We're keen on introducing a few new columns this year. First cab off the rank is 'Family Portrait', in which we will profile local creative families, where two or more generations have inspiring stories to tell. We're kicking things off with the Folk family, one of whom you perhaps already know of... but the other three are well worth introducing too! This is a family with impressive entrepreneurial spirit - and a shared love of excellent food!
Lucy Folk is of course the most familiar name if you're a regular TDF reader. We love Lucy's food-inspired jewels, and it's been amazing to watch the growth of her little brand on the international stage over the past couple of years. We're convinced she is destined for superstardom!
Lucy's older sister, Saskia Folk, is an artist, who has spent the better part of her professional life working in Alice Springs on various Aboriginal art programs. Saskia's own creative practice has been greatly influenced by these experiences - she creates unexpectedly beautiful artworks from abandoned, rusted out cars discovered during her time in the desert. By selecting and slicing the most weathered sections of car bonnet, roof or door, Saskia creates striking abstract works reminiscent of the Australian landscape. I know this sounds a bit weird but they are seriously beautiful! (see below).
Lucy's and Saskia's Dad, Pitzy, is originally from Austria, but migrated to Australia in 1973 and hooked up with Anne in Melbourne. Together, they started a gourmet food shop in Armadale, and worked there together until Saskia was born in 1978. In the years that followed, Pitzy ran various successful cafes and restaurants in Melbourne, including the much loved Observatory Cafe at the Royal Botanic gardens, which he sold in 2008.
These days Pitzy is the impressive force behind Map Coffee and CAPI. Map was launched 12 years ago with a friend. After a shaky start as a 'traditional' coffee business, the company expanded into office coffee, capsule and coffee machines, and has since grown to become one of Australia's best known coffee brands.
Not content to rest on his success with Map, Pitzy launched CAPI about 6 years ago. CAPI is a mixer, fruit soda and mineral water range based on a simple idea to produce pure, natural carbonated drinks with no artificial flavours, no synthetic ingredients or artificial sweeteners, bottled direct from Australian natural springs. I think Pitzy could be onto something... Capi is growing exponentially, and is now well represented across Australia, and exports to Indonesia, New Zealand and Singapore.
The Folk family is crazy about great food - evident not only in Lucy and Pitzy's business endeavours, but also in the incredible vegetable garden Anne has established at CAPI HQ in South Melbourne! 'We love food, and we used to have a great veggie garden at our cafe, Observatory Cafe at the Royal Botanic gardens, so we decided we needed one for our staff in our new office!' explains Pitzy. The garden is used by CAPI's in-house chef (!!?) to create amazing meals for the lucky CAPI team!
During our visit to CAPI HQ we were lucky to grab some snaps of that epic veggie patch, plus a gorgeous family portrait... and as it happened, Lucy's jewellery label was inbetween studios at the time, so her team was temporarily set up here during our visit too! It was a great time to capture this industrious family at work... and to ask them a few questions about one another!
Both of our daughters were artistic from a very early age. Saskia was always taking photos from prep onwards, while Lucy drew and painted avidly, and drove us insane with her flute! Both of them were very creative at craft as kids, a flair which has since followed them into adulthood and their respective careers.
We are very proud that both of our girls turned out to be strong free spirits and non conforming. Lucy's handwriting is used on all our CAPI bottles and stationery, Saskia's artwork decorates my office.
They're both individuals full of courage who are always ready to face the world. Saskia's approach to life and her alternative thinking, constant challenging and generosity to others, makes her a very special person. Lucy has a drive and determination to succeed in her chosen quest on the world stage. When Lucy told us about her plans to launch her jewellery range, we thought it was a great path for Lucy to take and encouraged her from the very beginning. Her courage and individuality are to be greatly admired.
We were lucky to have diligent parents that made us fantastic packed lunches, did the school run and enforced curfews that were pretty early, but still managed to allow us to have a lot of fun. Summers were spent in QLD, learning to surf and watching Mum and Dad sip G&Ts beachside with their friends.
We were lucky kids as we were taken overseas from a young age to meet our family in Austria, and missed two months of school a year which was pretty cool. I (Lucy) happened to find my diary of this trip recently, it is pretty hilarious. My spelling has certainly improved! This set us all up with a travel bug that has manifested into a full-blown disease.
Friends were always around at our place, our chicken schnitzel dinners were another highlight, and the seats at the dining table were filled quickly with Saskia's boyfriends and my friends. Our schnitzel rolls the following day were something sought after at school! We sometimes traded these rolls and swapped them for a meal ticket to the tuck shop!
So yes, Mum and Dad are pretty cool I must say, but they never allowed us to watch much TV (we sneaked it), eat lollies, have phone calls after 9pm, and we were allowed the tuck shop on Mondays only and we weren't allowed to have McDonalds.
Most weekend were spent at Dad's cafes working in the kitchen or just pestering the staff and making iced chocolates. We knew all the staff at Georges and in the Jam factory and we were allowed to roam around Chapel St and sneakily buy lollies.
Mum and Dad never put pressure on us but appreciated the work we put into doing well at school as well as balancing our active social lives! Now they have been huge supporters of what we are doing, basically they are out biggest fans. Mum is dripping in my jewels and Dad has all of Saskia's art around his office, and my catalogues and they are the first to talk about our creative endeavours. Dad has a lot of knowledge and is a mentor to me (Lucy). They will support us wherever they can and they have taught us to have a red hot go at whatever we put our mind to.
Ok so I hope you enjoyed our first in a series of 'Family Portraits'! This first instalment was perhaps a little long... but some great stories huh!? I wanna be a Folk sister! Shame they already have one Lucy...