Ela and Jackson ~ The beach babe best friends behind this new fashion line


Two best friends + one shared obsession with fashion = Ela and Jackson, a sleek line of swim, beach and yoga wear perfect for the active Perth lifestyle. The Perth Collective talks to co-creators Keely and Ela about fashion, inspiration, and running a successful business when you work full-time.

Tell us a bit about yourselves…
Keely was born in the rural south of WA in a little sleepy town called Pemberton. Growing up on a farm, she is naturally fearless, and confident in demobilising spiders and using firearms. She is also a coeliac so don’t feed her anything delicious with gluten!

Ela was born and raised in the leafy green suburb of Subiaco to Polish parents who migrated to Australia in 1985. Her name is spelt with one ‘L’ which belies her Polish heritage – she speaks the language fluently and loves pierogi.

We also both adore dogs, the beach, travelling, coffee and anything made from potato! Oh, and of course fashion!

Our obsession with fashion came from a young age, with both of us constantly drawing pretty dresses and collecting Vogue magazines. When we met it was like we had finally found another person who was on totally the same wavelength with regards to fashion design and potato-based foods. We would always speak of having our own label and how wonderful it would be to create the clothes we wished existed.  You know what I’m talking about, when you find this piece but it’s not quite right?

How was Ela and Jackson founded?
The two of us met through mutual friends and after initial resistance from being told we would be a perfect match, we actually realised we got along like a house on fire.

We became firm friends very quickly and as we got to know more about each other we discovered that we both had aspirations in fashion. Deciding that two heads were better than one, Ela & Jackson was born.

Where are you based?
Our workshop in based in Wembley at Ela’s house. Keely lives not too far away in the leafy suburb of East Perth, so early morning breakfast meetings are easier to get to.

What inspires your collection?
Ela & Jackson’s spring/ summer 16 collection captures the active seaside culture of our home, Perth. The essence of health, beauty and activity bonded to create swimsuits and beachwear that translates from the great Indian Ocean coast to the sweat dripping onto a yoga mat.

Each piece is an extension of our own personalities, wrapped into the seamless nylon-lycra with a palette of rich earthy tones and attention to detail, and glimmering from the stunningly vibrant silk we’ve hand-sewn into a collection of magical kimonos.

The natural beauty of the female silhouette paired with clean, sharp lines and influences from our yoga practice has brought you a collection that is hardware-free and of the highest quality and, most importantly, comfortable. Each piece can be adapted in various ways providing a wealth of self-expression in form and function. What serves you for flowing in the ocean will serve you for flowing on the mat in your next Vinyasa class

Whether it’s down at Cottesloe Beach, island hopping in the Pacific or in a yoga class, Ela & Jackson can be there with you in spirit joining you on your journey.

Do either of you have a background in fashion?
Ela studied Fashion as well as Public Relations and Marketing whilst Keely studied Design – however we also both have an extensive history within the fashion industry, with involvement in the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival, management in high-end fashion retail and experience working as stylists on numerous occasions.

What is your current favourite key piece from your store?
We are obsessed with the Dhyana Top at the moment because it is just so versatile. A simple shelf bra available in 6 colours, it’s perfect for wearing as is on the beach, or with yoga pants in the studio. It even stands in as a layering piece to give a little more coverage underneath that one dress/ top we all have that is just too much to wear with just a bra as coverage!

Where can we purchase your label?
As well as our online store www.elaandjackson.com, we are stocked exclusively in Merge Clothing in Northbridge. We also take appointments from home via email for our local Perth gals.

Where did your business name come from?
Our business name came actually came from Ela’s partner Bart. He had the clever idea of using Ela’s first name and Keely’s last name to create Ela & Jackson. It rolled off the tongue and it just stuck!

What do you find is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
The biggest challenge is time. Both of us work full-time and in the early stages Ela was also studying full-time – now we find balancing much easier. Being the faces of our company, we also need to be fit and healthy and always bikini body-ready, and trying to fit all this in with full-time work can be difficult.

What do you do for your full-time jobs?
Ela works at Kookai and Keely works for lululemon – both are companies we love, and they support our aspirations. We do this outside of our full time jobs – basically every spare second we have is put into Ela & Jackson.

What has been the best moment so far in your business?
Being in such early stages of our business, it’s hard to just choose one as so many moments are on par with each other. Some include getting our first order from someone that wasn’t one of our amazing friends, getting our first stockist, and having our first show (Melbourne Cup 2015). However the best moments are when our stock arrives and we see our ideas become tangible in lycra. Then we’re obliged to go straight to the beach to celebrate. Also seeing people wearing our product is probably the most rewarding feeling! It’s solid proof that people actually love what we are making!

Most memorable challenge you’ve had with a client or stockist?
The most memorable challenge would be with the first stockist we had late last year. A customer appropriated one of our bikinis and then posted a photo of herself wearing it on Instagram. Then she actually tagged us in the photo! This was rather emotional as we weren’t able to follow up with any formal kind of action and just had to sit back while she continued to post photos.

Your favourite quote or mantra?
If it is to be, it’s up to me.

Basically if you want something done, work hard and do it yourself. Most things in our business we have learned to do because we had to. For example, Ela built our website from scratch and we think it looks pretty damn good. The more we learn to do ourselves, the more we can control.

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their business growth?
We know so many inspiring hard-working women that we look up to so it’s hard to name one, but if we had to? Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal. She’s a badass CEO who makes no apologies for who she is and where she has come from. She freely offers a whole host of good advice with a huge side of reality to anyone wanting to get into business, plus is all about supporting new talent!

What is your advice to WA women who want to start their own business or turn their hobby into a small business?
If you have an idea then go for it. If you want it enough you will find a way to make it happen! Work at it every day and be realistic about how much you need to do to get there! Also create a support network for yourself to get you through the hard times, because there will be hard times. Plus, starting your own business is probably the most rewarding thing you could do.

What is your vision for your business?
To create a label that truly expresses who we are through classic lines and high quality fabric as well as empowering women to feel comfortable in their own skin. We want to be able to grow from swimwear to resort and ready-to-wear and not limit ourselves with what we might do or where we might go.

Favourite WA coffee –  Tropico , Foam Coffee Bar
Favourite WA fashion label – Natalie Rolt, Morrison, Bruug
Favourite WA homewares– Empire
Favourite WA bar– The Cottesloe Beach Hotel
Favourite WA restaurant– Ingredient Tree
Favourite WA Instagram account – Salty Wings (@saltywings)

25% off with the code EJLOVE25


Edited by The Write Stuff Collective

Cake Lovin – “The cake was over half my height and weighed god knows how much… We needed to use a trolley to take it in.”

Drooling yet? The sweet creations from Cake Lovin are as delicious as they are decadent  – and all crafted by self-taught owner Wella in her very own kitchen. We chat to her about the power of creativity, the women who inspire her, and why aspiring business owners should just f***ing do it!
Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in the Philippines and came to Australia when I was 8 with my mother.  I was always creative from a young age with a drive to make things myself (to draw, sew, glue things together, cook, write poetry…) and I spent a lot of time fantasising about everything magical. I am 32, a wife to an amazing man,  and a mother to two gorgeous school-aged boys, Hayden and Christian, and two fur babies, Harper the British Bulldog and Harley the Basset Hound. I like to eat, food is life!! But not liquorice – it just taste funky.

How did you come to make cakes as a business? 

An avid DIY girl, I started making cakes when I had my kids. Around the time my first son was born eight years ago, family members and friends started having kids too and they requested cakes from me. I’ve always spoken about making the business official so last year I finally got myself into gear and organised all the licenses so I could cater to the growing demand of enquiries from the public.

Tell me a little more about the cakes you create?
Whenever someone orders a cake, I always make it clear to them that I can never replicate the design and that I would always add my flair to each piece. It’s not just about copyright but personal touch. I find making cakes so relaxing. I can have multiple cakes due on one given weekend, plus be doing school runs and soccer drives for my eldest and guitar lessons for my youngest (while being a FIFO mum for nearly two years) and still….there’s nothing like rolling fondant and creating, even at 2am in the morning. It makes me happy…Stressed crazy happy.

What inspires your baking?
The very fact that I love being creative is what inspires me. I am the type of person that cannot function if I cannot create. Secondly, my clients inspire me. Without them, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to put my creativity into motion.

Do you have a background in food?
My mother was an amazing cook. She cooked a lot of traditional Filipino dishes which are very Spanish-influenced,  but also ventured into making up her own creations. I always loved watching her cook. I’ve also worked in hospitality and wouldn’t hesitate to go back to it if I needed to work. I’m always surrounded by people who love to cook  and we all love to eat the food we make!DSC_0036

What is your current favourite cake you have created?
 I don’t even have a favourite to be honest. Each cake I have done has always been quite unique and I always change it up.

What is the most popular cake flavour at the moment?
 Everybody loves my white chocolate sponge cake. I use good quality white chocolate. It’s probably because I love white chocolate that the most love goes into that batter.

Where did your business name come from?
 I wanted something simple- nothing too cakey or girly or pink or ordinary (for me anyway). Cake Lovin seemed fun and just short and sweet. 

What do you find is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
 Juggling family life and the business.  Being a creative crazy-head, I am also in the works of doing other projects. The cake business was easy to start because I do it from home so it has low overhead costs – but juggling and balancing everything else can be very challenging at times.


Do you do this full-time? 
 Yes, I do the cakes fulltime.

Your best moment so far in your business?
 I couldn’t isolate ONE exact moment really. Every cake is an adventure and to be honest I am always very nervous each time I do a cake because I am self-taught. I rely on YouTube, Pinterest and lots of tutorials. Each time I complete a cake is a “best moment” for me.

Most memorable challenge you’ve had with a client or stockist?

Making my cousin’s wedding cake in 2012 was very challenging. My boys were very small and were still at home. I had to make over 300 handmade rolled fondant roses and maybe double that amount of mini flowers. I used about four or five seven-kilo boxes of fondant, three massive blocks of Styrofoam fake cake, and a normal cake on top. The cake was just over half my height and weighed god knows how much. But by the time each layer was covered in fondant and half of the cake covered in the roses, we needed to use a trolley to take it in the ballroom for the wedding. My hands, wrists and arms were so sore and for the week after I felt like I had been hit by a bus!

Your favorite quote or mantra:
Michelle Bridges: “JFDI”. I’ll let you figure that one out!

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their business growth?

My mother is my inspiration. She was very simple but she did a lot of things that proved a lot of strength in a woman. She left her hometown in her 20s with a little girl in tow (me), came to a foreign country (Australia), worked hard, and eventually brought my little sister over and raised my little brother with so much love. She continued to provide for her family in the Philippines all these years . Everyone she met became so close to her and were always happy to be around her. She inspires me because she was the true definition of LOVE and HARD WORK. I hope I can be like her – love, work hard, and make people happy.

In life you don’t need materialistic things or fame to validate your existence. Loving people and working hard for what is dear to you is what defines you.

What is your advice to WA women who want to start their own business or turn their hobby into a small business?

JFDI!!! There’s no time but the NOW to do what you want. Over-thinking and self-doubt is something that will destroy a creative. If you’re passionate about something then why not just do it? What better way to show the world your talent ? Share your creativity!

I read a lot of Lisa Messenger’s books. She has a whole array of books that are bold and uplifting, and she basically just tells you to do it. If you can feel it in your gut, then go for it.

Surround yourself with like-minded people who are going to support you, and take crticism well – study it and allow it to help you improve your way if it’s positive. What have you got to lose?

What is your vision for your business?
 My vision is to continue to run my business from home. I have had a lot of people offer me retail space to open a shop. But I am a control freak when it comes to my art, so expanding to hire staff just isn’t in my books. I do have help from time to time from friends and family but committing to a shop is a big step. 

 I watched a program about Poh (Masterchef contestant). She sells food at her local seasonal markets with a small team- mainly her family. Her goods sell out quick and are very popular. She has been told constantly to expand and hire staff but she was firm on the notion that creating food was more a passion for her, and not just the business of making money. The moment she decides to enlarge her project, she would lose control of creating her food because she would have to delegate tasks to someone else. I feel very similarly. For me, cakes are an art. It’s about creating and being satisfied with every creation I make myself. 

Once I’ve settled (this year has been insane for me – I’m in the middle of moving into our new home), I would like to venture into offering different types of desserts, and also would like to try some seasonal markets for experience. 

I am also working on taking cake classes to better my skills so I can expand into adding more details to my cake creations. Another thing I would like to do is offer basic skill classes to people – especially mums – so that they can start somewhere and see where their passion leads.

Favourite WA Coffee 
  I’m a hybrid , I drink tea 🙂 I have high blood pressure.
Favourite WA Fashion Label – Aurelio Costarella. I wore one of his pieces as my wedding dress.
Favourite WA Homewares– The Furniture Gallery
Favourite WA Bar– My best friend’s house 🙂 I don’t go out anymore, as  I have the kids in tow and my husband is away for four weeks. 
Favourite WA Restaurant –  Trangs Café- best Vietnamese in perth !!!
Favourite WA Instagram Account – The Perth Collective, my one-stop account to check out other inspiring females in my hood !

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for all 2016 bookings confirmed by the end of May. 





How to save your visual business branding with SOS… Designs

Stylish. Original. Simple. That’s Hayley from SOS…Designs’s mantra, and she applies it to every piece she designs for clients who need a little bit of brand saving. Her clean lines and miminalist aesthetic have helped build the brand identities of a number of Perth businesses, and an exciting new venture makes her designs available to us all…

Hayley has designed the new The Perth Collective website that launches next Friday.We have been so impressed and we can’t wait to unveil it to you all!

Tell me a little about yourself…

Continue reading

The Write Stuff Collective: why words matter


Stuck for words? The Write Stuff Collective is a copywriting agency that works with businesses to craft their stories and connect with their audiences through words – whether they’re on a web page, in a blog post, or on a product label. Founder Anna Christensen copywrites for The Perth Collective – and will edit the upcoming SALTED mag – so she comes highly recommended from us! 

How was The Write Stuff Collective founded?
I started freelancing about a year ago, taking a leap of faith by leaving my job as a features writer and deputy editor at Scoop Publishing to fulfil my dream of working in my PJs (it’s every bit as awesome as I hoped!) Initially, I was just writing for magazines but I started getting approached by businesses who had read my articles and liked my style. At first I dismissed these type of jobs – ‘copywriting’, they’re called – as something to do on the side, but I quickly realised how much I enjoyed the process – meeting with passionate entrepreneurs, learning to adapt to a range of writing styles, and helping people find the words they struggle to articulate.

I decided to change copywriting from a side venture to the main event, and began skilling up in the art of writing for businesses. I did a course at the Australian Writer’s Centre, trained in what the heck SEO was about, and read anything about copywriting I could get my mitts on.

Then, I came up with a name, designed a logo and website, and – voila! – launched it to the world. I’ve been really surprised and grateful with the response so far. The number of clever businesses coming out of Perth right now blows my mind, and I feel very privileged to help some of them in my own little way!


Is it just you working in your business?
As of yesterday, I would have answered yes. But today, The Write Stuff Collective expanded (and, um, actually became a collective. Ha!)

I’m so excited that Hannah Lawrance is joining The Write Stuff team as our digital marketing guru. She comes to us from Scoop Publishing, where she managed to increase the Instagram following by 350% in just six months. She’s also super sweet and has a killer sense of style.

The Write Stuff Collective is just a newborn, but I definitely would love to expand in the future. Working with like-minded word nerds gives me the warm and fuzzies.

What exactly is copywriting? What services do you offer?
Well, contrary to popular belief, copywriting has nothing to do with copyright! Sorry but you’ll need a lawyer for that. 😉 Copywriting essentially covers any writing that’s done for the intent of a business – whether that’s web pages, press releases, blog posts, fliers, bios, magazines, pamphlets, advertisements… The list goes on!

Where did your business name come from?
I’m a total dag, and love a good pun. The Write Stuff rolled off the tongue and seemed to stick. I’m clearly not the only one who thought so – I learned, a little too late, that the name had been already been registered as a business.  Oops! Having already made my logo and imagery, I decided not to completely change the name and opted to add ‘collective’ to the end to make it unique, with the hopes that I would expand in the near future. Thankfully, I did! (And don’t worry, I learned from my mistake – the new name is registered to me.)


What have you found to be the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Working from home can be tough, when there are distractions all around (I’m looking at you, laundry hamper!)  It can also be lonely at times, but I’m lucky that I live with my partner, who also works from home fairly often (he’s a music booker and manager). He keeps me sane, and well-fed with his delicious cooking!

Other challenges of the freelance life? Ebbs and flows in business – you can go from having nothing on to drowning in work – and irregular income. Plus, no sick days or annual leave can be a bit of a bitch. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Your best moment so far in your business?
Promise I’m not just sucking up, but creating a relationship with The Perth Collective has been a dream come true! I’ve admired TPC for a while now, and love the way Nikki supports women in small business, and helps the dreamers take their business pipe dreams to reality. The upcoming SALTED mag gives me a buzz every time I think about it (also because I get to work with Jo from Joanne Tapodi Creative, another ex-Scoopie and all-round awesome human).

Adding to the fold today has been another highlight. I know Hannah is going to be an amazing addition to The Write Stuff Collective – and I’m looking forward to having regular excuses to get coffee and doughnuts with her!

Your favourite quote or mantra:
“Change your challenges into opportunities.” 

It’s a little cheesy, but I think it’s so important to remember this. I used to get upset with myself when someone didn’t like what I wrote straight off the bat, but I’ve learned (okay, I’m learning… baby steps!) to embrace feedback and criticism. After all, how else can you grow and get better?

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their business growth?
My dear friend/surrogate sis/mentor Renee Bergere. She created Great About Perth and was my editor at Scoop and – once I got over how intimidatingly gorgeous and talented she was – we became super close. I admire her intelligence, social media savvy,  incredible writing skills, and the way she brokers deals with an iron fist in a velvet glove! She is always there to give me advice when I need it, whether it’s about a pitch, a certain sentence, or how to charge for different jobs.

I also admire Lisa Messenger who created The Collective Hub. She defied the odds of a dying magazine industry, and created a successful product that really resonates with people. Same goes for Louise Bannister and Lara Burke – they bravely launched a magazine when they couldn’t find stuff they liked on the newsstands, bucked the economic downturn, and created Frankie, one of the most widely loved and distributed mags in Australia.

What is your advice to Perth women who want to start their own business or turn their hobby into a small business?
Respectfully disregard anyone who tells you it’s impossible. People who love you will sometimes discourage you from making bold moves because they don’t want to see you fall. But if you’re already thinking about it, chances are the tried-and-true road isn’t for you anyway. Live a little, and take the risk!

But at the same time, make a plan. While you’re still at your day job, do as much work on the side as you can, and stow away some savings. The idea of being in debt gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I made sure I had a decent nest egg before I went out on my own.

Also, think laterally. Make your ideas and talents work double duty, channelling them in different, creative ways.

Favourite WA coffee: Gesha
Favourite WA fashion label:  Rue Stiic
Favourite WA homewares: I love the Rug Studio in Freo. I also like combing Old Values for a vintage find.
Favourite WA bar: Strange Company, The Odd Fellow or Rodney’s Bait n Tackle
Favourite WA restaurant: Jamel’s – it’s tucked away behind Nell’s Emporium in Mosman Park and it’s a cozy, fairy-lit hidden gem. I also love Manuka and Don Tapa.
Favourite WA Instagram account: @theperthcollective, @housenerd, @perthisok


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Francesca GNAGNARELLA + Your invitation to the Emotional Landscape Art Exhibition

Italian artist Francesca Gnagnarella has had a love affair with WA light since she moved to Perth nine years ago. And we’ve had a love affair with her abstract landscapes, which use 23 karat gold to capture that elusive light to stunning effect. The Perth Collective talks to her about her international profile, the one painting she won’t sell, and her upcoming exhibition (you’re invited!)

Tell us a little more about your background. How did you become an artist?
I was born in Italy and studied art between Rome and Paris, then fell in love with an Aussie guy during a ski trip and moved to Australia in 2007. I started exhibiting in group shows before finishing uni in Paris, and held my first solo exhibition in Rome in 2006. Now I am a full time artist, and I have been painting professionally since 2011. 

Describe your paintings – what style would you refer to them as?
I like to call my paintings ‘abstract landscapes’. My works are abstract interpretations of seascapes, beachscapes, or landscapes reinterpreted loosely onto canvas. I don’t work from photographs but only from the memory of a particular place with a vision that is emotional and intuitive, remembering a sunset or a sunrise, looking at the earth and sky in the sunshine or after rain, contrasting splurges of red, magenta, orange, yellow, and blues to recall a sunburnt desert, the clearest waters, the softest sand, the brightest sunsets.


Where do you paint? Do you have a studio?
I paint from my studio in Pakenham Street. It’s a beautifully restored old Woolstores building in the centre of  Fremantle with a collective of about 30 artists. 

What inspires your collections?
I am fortunate enough to live close to the ocean and usually I start my day walking my puppy on the river shores surrounding my home. On my walks I can slow down, observe my environment, take in colours, patterns, textures, and, most importantly, the light, which has a particularly vibrant quality here in Perth and is represented throughout my works with the use of 23 Karat gold leaf.

Who influences your art?
I of course always had my favourites when studying art at school. Definitely the artist I have always looked at for inspiration is the American painter Rothko, I love his use of colour and large scale works. 

How long does it take to produce one of your larger paintings?
Probably 4 to 5 weeks in total. Most of the time I work on two or more paintings at the same time so I can switch back from a piece and while I work on another one, I let the unfinished work rest in my studio so I can observe it and see where I’m going with it. Then when I get back to it I know what I need to add and how to continue working on it. Knowing when an abstract piece is finished is all up to the artist, so sometimes it takes longer to know when a painting is completed.  

In most of your art you use 23 Karat gold leaf. Tell us more…
Since I moved to Perth from Europe I was amazed by the intensity of light that I found only in Western Australia and I wanted to replicate its vibrancy on canvas. I found that the gold leaf does it best, enriching the paintings with a unique luminosity. The play of light of the gold leaf affects the painting in different ways throughout the day, or if the sunlight hits the gold through a window, or if it’s artificial light bouncing off it and transforming the painting as you look at it from different angles. I purchase my gold leaf in booklets of 25 little 8x8cm sheets. They are the thinnest as they are the purest in grade and easily breakable. I always use 23 Karat gold leaf. 

You have just returned from the Singapore Contemporary Art Show. Is this the first time you have exhibited there? 
Yes, it was my first time exhibiting in Singapore and it was a wonderful experience during Art Week, when the city hosts a myriad of art shows and events. I’ve met with many young collectors getting interested in collecting art and received a great interest in my works, including a big name in the hotel industry for which I have put together a proposal for custom made artworks for the hotel bedrooms. I will definitely go back to Singapore to exhibit again.

You also produce resin art. How are these made and why do you add them to your collections?
It all started last year, with a collaborative exhibition with South West-based artist Todd Cleave. Todd and I share a passion for the same colour palette, most often inspired by the blue-greens of the ocean, the reds and oranges of the sunrise and sunset, and the amber and browns of the earth. The resin works are characterised by organic shapes, tactile feel and bright colours. Each piece is unique and, like an original painting, it’s impossible to recreate – and that’s what I love about resin. They beautifully complement the colours and inspirations of my paintings so I love adding a different dimension to my works particularly exhibiting them together. I just adore the way colours come out so brilliantly in resin form.

Do you find you have a bigger response to your art internationally, or is it well-supported locally?
I’ve been exhibiting in Hong Kong for three years and have two international shows each year there, so I’m building a small following of collectors and art lovers in Hong Kong which is incredible. Seeing my pieces find their new forever homes somewhere far from where I’m based is what I love most about my job. It gives a sense of appreciation greater than anything else. I love seeing people fall in love with a piece and just wanting to have it regardless of the name of the artist, since most new clients didn’t know me before the show. I think that’s how art should be purchased, just by what instantly attracts you to a particular piece. It fascinates and excites me. But I am also very grateful to have many local loyal supporters who have seen me growing since I’ve started here in Perth and continue to follow me.  

Where can we purchase your art? Do you have any upcoming exhibitions in Perth?
You can purchase my art from my website www.fragnagna.com (paintings, iPhone cases and resin art) or you can visit my gallery in North Fremantle by appointment. My upcoming exhibition, Emotional Landscape, launches on Thursday 5th May. If you would like to attend please RSVP to info@francescagnagnarella.com – here’s the invitation with all the details.

What do you find is the biggest challenge being a Perth-based artist?
Not being able to travel as easily as when I was in Europe for major art exhibitions that I could go visit on a weekend if I was still living in Rome or Paris. And getting inspirations from different cultures has always been very important for me. I guess my focus and inspirations have really been redirected to our local surroundings now that I live in Perth. 

Do you have a favourite painting?
My favourite painting is ‘Always always always’. It is part of my neon series of works, which wants to show the light that we see in dreams and the thoughts that seem to come from them. It’s the only piece of my works that I have decided not to sell and to keep in my personal collection. 


Most memorable challenge you’ve had with a client or stockist?
My current job with Crown Hotel. I’ve been working with them since June last year, working through colour schemes and samples for 340 hotel rooms! Definitely the biggest and most challenging job.

Your favourite quote or mantra:
Never leave ’til tomorrow what you can do today.

Who is your biggest support?
It is definitely my husband Russell, my biggest supporter since day one. It has been him who pushed me to start my career as a full-time artist and has always supported me along the way. He has always been the source of my ambition to create something better at each exhibition and to move forward. 

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their business growth?
I am very lucky to be surrounded by amazing and talented people that I have met through work but I now call friends and I love seeing them growing and succeeding in their business. Amongst my favourites: artist Anya Brock who I work with at my studio; landscape designer Monica Palmer; fashion designer Jonte Pike; stylist Megan Plowman; and blogger Maya Anderson of House Nerd. 

What is your advice to WA women who want to start their own business or turn their hobby into a small business?
Dedicate your everything to it to make it happen and get ready to work 100 hours a week! But most of all, always trust your heart and trust your dream – it will become your story.

What is your vision for your art?
In June I will start looking for opportunities to take my works over east in Australia, between Sydney and Melbourne, and concentrate more on expanding on the national market. 

Favourite WA Coffee Studio 37, Fremantle
Favourite WA Fashion Label Ethel and Leo, Claremont
Favourite WA Homewares A Cup Of Chic
Favourite WA Bar Mrs Brown, North Fremantle
Favourite WA Restaurant Bread in Common, Fremantle
Favourite WA Instagram Account @housenerd, love sneak peeking into WA homes 

Exclusive The Perth Collective Offer
20% off Original Art, Phone Covers plus Resin Art
shop now

to 3 May 2016
Use the code ‘FGXTPC‘ at checkout to redeem.



“We sat in Brooklyn, drinking our margaritas and dreaming this dream” ~ The Calypso Warehouse Story

Calypso Warehouse is a sunny, coastal-inspired store, a one-stop destination for purchasing feel-good gifts – even for the impossible to please! Currently an online store, Calypso Warehouse is set to open a bricks and mortar in Perth in the coming months, complete with a coffee station to re-fuel.  The Perth Collective chats to co-owner Caity about what it’s like to work with your partner, her obsession with margaritas, and how a trip to Brooklyn inspired her to build a business…

What’s the story behind Calypso Warehouse?
My partner Tim and I were on a holiday at the end of 2014. We had just come from a little town in Canada called Banff, where everyone was lovely and everything was within walking distance. Fast forward 10 hours and we had landed in the big smoke, the city that never sleeps – New York. We were blown away at how commercialised everything was, at the number of chain stores and at the complete lack of independently-owned shops. The little Freo hippy inside of me was having a fit at the thought of all the big CEOs living it up in the Bahamas while their poor, grumpy employees were working Christmas Eve and being paid a minimum wage.  Thankfully we were staying in Brooklyn. Ah, Brooklyn – the peaceful, good vibes, hipster-loving Brooklyn. We spent the day going in and out of little independent stores, chatting to the cashiers and sharing stories about where we were from.  After visiting one store and having a chat with the Californian-born store owner, we ducked across to a little Mexican diner to escape the cold. It was there, while sipping our margaritas (we were on holidays after all!) that we decided this was what we wanted. We wanted to take our own piece of Brooklyn back to Australia with us and turn it into our future.  That night we started our business plan and kept working on it until we got home to Perth. Once we were back here, we set the wheels in motion and Calypso opened online in June 2015.

Tell us more. When do you open? Where can we find you? What will we find once we walk in the Calypso Warehouse doors?
When you walk in through our Calypso doors, you’ll be transported to an oasis away from this hustling and bustling world. Step to one side and order a coffee, roasted by Swan Valley legends Fiori. Step to the other side and browse through our range of homewares, clothing and gifts. Want to rest those weary feet but still have a browse? Grab one of the in-store iPads, browse online, place your order and have it delivered to you at your table, with a lollipop and a smile.

Sadly we’re experiencing some delays and setbacks in securing our dream location, so send some good vibes our way and watch this space…

Your partner is also part of the team. What are your different roles within the business? Will you both eventually leave your current full-time positions to run Calypso Warehouse?
When we sat in Brooklyn, drinking our margaritas and dreaming this dream, we agreed that our ultimate goal for Calypso would be for us to both work on it full-time but in completely different ways. Tim is a super talented carpenter and as the business grows, we hope that he’ll be able to spend more and more time creating individual furniture pieces that we will sell in-store. I, on the other hand, really enjoy being at the forefront of the business – whether it be packing up an online order or greeting a customer in person, dealing with suppliers or training new staff. We have really different roles but together we make a great team.

What inspires your purchases for your store? Do you have a particular style?
This is something that I’m still continuing to learn every day. Perhaps it was the influence of the margaritas that fateful day, but I’ve tended to lean towards a bit of a tropical and coastal vibe when purchasing for the store. It could also be the influence of our sunny, coastal life that we’re really blessed to live with in WA. I think so many business owners will agree that finding a style to suit everyone is really hard. Often the things that you think will sell really well end up being the worst sellers. And the things that you buy on an off-chance end up being the most popular. It’s so hard to predict. Moving forward, we will be sticking with our coastal vibe but won’t be hesitant to throw in some Scandinavian bits or some minimalist bobs.

I love that majority of items in your new store will be under $100! What are your top 3 favourite gifts at the moment?
The cone planters by Vessel and Vine are such a cute present to give to ladies (or men if they like!) of any age. They can house air plants, a posy of natives or even nothing at all – they look stylish just hanging by themselves, especially if they’re hanging from a cute hook.

Second for the ladies is a lavender eye pillow by Wheatbags Love. You would not believe the amount of times I have used mine to help me get to sleep at night. In summer, I keep it in the fridge (just writing that I wonder if maybe that’s a bit weird, but it works!) In winter, I pop it in the microwave with a cup of water for a minute. Lay it over your eyes, rest your head on your pillow and head off to the land of nod.

For the guys, you can’t go past a tee by the local legends at Knucklehead Shipping Co. The quality is out of this world and the designs are pretty awesome.

King Raja Organics is king when it comes to the little ones.

You have taken the challenge to open an actual store. Congratulations! It’s a brave move in today’s small business economy. What made you decide to find a space?
Thank you! And yes, it’s a scary move for sure! But having a bricks-and-mortar store was always part of the dream. There’s no doubt that the retail world is really shifting to the online space, but I still think it’s so important that we don’t lose sight of retail the old-school way.  The way where you can go and try something on before you buy it, where you can feel a fabric to test its quality and where you can physically see the size of a vase or a cushion to visualise it in your space. This was also the reason that we decided to create the concept store with a coffee shop inside. Coffee forces people to step away from their computers and out into the wild, and while they’re out there, why not tempt them with a bit of retail therapy?!

Where did your business name come from?
I think it was those margaritas again! 🙂 We have always really liked the word ‘Calypso’. For us it creates a vision of a beach with a lone palm tree – a far cry from wintery Brooklyn and definitely my ideal type of holiday. We toyed around with so many different combinations that would sum up what we have to offer and settled on ‘Warehouse’, although played around with ‘Wareshouse’.  I think it’s worked. We’ve had so many questions from people wondering where our warehouse is –  it surprises them a bit when we say that it’s currently in our spare room haha.

What do you find is the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
There really are so many. Owning your own business isn’t for the fainthearted. The biggest challenge so far has definitely been time. Trying to balance working full-time and running the business as well as having a social life is a real struggle. I salute the mums out there who can throw kids in the mix too! I’ve learnt that time is such an investment. If I put time into social media posts, responding to emails and maintaining the website then I notice the increase in sales. If I don’t make the time to invest in those things then sales lapse and it takes even more time to catch up again. It’s tough but getting that little ‘ping’ to say that a new order has arrived is the biggest reward and reminder that skipping The Bachelor was totally worth it.

What has been the best thing you have done marketing-wise to grow Calypso Warehouse?
So far, the Perth Collective has been huge for us. If we are lucky enough to have a photo re-grammed, then it’s amazing to sit and watch the followers increase, the order ‘pings’ come through, and the interactions increase. We’re in the process of speaking with a PR/Marketing guru and have high hopes for results to come from that.

Work hard, dream big.

Who do you look up to for inspiration, or admire for their business growth?
Although we are in completely different fields and on totally unrelated wavelengths, Samantha Wills is such a huge inspiration. To start out selling jewellery at local market stalls in NSW and grow into a worldwide reputable brand is so admirable. If I’m ever feeling unmotivated, I just take a look at her Instagram feed and feel instantly inspired to keep on going, keep on pushing, and keep on working hard.

What is your advice to WA women who want to start their own business or turn their hobby into a small business?
Set out clear and realistic goals and write them out on a timeline. If you can, have the goals printed and put them somewhere you will see them every day. You can create a business plan if it’s required but having goals that you can tick off makes it so much easier to keep track of where you’ve been and where you’re heading.

There will be people out there who don’t believe you can do it and don’t believe you can succeed – use them as your motivation to kick butt and prove them wrong.

Favourite WA coffee – Lowdown, Perth CBD
Favourite WA fashion label – Anika basics. My collection has been growing and growing since they started selling at the Common Ground Collective in Freo.
Favourite WA homewares – The Hippo and the Pear pots with plants by Little Leaf Co. My house is starting to turn into a jungle!
Favourite WA bar –  The Local Hotel in South Freo
Favourite WA restaurant –  It probably doesn’t count as a restaurant but I’m loving the food being served up at The Federal Hotel. Yum!
Favourite WA Instagram account – I think the Perth Collective is a pretty obvious one 🙂 But I also love seeing the daily blooms from Floral State brighten up my feed.

TPC Tribe members can receive 25% off every order over $50 by using the code TPCTribe at the online checkout.

shop | instagram | facebook


Edited by The Write Stuff Collective

Elle et Lui~Did you know Portuguese shoes in particular are the world’s best kept secret? Discover Why on todays blog post

Elle et Lui opened its doors in Claremont only 4 months ago. Focusing on Portuguese designer shoes, this stunning store will impress you, as will the two women behind it!

Welcome to the TPC Blog Ladies. You’re both from overseas, how did you end up in Perth?
We both came over to study and loved it here so much that just stayed! We were born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. Alda’s family is all originally from Portugal, whilst Sammy’s family is of Greek and English descent. We have called Australia home for 10 years but do enjoy visiting family and friends in Africa whenever we can. We’re more than just ‘besties’: Sammy married her high school sweetheart, who is also Alda’s brother! We’re family, and to say that we’ve known each other for a long time would be an understatement!

What lead you to opening Elle et Lui Designer Shoes?
Sammy and I are passionate about design and fashion. Our respective backgrounds in Interior Design, Events, and Wedding Styling have led us to greatly appreciate beautiful items that are well made and of great quality. We also both have performing arts backgrounds which allows us to appreciate the drama and decadence of fashion and design. We have always been into fashion, and being girly girls, we especially love shoes and handbags! This is why we decided to bring some of Portugal’s renowned designers to Perth.

We really wanted to create something unique that is not offered anywhere else in Australia. We also felt that it was important to carry quality pieces that are an investment in timelessness and longevity.

We opened our doors in December 2015 and are located on St. Quentin Avenue in Claremont, one of Perth’s premier shopping precincts.

Claremont is an amazing retail hub! How have you found having a store in such a high traffic, high fashion area, rather than just an online boutique?
Claremont is amazing! It is definitely the hub for Perth high end fashion with so many great boutiques around. We love the buzz that the town has- there’s always something going on, be it to do with Art, Fashion, Food or Entertainment!

We love having our store in this area simply because we’re very active with Claremont Town Centre and a lot of their initiatives. We have access to some great local labels that we are looking to collaborate with soon. We’re all about connecting and engaging with not only our clientele, but our fellow business owners in the area.

We’ve found that being personable and taking the time to serve people with care and attention is more valuable to us as a business than just having an online store, which we have also launched this year, giving the Eastern states the opportunity to shop with us as well. In store, people have that tangible experience; they can look closely, touch, feel and try on our collections and find the shoe that fits so to speak!

Where did your business name come from?
Being of European descent, we wanted a name that was European, simple, elegant and had a bit of pizazz.

We chose the name Elle et Lui (pronounced Elle eh Looie), which translates to Hers and His. The name encapsulates us perfectly, because we have something for everyone.

Another reason we chose the name was because European brands carry a certain savoir faire and being in Claremont, which is known for being high end, we wanted to create a brand that was synonymous with the flair of Europe while having the elegance to fit in with what’s already in Claremont.

What are the origins of the labels you carry?
The Portuguese have a very rich history in shoe manufacturing. One of the labels we carry has been around since 1946. Most of our designers have worked in the industry all their lives, having either created their brands from scratch or have continued and improved on their trade through watching and learning from previous generations.

Each designer has their own creative streak that runs through their collections season after season. They are all incredibly passionate about their work and some have won awards for their design techniques.

We are currently stocking the following labels:
* Egidio Alves
* Luis Onofre
* Paulo Brandao
* Carlos Santos
* Armando Silva
* Sir Wolf

How would you describe the style of Elle et Lui?
We would definitely have to say that we embrace colour, we focus on uniqueness and of course, favour high quality design and craftsmanship. We pride ourselves in the knowledge that our clients will be investing in something that is well made, one of a kind, and that will last them a lifetime.

Describe the quality of the leather and design in your collection?
Being that all our collections are designer pieces, it goes without saying that the leathers, embellishments and craftsmanship are all of the highest quality. Portugal is renowned for its meticulous hand crafted goods. Portuguese shoes in particular are the world’s best kept secret. They are number one in shoe manufacturing technology and hence some of the bigger high end fashion houses are now producing their collections in Portugal. Names like Prada, Dolce and Gabanna and Bally are now produced in Portugal just to name a few.

Do either of you have a background in Fashion?
Our backgrounds, as we’ve mentioned have design elements. We have translated our passion and understanding of design into fashion. Alda’s father has owned and operated a shoe factory that was manufacturing Portuguese handcrafted shoes. We have been surrounded by shoes for most of our lives! Alda is also currently completing a stylists course through the Australian College of Professional Styling which she hopes will expand the services at Elle et Lui in the years to come.

Do you both share the business roles?
Sammy and I share a vast amount of the responsibilities. We are both in the store every day and take turns to be out front with our clients, giving the other a chance to catch up on the many behind the scenes bits and pieces, such as the marketing, blogging, buying or financials. That said, we will often fit a client together giving our clients the opportunity to meet us both. Our boutique is our second home now, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

What do you find is the biggest challenge in owning your own business?
We have found that bringing something new to the fashion market, and making people aware of it, has been the most challenging. Our collections speak for themselves, but it’s just getting that awareness out about who we are and what we do that we have found challenging. We also think because we are so passionate about what we do, that we just want to share this with everyone as quickly as we can!

What is your vision for your business?
We are an exclusive boutique which means that we hold exclusive rights to bring these brands to Australia. We currently only bring in a few sizes of each design so that our clients know they are getting something special and unique that not everyone will have. At the moment, we are only located in Perth, because it’s home and where our heart is. This fact delights our clients no end and they often comment that “it’s nice to have something that the Eastern states don’t yet!” We are aiming to go interstate in the future but for now our commitment is to Perth and making our store and service all it can be for our clients in WA.

mid res

What is your advice to WA Women wanting to start their own business or turning their hobby into a small business?
Don’t talk yourself out of it or put it off! So many women have so many roles and responsibilities to fulfil: wife, mother, business owner, daughter, sister. Sometimes it’s hard to put your dreams first. If it is your passion, them commit to making it as much of a priority as you would anything else. Women deserve to be fulfilled in every aspect of their lives. Go for it with all you would invest in every other aspect of your life!

What is your best moment so far in your business?
So far, we would have to say that Launching in December last year was a big highlight for us- after all the hard work of getting the space we wanted, designing and fitting out our store ourselves, down to displaying the collections. Watching it become a reality was just magical.

Another great moment was being selected and featured by Claremont Town Centre as one of the stores to shop in, in Claremont during their latest lifestyle campaign.

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their Business growth?
Oprah Winfrey- what an amazing, inspiring, hardworking and humble woman!

What is your favourite quote or mantra?
“If you do work you love, and the work fulfils you, the rest will come.” Oprah Winfrey

What is your current favourite key piece from your store?
We are in love with the Navy and Yellow Sandal from designer Egidio Alves- this shoe is so versatile and makes your legs look amazing! It’s definitely a statement piece that works well with capsule wardrobes to enhance your look. They’re just a great pop of colour and are unique!

Favourite WA Coffee– The Academy and Lemon Lane Café
Favourite WA Fashion Label Steph Audino, Natalie Rolt and Aurelio Costarella
Favourite WA Homewares– The Furniture Gallery
Favourite WA Bar– The Flour Factory and Five Bar
Favourite WA Restaurant– Kailis Bros. for seafood, Pinchos for the tapas and Asado for the perfect beef.
Favourite WA Instagram Account– @perthluxury for her versatility in fashion, lifestyle and support of the Perth business community.
@eatsttours for something fun, different and yummy to do in Perth!
@littlemissmonbon for her personal takes on fashion and style
And to save the best for last @theperthcollective for inspiring and supporting all WA based female businesses.

20% off across all our shoe and handbag collections when you use code TPC20 online


Use code TPC20 in store until May 8 for additional specials. 


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Image Credits~
Photography Project

Tim Angell (shop front image only)
Claremont Town Centre
Jessica Wyld.

Le Petit Cadre ~ Bespoke Name Frames and Blocks Designed by Perth Interior Designer Cha


Morning Cha, your designs for children are bright and modern what lead to you establishing Le Petit Cadre?
I’m an Interior Designer by trade and when I became a mother last year, I started seeking pieces for my son’s nursery. Nothing out there inspired me so I started to think about how I could create meaningful pieces that would work with my existing interior and also celebrate this new step in my life. Early motherhood is such a challenging time, it was important for me to stay true to myself and the style of home I had created. I came up with the idea of a modern name frame that would be timeless and was elegant enough to be displayed in any area of the house.

What items will we find in your online store?
My Bespoke Name Frames are my signature product, each one is unique and entirely hand drawn. When I am given a name, I play around with the letters to see how they look best and then sketch it out, then use inks, pencil and acrylic to create my ‘linen style’ or fill in the letters with illustrations according to a chosen theme. My prints are hand lettered, I digitize them but am quite particular about barely editing them, so I spend a lot more time at the drawing board than I do in front of a screen. I also create timber ornaments and letter blocks, I originally just wanted to make some for my son but got quite a few requests so ended up adding them to my range. I am open to taking on new stockist so please email me if you are interested in stocking Le Petit Cadre.

Do you create customised gifts?
Yes, pretty much everything I do is customised. My name frames are popular for births and weddings as they are such a personal and meaningful gift. The letter blocks obviously are all personalised but I also do custom hand lettered quotes. All of my orders are also carefully gift wrapped and can be hand delivered in Perth Metro.

Where did your business name come from?
Le Petit Cadre means ‘The little frame’ in French (to make it easy to find, I use the #thelittleframe) I have a multi- cultural background but I grew up in France and my immediate family still lives there. Although Australia feels more like home than anywhere I have lived before, a part of me is and always will be French.

What do you find is the biggest challenge when owning you own business?
Time management. I have always been a planner and list-writer but remaining focused on my schedule with an active crawler around the house is challenging to say the least. That said, I decided early on to not stress about it: some days I just have to sit on the floor and play with my son. I eventually started to realise that the love I felt in those priceless moments fuelled my creativity and the next day I achieved more that I could ever have ever imagined, so I guess in the end it’s all about life balance.

Your best moment so far in your business?
I recently hand delivered a Bespoke Name Frame to a young mother on behalf of her own mother who lives over East. She invited me into her beautiful home and when she unwrapped the gift, she started crying because she loved it so much and it felt so personal. I got quite emotional myself and felt so honoured to have been a part of that.

Favourite Quote
The harder I work the luckier I get.

Who do you look up to for inspiration or admire for their Business growth?
I’m pretty impressed with The Perth Collective, not only the business growth but also the positive vibe that it conveys!

What is your advice to Perth Women wanting to start their own business or turning their hobby into a small business?
Do a lot of research, write a business plan, be smart about it… but planning isn’t everything. There comes a point where you have to take the leap and give it everything you’ve got. Also remember that it’s so easy to get caught up in your ambition but you must always remember why you started in the first place and stay true to that.

What is your vision for your business in 2016?
I am really inspired by the talent here in Perth. I would like to collaborate with other local businesses this year and create personalised products. I have some ideas but it will all come down to finding the right people to work with.

Favourite WA Coffee Rubra on Carrington (great coffee drive through)
Favourite WA Fashion Label Infamous Friends (my big crush of the moment)
Favourite WA Homewares Out With Audrey (just spectacular pieces)
Favourite WA Bar Mrs Browns In North Freo
Favourite WA Restaurant Chez Pierre in Nedlands
Favourite WA Instagram Account Maiko Nagao


20% off all bespoke name frames + free delivery

To redeem visit the website and enter the code THEPERTHCOLLECTIVE
or contact chahigginson@hotmail.com




Luxury Dome Style Glamping in the Southwest, trust me you will be rushing to book in!

Unique to WA this Domes Style Glamping provides the perfect couples getaway in Yelverton, 2.5 hours South of Perth. Yelverton is an easy 15 mintue drive to all local attractions, beaches, towns and amenities including Margaret River, Dunsborough and Busselton.

Today we meet Carrie Ford, Owner and Founder of Mile End Glamping who has created the ultimate private, luxury escape that you will never forget. Continue reading