- WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE COMMUNE?
I was a stay-at-home Mum to my two boys Bodhi, 10 and Indie, 5. I had just finished renovating our home and found it hard to source unique, natural, handmade fixtures, finishes and furniture and homewares. I found I was sourcing everything through Instagram and thought why doesn’t someone just have all these products in a store so you can actually view them properly before buying.
- ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE OPENING A BRICKS AND MORTAR STORE?
I knew basically nothing about retail! I had a friend, Kristie, who had worked in both retail and wholesale in the rag trade for over 10 years and I approached her to come on board and manage the store. From there we both sat down and put a lot of late nights into setting the business up and opening the store.
- IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL STORE, WHO DID THE FIT-OUT?
Both Kristie and I. We are both drawn towards a more natural, earthy, rustic feel. I had an idea in my head already that I wanted it to be all white backgrounds with recycled timber features as my home is all white and recycled timber and from that, I could see the products would stand out well against the white and natural timber elements. We wanted the counter to incorporate the peach tone we used in our logo that had been on our Instagram since the beginning. We were able to source these amazing handmade ash fired terracotta tiles from Italy that we found on display in the chevron pattern that we then used in the store. We had Marshal from The Bondi Builder do our fit-out – he has a real nous for this type of aesthetic. When we came across a few challenges with design vs function, he came up with ways we could still keep the aesthetic we were looking for while also keeping the function that we needed. Our husbands then made the copper racks we hang our apparel on and we sourced recycled timber tables, benches, and consoles to use to display our product. Our muse store is General Store in Venice Beach, California and the set out of their long table down the middle of the room was something we mirrored.
“The earthiness of these elements I think gives Commune a warm, inviting feeling. And a connectedness to the outdoors and to the beachside.”
- WHAT WAS THE GOAL WITH THE STORE AESTHETIC?
We just wanted the feel to be natural, nothing contrived. We are drawn to natural materials so we sourced recycled timber, stone, eucalypt poles, copper and rattan for our fixtures/finishes. The earthiness of these elements I think gives Commune a warm, inviting feeling. And a connectedness to the outdoors and to the beachside, which lucky for us is at our doorstep!
- WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH THE FIT-OUT?
Getting it all done in 10 days! We got the keys to the property and 10 days later we actually opened. We had an awesome builder and family/friends who we owe big time!
- YOUR CURRENT IN-STORE PLAYLIST?
Harvest Moon – Neil Young
The Devil’s Tears – Angus and Julia Stone
Going to California (acoustic version) – Led Zeppelin
I’ll Try Anything Once – The Strokes
Gypsy – Fleetwood Mac
Rambling Man – Laura Marling
Jungle – Tash Sultana
French Press – Rolling Blackout
Beautiful Girl – INXS
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – The Smiths
Give A Little Bit – Supertramp
Can’t Stand Me Now – The Libertines
- FAVE ITEMS IN THE STORE RIGHT NOW?
We have just received a new collection of ceramics, from a local Bondi girl. They are just divine – earthy, rustic, imperfect. I want to order a whole dinner set from her!
- TELL US WHY YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO?
We get excited when we find an artisan who creates beautiful things. It’s like a new discovery you want to tell the world about every time. It’s weird, I’m quite shy by nature and actually find it hard to talk to someone I don’t know, but I come out of my shell if I’m finding out the story of someone. I love to hear people’s stories, especially creatives and the world that goes into their art. I suppose for me, it is connecting with these artisans who are usually grounded and kind-hearted people – that’s what I love.
Photos by Kendall Hubbard.