We had been working on Margie’s home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for a few months when she introduced us to her luxury knitwear brand HOLOS. Margie had a vision to launch an atelier-inspired boutique in the heart of Paddington to house her Merino wool designs. Together, we dreamed up the perfect canvas to showcase the luxurious textures and colours of the HOLOS brand, exploring honest and natural materials to complement the natural fibre of the garments.
Working on this space with Margie has been so much fun, and while we’ve been sharing in creating both her dream home and dream boutique at the same time, the business of two ongoing projects has kept us from picking the knitwear-line owner’s brains . . . until now!
WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?
A dreamer perhaps (I’m always thinking about stuff other than where I actually am), determined (when I lock onto something), and hopefully kind.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?
A National Geographic photographer or a UN Diplomat. If I was growing up now, I would say a primatologist as I am obsessed by chimps and gorillas!
HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET?
A ski bum in Alta, Utah!
WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?
‘Slow down to get more done’, which I suppose is mindfulness. I also borrowed a good one from Sheryl Sandberg which is ‘done is better than perfect’ and my other favourite since starting a business, is ‘just keep going’, or as a dear Melbourne friend put it ‘Press on’.
WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?
My family unit – we are all close and share a slightly quirky sense of humour so we have a lot of laughs together. My other big joy is the ‘bush school’, that we helped to establish and maintain in a remote indigenous outstation in Arnhem Land. It is called The Nawarddeken Academy and is a bi-lingual and bi-cultural school, for the children of indigenous rangers, who previously had no schooling available. I love that little community and watching those kids thrive when realistic learning opportunities are provided to them.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by original thinkers, change-makers, and people who do the right thing because it is the right thing, not because of the consequences. I would love to hang out with either of the original climate scientists James Hansen (USA) or James Lovelock (UK).
In entrepreneurship, I love Reid Hoffman, who is the founder of LinkedIn, and a natural philanthropist. He is said to be one of the kindest and smartest people in Silicon Valley. These days we need both.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?
Definitely reading. I steal time from everything to squeeze in a quick blast of ideas, new or old – could be when I’m stuck in the kitchen, at the gym, waiting anywhere really, even sometimes at a long traffic light! I always have a book in my bag and I get very restless without one. Bill Gates provides my favourite reading list on his blog The Gates Notes.
DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?
Neither really – either I am not aware of them, or they are not aware of me! I am happiest flying under the radar.
WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL?
I would like to spend three months living in one location in Italy to improve my fluency. And I’m finally planning it! To be in Venice at the end of this year as I figure the foot traffic will stop me from getting lonely. However, I expect to receive plenty of visitors!
On an important scale, I would love to somehow be involved in the rapid commercialisation of one or several of the emerging technologies where either fungi and/or bacteria can biodegrade plastics – now that would be a worthwhile outcome. I seem to be getting more ambitious as I get older and, according to my children, more ‘out there’.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?
Alex and her team share my love of classic Italian design and sophisticated, perennial style that can last a lifetime. They compose elements together beautifully. My weekly meetings with them are something to look forward to.
Also nothing fazes them! Not even the chaos of my multiple projects (we have a house rebuild on the go as well). Alex is one of the most energetic and generous people that I know.