- HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Julian: Black Filter
- HOW DO YOU EARN A CRUST?
We have two little cafe concepts together – Folk in Byron & Woods in Bangalow. Maggie also works as a photographer.
- HOW DID YOUR CAREERS BEGIN?
Randomly. We’re not quite sure it is a career at this point, we’re just enjoying the ride. Jules studied music and sound engineering and spent a few years in production and touring. Maggie studied fine arts and photography and spent a year or so working in those fields. After a few years of city life, we had a feeling we’d like to get back to the country. We stumbled upon this dinghy little shack for lease on the outskirts of Byron and Maggie fell in love with the idea of transforming the space. We figured designing and running a cafe concept would be a quirky project to fill in our time so we called the agent from the city and took the lease without even viewing. A couple of months later we’d packed our van full of our plants and creatures and made the long drive back north, starry-eyed and ready for a new adventure. It was a bit of a shock when we arrived – the building was essentially falling to pieces, half of which was a ghastly shade of burst mango orange, the few windows were grated up with security bars. Locals at the time couldn’t believe when we took the bars off the windows and cut two giant holes in the walls to open the space into the garden.
- WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU:
Julian: Jump out of bed, say hi to the children (puppy and pussy), kiss my darling awake, trot downstairs, splash my face and start thinking.
Maggie: As above but more snoozy.
- TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAFES, HOW LONG HAD YOU BEEN DREAMING THEM UP:
Julian: All of my life. We always wanted to work for ourselves and pursue a creative life. Cafes, art, music, business, love – it’s all the same for us. A way to express ourselves and if you can express and showcase good values and attract a community of support around these values then brilliant, that seems pretty worthwhile.
Maggie: Not very long for me, but it seemed like a natural project. We have always been immersed in cafe and food culture (Jules will blow your mind in the kitchen) and I’m always making something with my hands. Folk, and then Woods, seemed like a pretty magical creative outlet while we pondered our next step. I don’t think I realised how serious it was until we were knee deep in the work (and the debt), and people actually started coming and hanging out with us. It really blew our minds. Conceptually, we just hoped to create something authentic, an inclusive space for people to meet and spend time and start their days. Our intention was to both encapsulate and respond to the lifestyle of the area and what we felt Byron was lacking at the time, whilst essentially manifesting our own dream cafe – what do we like to eat and drink, what do we wish existed so we could hang out there? Folk and Woods are really just an extension of our own home and kitchen. And they continue to grow and change as both we and our regulars do, too. It’s pretty fascinating in that way, they kind of take on a life of their own.
- WHAT’S BEEN THE BIGGEST EYE-OPENER FOR YOU WHEN OPENING UP SHOP?
Maggie: The shift in dynamic as the businesses have grown and the impact of the internet (sometimes brilliant and sometimes suffocating).
Julian: Both how supportive people will be when they gel with your art and how much mental time is devoted to keeping the dream alive.
- WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO REMEDY WHEN YOU’RE STUCK IN A CREATIVE RUT?
Maggie: Art galleries. Journaling. Coffee. Wine.
Julian: Simply starting what needs to be done. Stop thinking and just start.
- HOW DO YOU START YOUR WEEK?
- WHAT ABOUT ENDING THE WEEK?
Wine… Though let’s be honest, wine every night, whoops.
- WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLE WITH STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Maggie: The location commitment. I like to travel and move around and had really become accustomed to that lifestyle. Having (two) bricks and mortar businesses complicates that. I get itchy feet.
Julian: Managing people.
- NEXT ADVENTURE OR PROJECT YOU CAN SHARE?
We are missing the city now (ha) so maybe playing with a venture down south. New travels feel imperative. And for Maggie, definitely getting back to the drawing board, literally, and making some art.
- WHAT IS ONE LESSON YOUR BUSINESS HAS TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE?
Maggie: There is no control, only intention.
Julian: Don’t be scared of failure – expect to fail and fail well – learn something.
Next time you’re in Bangalow or Byron Bay, stop by and say hi!
Folk: Lot 1, 399 Ewingsdale Road Byron Bay
Woods: 10 Station Street, Bangalow
Photos thanks to Maggie and Julian.