Today we reveal something a little bit special that has been happening in Obus' studio HQ in Northcote, Melbourne. With the help of our friends at west elm and Haymes Paint, our head office and design studio in Northcote, Melbourne has had a makeover!
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Like our founder and creative director Kylie Zerbst, our head office team have a mutual love of colour, pattern and clean design. Over the years we have DIY'd updates to the space, freshening it with colour and adding functionality. But needless to say, when our friends at west elm offered to give our design studio a little bit of love, we jumped at the chance to add some of their beautifully designed products to the mix.
Our brief to west elm's Design Crew was simple: freshen the space with warm, tonal colours and select a range of products to ensure an efficient, productive workspace for Kylie and the design team. The results of their makeover blew us away – it's amazing what a few intentional and homely design touches can do to elevate a busy work space!
Obus founder and creative director Kylie Zerbst's desk in our busy Northcote studio. Kylie wears our BITTERSWEET DRESS (due August). Photo: Mike Baker. Styling: Rhys Duggan for west elm.
The place where our inimitable print designs are conceived, Kylie's desk was a key focal point for our studio makeover. Awash with collected inspiration and the tools of creative process, some key west elm additions like the Aluna Chair and the homely touches of the Asymmetry Lamp have added comfort to the space, while the Lacquer Tray keeps desk flotsam and jetsam contained!
[Above] Details from Kylie's Desk, including the Aluna Chair and Asymmetry Lamp from west elm. The studio wall has been refreshed in Wood Rose by Haymes Paint.
Always a hive of activity, the studio mezzanine is our team meeting space and design hub. Formerly a photography space, the white walls have come alive with colour. Painted in Haymes' Wood Rose, the north wall of the mezzanine now feels connected to the studio below. Directly opposite, the fireplace has been reinvigorated in Haymes' Comanche Dust, a team favourite hue! With a new set of comfortable Slope Chairs, some custom-upholstered Modern Stacking Stools, an Arched Floor Mirror, and a Sunstone Jute Rug to absorb noise, the space now feels like a design partner and a warm, comfortable space to meet.
[Above] Studio mezzanine – before: Formerly a photography space, the mezzanine was functional but not particularly visually inspiring.
[Below] Studio mezzanine – after: A revitalised space! Rug, light fixture, stools, mugs, chairs and planters by west elm. Fireplace painted in Comanche Dust by Haymes Paint. Photo: Mike Baker. Styling: Rhys Duggan.
A big thanks to the west elm and their Design Crew – especially Rhys, Lexi, and Chantal. Their classic, high-quality design pieces will have a home in our studio for years to come!
In celebration of International Women's Day, we'd like to introduce you to Dahli - an inspiring young woman who is making an impact as a social entrepreneur via her business Beehemia.
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Dahli launched Beehemia with a vision to reduce food and packaging waste in her community, as well as support Asylum Seekers through business profits and employment opportunities. (Oh, did we mention she is only in Year 8 at school?)
With the help of her mum, Gabrielle, Dahli and her Beehemia crew hand-make their beeswax wraps using natural ingredients (which smell divine!). While profits are donated to organisations such as the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), the venture also provides employment and skill-building opportunities for new Australians and people seeking asylum here.
Naturally, when we learned about Beehemia, we were 100% on board with supplying Dahli with linen and cotton fabrics in original Obus designs.
The limited edition Obus x Beehemia Food Wraps are now available instore and online. Now, your fresh produce, leftovers, and bring-from-home lunch can wear a little bit of Obus’ GOOD VIBRATIONS, LOTUS and LOW TIDE print too! 100% of profits from our sales of the wraps will be donated to the ASRC.
The future is bright with young women like Dahli driving change and making products that promote sustainability and social good, don't you think?
Left-Right: Kylie Zerbst (Obus founder/creative director) and Kerryn Moscicki (Radical Yes founder/creative director)
The Obus x Radical Yes collab has launched, and we're thrilled to partner with this conscious Melbourne brand to bring you a range of comfortable, practical and beautiful statement shoes.
Both Obus and Radical Yes are fiercely independent, female-owned businesses, committed to creating high-quality products that last. Kylie Zerbst, Obus Creative Director, and Kerryn Moscicki, Radical Yes creative director talk about this values-aligned partnership, how their customers influence their designs, and the wardrobe items they keep returning to.
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Tell us about the idea behind this collaboration, and why does it make sense for Radical Yes and Obus to collaborate on this footwear range?
Kylie: Radical Yes had been on our radar for a while as a company committed to the ethics and environmental standards we value in our own business. We also really love their design sensibility and the way that their products transcend current trends. While we have always manufactured the majority of our clothing in Melbourne, it’s increasingly difficult to produce footwear here. We admire Radical Yes's dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do.
"We admire Radical Yes' dedication to responsible offshore manufacturing and producing in small quantities, like we do."
Kerryn: We were so floored when Obus came to us to talk about a footwear collaboration because we have always admired their work. For me personally, I have looked to them as an inspiring example of an iconic, independent Melbourne brand who have been doing their own thing and doing it well for a really long time. We believe our customers have a shared set of values and a similar aesthetic so the idea of using Obus palettes on our silhouettes was a no-brainer.
Kylie: Yes it’s been a dream collab - it doesn’t feel like work when they’ve made the whole process so easy!
Running your own businesses, can you take us through your approach to workwear? What’s essential to you?
Kerryn: Flat shoes! I walk to work and on the way drop my kids at kinder and school, so my workwear garments are very focused on functionality and pragmatism. My outfits tend to be very simple in palette mix - lots of navy, charcoal and camel tones - to help disguise the inevitable kid stains. But then some days I also love to be super comfortable in a vintage oversized knit and denims. The common theme is always a flat shoe.
Kylie: I love colour and pattern. Similar to Kerryn, the Obus studio is local to my neighbourhood and I’m often arriving to work after walking my son to school. For me, I dress to express my personality but also feel comfortable all day. I love accessorising a casual linen or wool pant with a chunky knit, tailored shirt and statement earrings. The clothing we make at Obus has women who want professional and versatile clothing as its primary focus - it’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!
"It’s fun to consider all the combinations an Obus collection can offer for workwear, especially with these shoes in the mix!"
What do you think is the edge that small businesses in the fashion landscape have over the big players?
Kerryn: Being truly connected to the customer, having more empathy with their needs and lifestyles rather than pushing product for the sake of meeting 'stakeholder demands'. I believe you can tell when product has lost its purpose and is just filling an 'assortment matrix' to meet stock turn targets. Maybe it’s idealistic, but I believe this is why customers are seeking out and responding to smaller makers who are producing from a place of passion before profits.
Kylie: We’ve always been a small and agile team at Obus, and I think this has helped us weather a few storms over the past 20 years. We can be responsive to trends, to manufacturing snafus, and in communication with our customers. Like Kerryn says, we can also get to know our customers really well - our stores are a mainstay of Melbourne’s inner north, and getting to know our local customers over the years is a bigger part of our overall design process than they probably realise!
Both Obus and Radical Yes create quality products that are designed to transcend seasons and last the test of time. What’s a favourite item in your wardrobe that is still going strong?
Kylie: This Winter I’ve loved my Obus Cocoon coat from a few years ago. It’s a bold lilac purple, collarless cocoon coat and always gets lots of comments!
Kerryn: I have a few key items from our collections over the years. My 'Saturn Returns' trainers in wool lined shearling are a definite go-to in Winter. My 'Little & Often' Day Heels are also an easy slip on that I return to almost daily. They look ace with opaque tights and denims. Can’t wait to wear the new lilac ones Kylie dreamed up for us!
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Today we’d like to tell you about an exciting collaboration between Obus and a business we love: Tsuno.
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Tsuno sells disposable, sustainable bamboo fibre sanitary pads and tampons. Founded and run by Thornbury-based awesome lady Roz Campbell, Tsuno is a social enterprise: 50% of their profits are donated to charities that focus on empowering women, with the main focus being education and menstrual support. In the last year, a further 10,000 boxes of pads have been donated to local organisations such as The International Women's Development Agency, Share the Dignity, The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Essentials for Women South Australia. Great, huh?
Tsuno founder Roz Campbell in her Thornbury studio
As if that wasn't enought, Tsuno products are also good for you. The pads are made from natural bamboo, and their tampons are made from 100% certified organic cotton. Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres available due to its fast growth-rate, low demands on resources and natural resistance to pests and fungi. It is also super absorbent, breathable, soft and comfortable and antibacterial. There’s no chlorine or dioxin bleach used in the manufacturing process of Tsuno tampons or pads, which means these chemicals (and a whole lot of other nasties that are found in regular sanitary products) don’t end up on or in your body. Hooray!
An Obus print (from our forthcoming summer collection) features on Tsuno's boxes of Regular Pads. Buy a box in August and we'll donate a box to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
Tsuno pride themselves on their beautiful packaging and featuring different artists work. To date they have featured the work of Erin Lightfoot, Tim Royall, Evi O, Eloise Rapp, Andrea Shaw and now, Obus! We’ve donated an exclusive print from our upcoming summer collection to Tsuno’s new range of Regular Pads, and we are so excited to support this wonderful local enterprise.
Purchase in August and we'll match it!
Buy a box of Obus x Tsuno pads online or instore at Obus during August 2017 and we will donate a box to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Spread the love, help a sister and do something good for your body - there’s really no reason not to.
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Find out more about Tsuno's good work on Instagram @_tsuno_