren’t only beautiful, but they hold that hand prints of the creative souls that make them!
We always dreamed of having our Collections a part of the Finders Keepers, and this year we felt we had the capacity to do so! And boy oh boy, it has been such a wonderful and exciting market to be a part of.
Talk us through a typical day in the life of Frank & Dollys.
There’s always lots happening, We have our Studio, our Store and our Online Store keeping us all pretty busy and engaged throughout the week… and not to mention our beautiful 3 children. We have a team who work in the store, so that Rachel and I can focus on what we do best; Design, Create and be at home with our family.
Rachel covers all the details of the collections, the pattern making, the design for the fabrics and the textures of the garments. Where as I am styling the range, taking it from the design books, to the makers, then to the stores.. the colours and story of the collection, photo shoots and short films, campaigns and the shop and events.
We have a gorgeous studio at home, which is at the bottom of a valley, surrounded by tall gums! It’s a magical place to create.
What would be one piece of advice you would give a first time seller at The Finders Keepers?
Expect the unexpected! We have learnt to over compensate on all things.. stock, supplies and food, because a whole day can fly by so quickly, without even leaving the stall!
It is such a fun and vibrant community and event to be a part of. Come with high spirits and lots of good energy!
Tell us about your inspiration for creativity?
Our inspiration for creativity comes from a couple of places. Being at home with our family, deep in the bush and close to the ocean! It’s magical, and we feel so open to create in this space.
We are also very inspired by travel. We spend a lot of time traveling overseas, learning and observing techniques and cultures, and hunting for treasures! We just adore being immersed in new places and discovering everything this world has to offer.
Theres many designers we admire at the Finders Keepers. We adore the work of Marit Hamer, and I think we add a piece of hers to our collection every market!
What has been your proudest moment to date?
Ohh that’s hard, there has been so many momentous occasions in our Frank & Dollys journey. Moments where we look back and think ‘Gosh, we did it! We pulled that off!’..
But I think the creation of our upcoming range, and seeing the complete garments, was a moment that Rachel and I will never forget. We poured so much in to this range, and to see it completed is a truly incredible feeling! We have created a short film to compliment the collection, which is amazing. We are so excited to release it, and have it with us at the Finders Keepers.