Like most great relationships today, ours started on Instagram.
The super friendly Lisa and I got chatting and when I kept seeing her posts pop up in my feed, I knew they had to be featured right here on the blog!
Lisa and her life and biz partner Terry had the idea for their heirloom-style homewares brand Atley.co when they were travelling through Europe.
Meeting many artisans who were using centuries-old techniques to create unique handmade treasures, the pair say couldn’t help but think of their grandfathers and their fathers, and their passion for locally made, handcrafted pieces that had a story, a heart and history.
We began obsessively daydreaming about how we could harness this beautiful concept here at home in Australia.
So Lisa and Terry set about creating an online destination filled with unique, one of a kind pieces handcrafted by Australian makers: and Atley.co was born.
Let’s hear from Lisa about building the business and what she’s learnt so far…
Where does the inspiration come from for your designs?
There’s magic in everyday objects and their usefulness.
Our designs are inspired by the raw beauty of imperfections.
Each piece is handcrafted by local artisans making them unique and with that they each have a story, heart and history behind them. Ultimately our inspiration for our initial collection came from a desire to create Australian Made treasured keepsakes and family heirlooms for the home like those that we hold dear from our forefathers.
What makes your products unique?
Our collection is exclusive to Atley.co and not one piece is the same. We have collaborated with local artists to create unique handcrafted pieces that add heart, character and happiness to our lives. By offering only Australian Made our online space celebrates and supports the growth and development of our Australian designers and makers. It’s a space where you can confidently select statement, keepsake and everyday lifestyle pieces that effortlessly integrate, inspire and uplift interior spaces and everyday life.
Where do you go or what do you do to ‘recharge’ your creativity?
I wish I had a wild answer for this but truthfully as an obsessive daydreamer my inspiration mostly comes from sitting quietly within my own thoughts…Social media and Pinterest have great feeds for design inspirations but I find taking some time away from those platforms and focusing on ways in which our daily home life can be improved is what inspires me the most when dreaming up new designs.
Terry is most definitely the realist when it comes to sounding off ideas as sometimes…
I find myself getting so caught up in how far other creatives have come that I forget to keep my feet flat on the ground and find myself floating from one thing to the next.
It’s important to stick to why we are here in the first place and that is to create timeless and simple pieces that can be enjoyed not only now in a world of ever-changing trends but pieces that will last beyond a season enhancing and adding joy to our lives now and in many years to come.
Who and what is involved in the process from idea to product?
There is so many steps involved in the process from idea to product that if we had of known exactly how much work was involved it may have scared us away from pursing our dream to create a collection of Australian Made pieces.
Firstly, you have the idea, then it’s investigating whether its been done before or if its something that is already marketed well in our industry. Its then finding the right fit when it comes to working with the makers. We have found that creating and collaborating with like-minded designers and dreamers means we have been lucky enough to oversee every development stage making each design phase including prototype changes a lot less complicated by having such close control.
The amount of work that’s involved is extraordinary especially when sourcing leather.
It took over six months to find a local tannery who would be transparent with us when it came to their production methods.
Using quality materials with a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility is core to our beliefs.
What have been some of the challenges of starting and running your business so far?
Honestly, I think any business owner will tell you that with every step there is a challenge and without being in the thick of it you can never really understand the sheer amount of hard work and education that goes into each stage. Whether it’s product development, website design and shipping configurations to finding the most economical and environmentally friendly packaging solutions for your products.
We would have to say that certifying a product to ensure it was baby safe was probably the biggest challenge.
Once we had sourced all of the raw materials it was then up to a product testing laboratory to test and certify each individual component and then the finished product. We had inconsistent pieces supplied on various orders and we even had our first round of prototypes which took 12 months to put together lost in transit which set us back a further few months. It was certainly a challenging time but through this we learnt so much and as a result we were able to alter the product to suit ours and our communities needs better.
And what about some of the highlights?
The highlights by far out way any of the lows. We feel so incredibly blessed to have so much support from incredibly inspiring creatives in the industry as well as the opportunity to collaborate with extraordinary local talent on something so special to us. To be able to create pieces that not only we are passionate about but to hear stories from our community on how our pieces are used and loved in the home or have helped solve storage or everyday situations is a real thrill for us.
What is in store for your business – anything you can share with us?
Right now after years of hard work getting the brand to launch stage we are just standing back and taking a moment to celebrate our first month of being live and enjoying all of the new connections we are making with likeminded designers and dreamers.
What is your big hope and dream for your business?
We are proud to be creating not only a brand but inspiring and celebrating a movement towards Australian Made. We have so much incredible talent right at our feet that the dream is to continue to develop unique Australian Made pieces by utilising local talent and providing an online space where people can come to source styling pieces for interior spaces and keepsakes to treasure.
And finally, tell us about 3 of your favourite creatives in the interiors space?
- I don’t think anyone will argue that Mr Jason Grant is not only an incredible talent but one of the kindest and coolest guys around.
- Lucy and her team at The Design Files for their original content and continual love and support for Australian design.
- Melbourne based Heather Nette King and Bree Leech for making magic happen in styling shoots and inspiring and educating upcoming interior designers and creatives.