OK, I understand
Another treat for Sydneysiders today - Mark Tuckey Home! Mark Tuckey's newest retail store opened recently in Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches, about an hour north of the city... and isn't it beautiful!? Stocked with SO many local design favourites - Spacecraft textiles, Queen B Candles, Mud Australia ceramics, David Bromley artwork and homewares (and surfboards!)... and of course Mark Tuckey's signature chunky timber pieces.
But rather than interview Mr Tuckey about this latest venture, I thought it might be fun to chat to his lovely wife Louella, who is largely responsible for this new focus on homewares and accessories. Louella is a brilliant creative herself, having spent many years working as an interiors stylist in London (at the famous Conran Shop) and in Melbourne for various clients and publications before settling in Sydney with Mark and family!
Louella has impeccable taste as I'm sure you'll notice in these shots... it was fun to learn a little more about her creative role in the 'family business'!
What inspired you and Mark to open a store with a greater focus on homewares and small pieces?
We've always had a 'basic' range of homewares in the main stores, but very much as a way of styling the shop to make it feel loved and lived in. We increased the homewares in the Newport store, as the space is so much smaller than Fitzroy, and we wanted to keep people interested and feel that there would often be new product to look at. It was then a natural progression to open a homewares store - my background is also very much homewares based from styling and production days (pre children), so it's an easy and fun thing for me to focus on and it's basically a great way of increasing brand awareness.
The idea is that you can come in to the new store and spend anything from $5 to say $3000 and walk out with a bag with Mark Tuckey on it (we're having lovely recycled bags printed with a big yellow dot on and yellow twill handles - yay!). All the new product sits alongside the ethos of the main stores - we focus on clean green product that helps rather than hinders the environment, so for example none of our candles contain paraffin - they're either pure beeswax or vegetable or soy based. Most of our soaps are handmade with essential oils and no nasties. We have a natural range of cleaning product from Murchison Hume which is just GREAT.
What's your favourite product in the new store?
Quite seriously this changes weekly. It's gone from an MO851 bag in chestnut leather, to a David Bromley quilt, to a Henry Dean glass vase, to a Rachel Castle artwork, to a Megan Park necklace to a crazy Tylie Malibu big indian jangly bag! I only buy product for the store that I DESPERATELY want myself! The whole basis of the store is that it's stuff that we love to live with - we use all the different ceramics at home, we use the bedlinen and the body products... there isn't anything in here that I'm just ok with - it only gets in the door if I just LOVE it. (Hence very hard to pin me down to one particular favourite!)
Why did you choose Avalon for the store?
Because we live in Clareville which means a 5 minute drive to work. Newport is 7 mins - we're not into the idea of having to commute with little kids, and we're very involved with all the stores, and so though we're living up here, Tuckey spends half the day on the phone to the Fitzroy store. We're one big happy family xx
You are a design genius YOURSELF with many years of styling and interior design under your belt! How would you describe your role within the business? Are you Mark Tuckey's secret weapon!?
Secret weapon - I don't know about that! Tuckey had already established a pretty special business and had been doing a great job creatively for 15 years before I met him. My part now is creative and he's the brains, but he's still very involved creatively too. He tends to deal with all the big picture stuff and keeps us all in line :)
The Avalon store has been my baby in terms of the creation of the store - the concept, the fitout, the design and buying the product. Tuckey has set the business up and he physically managed the renovation of the space, and is the brains behind how the store functions - systems and the money side of things and grown up stuff like that!
What's next for Mark and Louella Tuckey?
No really, the homewares store will go online which will be a big job, and then we're looking at other sites to open more stores. We're also looking into doing up a property somewhere up here to set up as a weekend rental. A Mark Tuckey house, which we'll set up with all our furniture as somewhere lovely and easy for people to stay who love our look and love Pittwater.
WOW those Tuckeys really know how to multitask! Huge thanks to Louella for taking a few moments to chat!
Mark Tuckey home
11/20 Avalon parade