Beautiful, Scandinavian decor has been all the rage for a while now, with its sleek lines, blonde timber and functional qualities. But let’s admit, many of the mass produced products look very ‘same same’. SO, when I came across a Melbourne-based kids furniture and toy brand, whose pieces are beautifully Scandi in style, but also have a unique design being made entirely from plywood and are created with a strong sustainability ethos, I got excited!
Junior Wolf was launched by the new father of one, Andrew Wolfe, after years in industrial design. Unhappy with the inflexibility of his job, which allowed Andrew little time to spend at home with his son, he took the plunge to follow his interest in furniture design, combined with the new force in his life… a child!
Andrew lives just around the corner from me in Fairfield and he hand finishes and packages up all of his products from his home studio. I chatted with Andrew to find out more about his business, which is quickly capturing the hearts of parents and little ones alike…
What was your background before starting?
I studied Industrial Design in Melbourne and I’ve always had a love for furniture design. For ten years after university, I worked in the retail design industry, which I learnt a lot from but it wasn’t something I was passionate enough about to do full time.
Tell us who is involved in the business?
Currently I’m running the business solo, using some great local contractors in the inner and northern Melbourne suburbs.
I love using local suppliers and building these relationships is one really enjoyable part of the business.
How would you describe your products?
Our toys and furniture are very honest and stylish. They are exactly what you see – the materials are celebrated and the designs are all very simple. They’re cute and playful yet tough, using simple rounded shapes and forms for little hands, but sturdy material, because even little hands can get rough.
Sustainability is very important too. We’re always conscious of improving material usages, wastage and finding better materials.
What makes them unique?
Firstly the design is unique. All our designs are originals, created here in Melbourne. We also produce our designs in fairly limited quantities, so they are literally unique… there aren’t many of each. Having a professional design background which for years has involved checking the quality of items in mass production, I can honestly say that our toys have a fantastic, hard wearing and well made quality compared to many other hand made toys. And there is just no comparison to toys made off shore… they might look good, but each of our pieces is carefully finished with a lot of love.
What are your big goals for your business?
Initially we want to grow our brand within Australia, so that people associate the Junior Wolf name with quality, creativity, great design and something they want for their kids.
Selling internationally is the BIG goal though. In the next 3-5 years we’re hoping to create an international name for ourselves.
What makes you feel most inspired?
I get really inspired by the materials. I don’t think you need to overwork a design, with so much beauty in the materials. I have always been so inspired by the work of Charles and Ray Eames, how the explored the nature of the materials they used. To one day create something as recognisable as anything they have created is the ultimate inspiration.
A big thank you to Andrew for his time – now check out the result of his hard work and vision below…
All images thank to Junior Wolf.