Five Questions With Olive + The Captain

Written by Kori and Lousia
on 10 October, 2019

You mix the love with the coconuts and shake it all around – Olive + the Captain is a couple of Melbourne gals who strongly value high quality, ethical production, and dressing small humans head-to-toe in CUTE. We can’t wait to see the duo next weekend at Finders Keepers Melbourne Oct 18-20, as they launch their Tous Les Fruits’ (All the Fruits) range.

Photography credits: Jenna of Smokey Oscar

There’s so much to love about Olive + the Captain from ethical roots to incredibly fun design. Tell us how kids’ clothing came to be your thing?

The two of us would often meet up and chat for hours about our independent business ideas, then one day it kind of clicked, why don’t we join forces? We’ve been friends since we were 6 years old and had very similar tastes in things growing up – and this has not changed in adulthood! We were both drawn to the fun world of children’s designs – maybe because it lets our quirky side shine! Both of us have a background based around kids – Kori, a primary teacher and Louisa, a buyer for children’s clothing in a past life! Funnily enough, we actually started our label 3 years ago when neither of us had kids. Little Alfie came along last year (munchkin to Kori & husband George) so we now have our own O+TC mascot!

What about your process, is there one of you more involved in design and olive puns or is it a joint venture on all levels?

It is a joint venture for sure. In fact, we often text each other exactly the same idea at the same time… it is uncanny how often it happens and has become a running joke how in sync we are! (Any believers in mental telepathy out there?!) Puns and lame jokes would be a strength for both of us, which translates well into fun worded prints. ‘Olive you’ was a cute discovery that perfectly fits our brand, and everyone seems to love! We have really put the pressure on ourselves to keep coming up with cheeky puns…
Both of us spend time putting together ideas and picking colours for a range then we split into our skill sets – Kori translates the ideas into garment patterns, and Louisa, oversees the garment production process. We are really lucky to have complementing skills and this definitely helps us to share the load of running a small business!

We’ve seen you’ve joined forces with the wonderful Victor Fox! Talk to us about collaboration and why
it’s important to you.

We know how empowering it can be working with other creatives – it absolutely enhances our own creativity! And when it comes to supporting small business, whether it be ours or others, who could say no to that?! It’s great fun to give a brief and see how it is interpreted by another creative mind. Clare from Victor Fox absolutely nailed the design of our LOVE print & we were so thrilled to work with her!
There is so much power in creating a community around you of like-minded people, whether it is other designers, clothing brands, café owners, artists – it’s incredible how small businesses all have similar struggles and successes. Collaboration to us is beyond teaming up with someone solely on design, but any way we can work together to help further each other’s business towards success.

What can Melbourne expect from Olive + The Captain this spring?

We are excited to be launching our ‘Tous Les Fruits’ (All the Fruits) range – full of quirky prints, classic stripes, soft orange sorbet, some sneaky pips and a squeeze of lemon! We keep our main styles classic but you can always expect some fun prints that will give people a laugh. Everything is designed to mix and match — choose your level of pattern clash… we think the bolder, the better!

As backers of ethical production within your business, how do you carry this into everyday life?

There just isn’t space these days to not be thoughtful in business. We are all becoming more and more mindful of the flow-on effect of business, especially manufacturing. We advocate for ethical production but also try to live that with mindful and researched purchasing in our personal lives. Supporting local brands and stalls at markets is one great (and easy) way to support makers, creators, cooks and farmers. Kori is also semi-pro at finding absolute gems in Op Shops!

Bonus Q: Who’s on your Finders Keepers wishlist this spring?

This is THE best time to get ahead for some Christmas shopping! We both love checking out the debut section for some amazing new brands and ideas. We can’t wait to get our hands on some Sonya Moyle ceramics, and stock up on new season Harry and Pop swimwear for Alfie for the coming summer!

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